November 26, 2012

Emma Zentner from Boom nails will be shacked up – literally – instore at UO White City throughout Christmas time in her pop-up nail hut! (Fridays and Saturdays 3pm to 10pm, see below for booking details). We thought we’d take full advantage of having a bona fide nail aficionado and grab you guys some free advice! So we had a chat with Emma Zentner, founder and creator of BOOM nails.

If you’ve got your own questions for Emma, she’ll be live on the @uoeurope Twitter feed from 13:30 on Tuesday 4th December to answer all your nail-based prayers!


Emma! Tell us what do you do?
I paint patterns on nails. I have a little company I run called Boom Nails, and we do all sorts of events and make as many people’s hands happy as possible. I also have collaborated with Nail Rock and Urban Outfitters and have some exciting products coming out this week!

And where do you do it?
Everywhere! I’m freelance, so I travel around quite a lot for different jobs.

BOOM! NAIL ART How did you get started?
I started painting nails just for fun while I was in my second year of uni. I loved it and practiced on myself and my flat mate’s loads. I got my blog going, and then started taking appointments in a brilliant shop (in Bristol, where I was at uni) called Shop Dutty. That created a small client base and generated some interest around my blog. When I moved back to London after graduation, I started getting offers of nail art work, so just decided to carry on!

What’s your top tip for aspiring nail artists?
Try and come up with original designs, that’s what’ll make you stand out from the crowd. Always take good quality pictures of your work too, as these will help get you work if you want to start doing it seriously. Also, always use a good topcoat – Seche Vite is the best.

Some of your designs are pretty intricate – how long to they take?
It varies so much! Some really detailed designs might take between 1-2 hours. If I’m trying out a new design on false nails, and each nail is different it could take a few hours to do a full set, but that’s when I’m being leisurely about it. There was this one set of Russian doll nails that took about six hours, they were super intricate. Generally when I’m with a client, it won’t take more than an hour, unless it’s a friend and we keep on stopping to chat!

BOOM! NAIL ART Do you have a favourite?
There are a few designs I have a soft spot for! Mixed animal print is a firm favourite. I also still love the African fabric inspired set and the Kate Moross inspired set. And you can never go wrong with a little bit of Aztec!

HOW do you draw so well in such a small space!?
I think most of it is just getting the hang of the nail art pen, once you learn how to control the pen, anything is possible. Having patience and a steady hand helps too!

What’s the most unusual thing anybody’s asked for on their nails?
I recently was asked to paint the faces of One Direction on to Gemma Cairney’s nails live on air on Radio 1! That was pretty unusual as requests go. Liam (from 1D) who was co hosting the show with Gemma managed to tell who was who, so I was happy!

BOOM! NAIL ART Tell us about your nail wraps…
I’ve been working with the lovely people at Urban Outfitters and Nail Rock to create two new sets of nail wraps that are going to be sold exclusively at UO. There is a pastel mixed Aztec design pack, and a bright mixed animal print pack. I based the nail wraps on my own nail designs, and also designed the packaging, so am very excited about them hitting the shops!

Where do you get your inspiration from for new designs?
Everywhere! Some of them just come out of my head, but I also take pictures of any fabrics, patterns and objects I see that I think could work well on nails. I really enjoy trying to figure out how someone else’s work would translate onto a nail. For instance, I was asked earlier this year by the Tate Modern to paint nails at an event in the gallery. The event was based around the work of Yayoi Kusama, and they asked me to create a nail art menu that was inspired by her work. I created a whole menu based around different pieces of her work, and that was really fun to do.

What does next year hold?
Right now I’m really looking forward to the pop up nail bar, but I also have lots of ideas I’m going to be working on in the new year that will hopefully lead to some exciting things!

Tell us a joke…
I only know one joke and I’ve been telling it for about ten years… I apologise in advance.
What do you do when you see a spaceman?
Park in it, man.


Let’s get educated! Emma has made a handy (pun) picture tutorial, inspired by the Sparkle and Fade stripe wiggle skirt


What you need -
Base coat
White nail polish
Black nail art pen
Top coat

Steps -

1. Do a base coat on all your nails…

2. Paint two coats of white polish…

3. Use your black nail art pen to draw a thin vertical line down the middle of your nail…

4. Now draw another line on each side of this central line, try and get the lines as evenly spaced as you can…

5. Draw two more lines on either side of your central column…

6. Draw two horizontal lines from the outside lines to the edge of your nail, as shown in the picture…

7. Carry on drawing evenly spaced horizontal lines until your whole nail is covered!

8. Wait until completely dry, then use a really good topcoat such as Seche Vite…

The result is quite spectacular..

Boom girl Emma and her team will be making your nails pretty in a shed… like a nail art grotto from 12-7 every day! Check out the menu at the top of this post.

You can book your nail treatment by:

Contacting Emma on email
On the phone: 07583042211
Or simply going to the store and ordering a voucher at the till