How Artist Sophie Parkinson Creates the Most Intricate, 3D Nail Art You’ve Ever Seen — See Photos


When London-based Sophie Parkinson (@soph_builds_nails to her Instagram followers), couldn’t get her nails done at the salon growing up, she bought a nail kit off Amazon while in college, determined to achieve those long nail designs her classmates had. Below, the nail artist shares her story in her own words.

I’ve always been a creative person and loved nail art since I was little. But I never got to go to the salon. I’ll find photos from when I was 12 to 15 of my badly done nails — and at the time, I thought it was so good. 

Courtesy of subject

[When I was 18], I enrolled in a fine arts course at Central Saint Martins UAL in Kings Cross, London, specializing in sculpture. It’s mainly a fashion school and everyone is dressed in their own designs. A few of my friends had amazing nails. I’d never seen gems and mirror powder on nails and I wanted beautiful, long nails too. So I bought a polygel kit from Amazon and got good at building a really nice-looking nail. 

When the pandemic started I had nothing to do, so I created cartoon nails. By the end of 2020 I thought, How can I take this to the next level? I had seen bottles of sriracha on nails but they weren’t functional…and I saw aquarium nails with liquid inside. The light bulb went off right there. I thought, What happens if I combine the two? The first 3D nail I made was a bottle of Fairy liquid dish soap. My imagination has been running wild with it since. 



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