How To

27 Perfect Examples of Bookish Nail Art for Inspiration

Abby Hargreaves

Staff Writer

Abby Hargreaves is a New Hampshire native living and working as a Children’s Librarian in Washington, D.C. She fulfills the gamut of the librarian stereotype with a love of cats, coffee, and crocheting (and likes a good run of alliteration). Her MLIS degree enjoys the company of a BA in English from Hollins University, making Abby an advocate of women's universities. Her favorite color is yellow.

The best advice I’ve ever gotten is to always have a book on you. Take that advice literally with these amazing bookish nail art designs. Whether you’re a seasoned pro or a total noob, there is bookish nail art is achievable for everyone. Do something simple, subtle, and inspired by, or do a copy-paste of the book cover to your fingertips (if only it were so simple!). While more intricate designs take patience and sometimes a little creativity with tools (toothpicks, anyone?), there’s no shame in going with nails that match the color of your favorite covers if you’re not up for eye-straining work. No matter what you try, just make sure to take a picture and share it with us in the comments!

Remember, these are just ideas to get you started. Grab your favorite cover and get to work designing your own bookish nail art for the world to see. Bookish nail art makes for a great conversation starter, so wear it to your next book club, the bookstore, or the library. Whether you’re showing off your house colors or giving a nod to your favorite publisher, there’s plenty to be said about cool cuticles. Having trouble getting it done on your own? Ask a friend to help out and do each other’s. Or, treat yourself to a manicure to get that perfectly fresh look.

Here are a few ideas to get you started.


27 Examples of Bookish Nail Art

Maybe you’d like some generic bookish nail art.

Or you’re looking to pay homage to your favorite horror.

It’s always fun to incorporate actual books into your bookish nail art.

Be cute, elegant, and ready to (tea) party with this adorable design.

I am not okay because TFIOS!

View this post on Instagram

“Sometimes, you read a book and it fills you with this weird evangelical zeal, and you become convinced that the shattered world will never be put back together unless and until all living humans read the book.” John Green, THE FAULT IN OUR STARS. _____. THE FAULT IN OUR STARS will always be one of those books for me and has a special place in my heart! 📖❤️. I’ve also read LOOKING FOR ALASKA, PAPER TOWNS, and TURTLES ALL THE WAY DOWN but for me none of them touch TFIOS. What’s your favorite John Green book???. • • 📸photo by @celinedoesnails (seriously how amazing is this mani!!! 💅🏻). • • • • • #thefaultinourstars #thefaultinourstarsedit #thefaultinourstar #thefaultinourstarsmovie #thefaultinourstarsbook #thefaultinourstarsquote #tfios #tfiosedit #tfiosquote #tfiosmovie #tfiosbook #johngreen #johngreenbooks #johngreenquotes #johngreenquote #booknails #bookmanicure #bookishnails #hazelgrace #hazelandgus #augustuswaters #anselelgort

A post shared by Liani | book enthusiast (@rektokross) on

Try this—you only know if you know; anyone else will love this gorgeous peacock design.

Sometimes, subtle is best.

You might like to go more inspired by.

View this post on Instagram

Just finished this a couple of weeks ago! Have any of you read it? ▫️ QOTD: What are some of your hobbies? ▫️ Leave your bookish nail requests in the comments below! ▫️ Products used: 🔹L’Oréal: One Stop Base 🔹Sally Hansen Insta-Dri: Clearly Quick 🔹Essie: Blanc 🔹Tivoli Art Deco: yellow (42) 🔹Sally Hansen Hard as Nails: Delicate Orchid 🔹Konad black stamping polish 🔹Tian Xin – 13, stamping plate 🔹OPI: Minnie Style ▫️ #nailart #naildesigns #booksandnails #bookandnails #bookishnails #booknails #bookishnailart #bookmanicure #bookinspirednails #bookinspirednailart #stampingnailart #nailstamping #bookstagram #booknerd #literarynails #booknailart #fangirl #bookmani #bookcovernails #bookart #bookpolish #novelnails #mynailsandmybook #SaintsAndMisfits #SKAli #bookstagrammer #yareads #reading #booklover #bookworm

A post shared by Bookish Nail Art 🇨🇦 (@bookishnailart) on

Get to your inner kid with some classic Shel Silverstein.

Not up for painting? Try a wrap.

Don’t forget to accessorize with matching rings.

I don’t care what anyone says, Mary Shelley would be flattered.

Cute and romantic is the way to go!

View this post on Instagram

I went to my go-to nail salon yesterday to have my nails done and couldn't resist these @incocoph nail appliques called First Crush. They just seemed so perfect for a romance reader! And more so because of the upcoming @romanceclassbooks event this Saturday. I know there are bookstagrammers out there who do nail art based on book covers but these are the most bookish my nails have been. In the background are the only two art prints I have featuring couples: illustrations done by @arncyn and @deeney. I have more than a few art prints featuring women but it's harder to find ones with men or with couples on them! I know there are a lot of book-inspired art prints available abroad but I'd like to stick to Filipino artists for now. I want to support local and honestly the ones I'm seeing online are way over my budget with their prices plus shipping costs. . . Do you like painting your nails or getting a manicure/pedicure? What nail polish color do you usually pick? I used to try to put on nail polish by myself but I'm not very good at putting them on evenly. . . . #bookstagram #bookstagramPH #bibliophile #booknerd #bookworm #instabooks #bookcommunity #IGreads #Kindlereads #AmazonKindle #artPH #artprints #nailstagram #notd #bookishnails #bookishmanicure

A post shared by Chachic 📚 (@chachicsbooknook) on

The classic Penguin design is the design to beat.

Did you know you can recreate an entire cover on your nails?

View this post on Instagram

Who listens to audio books? Love them? Hate them? Never tried? For years I had been hesitant to try them, sure that I wouldn't be able to focus on the story. I have listened to a few this month and all but one have really worked for me. I love being able to "read" at work or when doing crafty things. . I'm currently enjoying listening to The Wedding Date by @jasminepics Meeting in an elevator gets me every time. . Oh, and I'm so over noses. Lol Even these were impossible for me. Grrr. Practice, though, right? Nah. Maybe these will be the last noses for a while. . The red polish is Bloody Lips by @kissproducts It is a very pretty red. Designs are all done with acrylic paint as usual. Matte top coat to reduce glare for pictures, but the red is so much prettier with a glossy top coat. . . . #bookstagram #nailstagram #readromance #contemporaryromance #acrylicpainting

A post shared by DJ~Book Love w/ Nails to Match (@apolishedreader) on

Nails are such a great way to celebrate new books!

Harry. Potter.

I think the word you’re looking for is “wow.”

Could you ask for a more perfect palette?

View this post on Instagram

THE BLACKBIRD SEASON is the second book I’ve read by @katemoretti1, and since unreliable narrators are my jam, I was psyched to dig in. The primary plot involved a missing student and the possible involvement of a teacher, and readers get a 360-degree view of what went down. Deception, betrayal, and a path to hell paved with good intentions, TBS had it all! • • So remember when I mentioned I’m all about unreliable narrators? Well there wasn’t just one unreliable narrator, there were four! Trying to find the truth from each character kept me on my toes until the very last page. It was awesome!! So while TBS was more character driven than I expected, which made for a slow burn, when things started rolling, it quickly kicked into high gear. 😱 If you’re in the mood for a twisty psychological suspense, THE BLACKBIRD SEASON is the book for you! • • Huge thanks to @simonschusterca for providing me with an advanced copy! • • Click link in profile for my full review! #jenniesnailsandtales 💅🏼📚 • • Cover design by Emma A. Van Deun. Cover Photograph by PlainPicture/Kniel Synnatzchke. • • For this mani, I used: @fingerpaintsfun Black Expressionism, @chinaglazeofficial Boho Blues and Plur-ple, @julepbeauty Gayle and Beverly, @orlynails Charged Up, @mitty_burns Minty 0, Peachy 000, and Clean Pro Flat nail art brushes. • • #theblackbirdseason #katemoretti #50bookpledge #mustread #chaptersindigo #indigofaves #bookishnails #bookinspirednails #freehandnailart #look_mitty #chinaglaze #julepmaven #orly

A post shared by jennie 🇨🇦 (@jennieshaw) on

Ideal for anyone, really.

View this post on Instagram

The theme for #qdnailsjune2017 is books/stories. I could not pick a favorite book or story so I just did a mani full of both! And they looked great until my topcoat smeared them 😡 * 📚Base: @unt_global Ready for Takeoff, @wetnwildbeauty megalast Whipped Topping 📚Stamping: @bundlemonster Noir Black, @sally_hansen insta-dri Grease Lightning and xtreme wear Wet Cement 📚Plate: @messymansion MM24 📚Top: diy top * @qdnailartchallenge #booknails #storynails #instanails #bookstagram #nailstagram #bookishnails #nailsofinstagram #bookinspired #bookinspirednails #bookandnails #booknailart #booksandnails #ignails #booksandpolish #bookpolish #books_polished #nailsofig #bookishmanicure #bookishmani #2017nails

A post shared by Marissa T (@manicuredmarissa) on

Austin Public Library nailed it.

Talk about a conversation starter.

House pride is important.

View this post on Instagram

My very first collab !!! Thank you @ab_nailedit for asking me & organizing this . I was extremely happy cz its from my #favouritebook HARRY POTTER. We were given houses each and here's how it it turned out .. . . . @ab_nailedit 👉 #gryffindor / @deinitisa 👉 #hufflepuff / @veryelienails 👉 #slytherin / @a_bookworms_nailarts 👉#ravenclaw . . . #hogwarts #pottermore #harrypotter #harrypotternails #snape . . . 👠 #bookinspirednails #bookworm #bookish #bookishnails #mybook #booknails #mybookandmynails #bookandnails #manipedi 💣 #nailartwithouttools 💣 #nailstagram #manicure #nailart #nails #nailartwow #nailartaddict . . . #ripsnape #ripalanrickman #harrypotterandthecursedchild #harrypotter8

A post shared by 🦄 Ash♥️ 24 🧛‍♀️ (@polished_stalkers) on

Um, whoa.

Shadowhunter nails!

Ready for a pep rally?

Who else is ready for Morgenstern’s next novel?


Need a little help to get started? Check out these bookish nail art tutorials for some guidance.