The sun is shining, the beach is calling, and it is once again time for our favourite thing. I’m not talking about ice cream, though that would be a close second. I’m talking about summer nail art ideas. And what’s a great manicure without a fabulous wicker bag to match?

There is something sublimely chic and effortless about matching your nails to your handbag. And we’re going to tell you all about how to master that look for yourself. 

But first, I have to ask: Have you ever stopped to wonder why we adorn our finger keratin? 

Who took a look at the hard stubs growing out of their fingertips and decided, “I’m going to change the shape of these, and put a smelly, sticky, fabulously colourful substance all over them”?

Well I’m about to tell you. 

Then, we’ll discuss the best summer nail art ideas - and the perfect animal purses to go with them. 

A short history of nail art

There is no one culture (or person) that can take credit for the birth of nail art. In fact, manicures have been a phenomenon for thousands of years in many different places around the globe. 

According to Nails: The Story of the Modern Manicure, the first documented use of finger bling was on Egyptian mummies dating to 5,000 BC. These mummies had henna-tinted fingertips, and nails delicately overlaid with gold leaf. 

Having fingers dyed with kohl or henna was thought to be a status symbol of Ancient Egyptians. 

Yet, around the same time, Indian women were also staining their hands with henna and, in 3,200 BC, Babylonian warriors were painting their nails black and green to demonstrate their power as they headed into battle.  

It wasn’t until 3000 BC that the first nail lacquer was created - and this was in China. This nail polish was made from egg whites, gelatine, and gum Arabic, and colour was added with crushed orchid and rose petals or gold powder.

They sometimes even encrusted their nails with jewels to show their wealth. And so the nail bling truly began!

Now, this lacquer was not like the lacquers of today. It did not dry for HOURS, and sometimes needed a whole night to gel.

Aren’t you feeling fortunate for your modern mani? 

Bringing nail art into the modern age 

In 1878, Mary E Cobb opened the very first nail salon. And she had no idea it would go on to become one of the world’s most requested beauty services. The manicures provided kept nails short, rounded and well buffed. 

But it wasn’t until the 1920s that nail polish became FASHION. Flapper girls took to adding polish to their nails with hints of red, and by 1932, Revlon created the first nail enamel.

The rest was history. 

Soon nail trends were appearing left and right.  

Moon manis, French manis, almond-shaped nails, pastel, neon, prints, textures, gel, shellac, acrylic and even press-on stickers. 

The world of manicures is always evolving - and we simply don’t know WHAT they will think of next. 

Within the trends of nail shapes and styles, there will always and forever be seasonal trends. And so, it is time to discuss some fun summer nail designs for sprucing up the season. Because you want to make sure the paws you’re holding your fun wicker bags with are perfectly polished.

10 summer nail art ideas for matching your wicker handbags

My darling finger-painting poptarts, here are my favourite summer nail ideas to truly highlight your finger fashion sense - and show off your vintage wicker purse in the process. 

1. Swoops and swirls


📷 missbellatracey


Swirls are the ultimate 2021 summer nail art idea. They combine minimalist graphics with negative space, and they are SO easy to do. 

All you need is a striping brush (or an eyeliner brush if you’re feeling daring). You can work off a clear base and add a pop of colour with your swirls, or work in complementary or contrasting colour combinations. 

Just dip your striping brush in your nail polish and take inspiration from the ocean waves. Add ripples to your tips. Swoop and swoosh along your cuticle line - HAVE FUN. 

Bubbles the Fish would absolutely love to come play with those waves. They will look especially fabulous with this wicker fish purse if you use shades of aqua, fuschia, gold, yellow or orange - but you’re the boss here. 

No matter your nail shape - long, short, almond, square or coffin - swirls will work for you. 


2. Ombre French tips


📷 serpentinenails


French manicures will always be a staple in your nail art arsenal. But when looking for summer nail art ideas (and when donning a quirky wicker purse), you want to switch those tips up a bit. 

The first thing you can try is an ombre tip. Use a stamp or sponge to blend your white tips into another base color, like pastel pink or lilac. Or update the classic nail trend with a white blended into nude nail colour.

These refined, chic and striking takes on a French mani will be just dignified enough for Percy Peacock’s taste, while still being neutral enough to let him steal the show. He is the picture of peacock purse elegance, after all. His judgey side eye will pass right by those gorgeous nails. 

If he could, he’d even give you a nod of approval.


3. Gradient French tips 


📷 dayanagarcia 


If you want to REALLY switch up your tips, our next summer nail art idea is another colourful spin on the classic. 

Instead of white tips, pick a different colour for every nail. For example, pink, orange, yellow, lime green, and turquoise. Or even just five shades of pink. 

This sort of colour fiesta is just the sort of thing Midori Llama lives for. The bright pops of colour will play off her beautiful tassels. 

Plus, you can keep this mani going a lot longer, since the mostly clear look will still look fabulous through a bit of grow out. 


4. Tropical sunset mani 


📷 ka_yee_or


Life’s a beach and your nails should show it. 

Sponge on an ombre gradient backdrop in sunset shades of purple, pink and yellow. Then paint (or stamp, not all of us can be flawless at freehand) a black silhouette of a palm tree over the top. 

Pick an accent nail - or put some palms on every nail. You pick!

It is one of the most summery summer nail art ideas there is. You’ll feel like you’re kicking back and sipping Mai Tais no matter where you are. And while all of our bird purses are likely to love  this look, Tallulah or Toucan Tango will fit in perfectly with those tropical vacay vibes. 

Plus, the ombre is going to POP against that black beaky beauty. 


5. 3D textured nails


 📷 storenvy


When your personality is off the charts, sometimes a flat nail won’t do. That’s why I love that so many summer nail art ideas are incorporating a 3D look now. EXTRA fabulousness.

Now, the cable knit sweater nail was ADORABLE for winter, but for a summer-y look, try playing with polka dots, wavy lines, and even 3D flowers!

Any of our wicker bags will work wonderfully with a textural nail, as wicker weave is quite textured itself. While I don’t think I have quite the coordination, you could even attempt to make a 3D wicker weave ON YOUR NAILS!


6. Watermelon sugar hype 


📷 unhasdemelancia


Nothing screams summer like watermelon. 

So a list of summer nail art ideas would be incomplete without a watermelon manicure. 

Now, you don’t need to draw a full-on watermelon on your nails (although you certainly can). In fact, I think a red or pink base, with two-tone green tips and black seed dots would be just simply the sweetest thing.

But there’s no need to get so complicated. 

Simply referencing the pink and green hues (in swirls if you will) is a fabulous way to emote this iconic sunny-weather fruit. 

We even have a watermelon purse that would juice up your look an extra notch. It is just the ultimate in cute summer purses


7. 50 shades of brown


📷 nailssbylys


You may think brown a boring shade, but if you plop it on your pointers you'll be the talk of the town this summer. Especially if you use ALL THE BROWNS.

That’s right, I don’t want a single finger to be the same shade of brown. 

Or, if gradients aren’t really your thing, another summer nail art idea you could try is colour blocking each of your nails with 2 to 4 different shades of beige-y brown-y goodness. 

Brown is incredibly IN for the summer months. It is also iconic, timeless and effortless - just like one of our resident dinosaur purses, Charlotte Brontesaurus.

The brown of your nails will pop masterfully against Charlottes’ green wicker curves, and might even match with her brown leather handles. If they don’t - well then you’ve just added ANOTHER shade of brown to your outfit and you are WINNING darling. 


8. Ne-on point


📷 twinkledt


Neon is a fantastic way to get your nails noticed. And when it comes to summer nail art ideas, there are so many fun ways to include neon in your look.

Try neon tips, neon tie-dye nails, bright yellow neon nails with stars or flowers on your ring fingers, neon swirls, neon ombre, or even neon funfetti nails! The options are simply endless, and each one is just as smashing and eye-catching as the next. 

Any of your neon summer nail art ideas will pop phenomenally against a black or white wicker body. In particular, I think Victor the Unicorn would really appreciate your use of colour, but Armel the Cat, Harvey Rabbit, or any of our colourful and feathered friends would also shine here.

A quick note about neon, my soupy little dumplings. 

Neon can look great on anyone, but certain colours look best against different skin tones. If you have deeper skin, lime green, yellow, or electric blue will pop out even more beautifully. For our porcelain pretties, hot pink and purple are DIVINE. 


9. Checks, mate 


📷 oliviaandlaura


Now, you might think I’m a bit marbles for suggesting it, but you should really make your hands into a checkerboard. I insist. 

Checkered nail looks are a MAJOR front-runner for the coolest summer nail art ideas (in my humble opinion.)

Checkers are graphic, classic, fun to mix and match, and great in every colour.

But with a bold look on your boopers, you might want to keep your purse a bit more neutral. 

Perhaps a natural rattan purse like Marcus the Sharkus or Chorizo the Sausage Dog would be right at home with your boisterous board game mani. 

Or, if you want to just amp up the personality, you could match the colours of your checkerboard to the colours of your purse. For example, a blue and white checkerboard would look smashing with the blue of our cat purse Armel’s blue neck bow. 


10. Pretty in pink 


📷 sonailicious


GASP - you didn’t think I’d forget my favourite hue, did you?!?

Pink nails will always be in style. So of course, there are many spectacular summer nail art ideas to be had where pink polish is concerned. 

And, if you’re anything like me, there is NEVER such a thing as too much pink. 

Once you’ve executed the perfect pink mani, add some extra pink to your party with a pink flamingo purse.

General mani matching tips 

When trying to match your mani to your wicker handbag, here are some things you should consider:

  • Match one of the colours in your design to the colour of your purse. This is a sure-fire tip for matching any accessory.

  • Use contrasting colours like we discussed in our post on styling a statement bag.

  • Think about the shapes of your purse and paint some geometric nail art to match.

  • Match the overall style or feeling of your handbag. Is it sleek? Whimsical? Over-the-top ridiculous!? Plan your nail art accordingly. 

Have the wicker bag/nail art perfect pairing? It’s time to show them off! 

Don’t even think about keeping those hands to yourself. 

If you’ve found the cure for your summer manicure mania, then you simply MUST share it with the world. And our tea party events or even just an Instagram photoshoot are a great place to start (be sure to tag us @wickerdarling). There are so many fabulous locations and events to show off your quirky purse and manicure combo. Locations where you are SURE to get noticed. 

Who knows, your summer nail art ideas might just end up on a Pinterest inspo board!