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The Coolest New Manis Aren’t Painted—They’re 3-D Printed! 

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I failed to see the future when I first heard about 3-D printing. Imagining the process—of building a three-dimensional object by programming a machine to lay down thin, successive layers of a material in a detailed shape—left me underwhelmed. I looked at the first objects made (a cup! a pen! a key!) and said, “Why would anyone want to do that?” I mean, come on. Each thing took hours to produce, and really, what was the point? As a society, we already know how to make simple objects effectively. Great job, science! Way to not be useful!

But then I realized those early 3-D printed objects were just for practice, and the technology moved swiftly forward, suddenly able to produce edible 3-D printed treats, fireable 3-D printed guns, and even 3-D printed houses. So it was only a matter of time before fashion and beauty stepped into the game. We knew it would happen. Style is always ahead of the curve.

Enter designers Sarah C. Awad and Dhemerae Ford. They’re the brains behind TheLaserGirls, a collaboration that uses 3-D printing technology to make insaaaaaane press-on nail art and accessories. These nails are nuts. And they’re clearly something you couldn’t easily reproduce at home. At least not with nail polish alone.

Honeycomb designs, space-Lego looks, and my favorite—the Drogon—a horned beast printed into a white nylon press-on, and a nod to Daenerys Targaryen. Game of Thrones fan or not, HOW FREAKING COOL are these? They look like the nails of a hot alien! TheLaserGirls print nails in various materials, ranging from nylon and alumide (nylon filled with aluminum dust) to gold-plated steel, and no matter what, they look fierce. (In case you’re wondering, you apply them with standard nail glue.)

Sarah and Dhemerae say that their design process for each set takes anywhere from a day to several weeks, depending on how complex it is. Perfecting the printing process for each set can take three to four weeks.

All I can think is, oh my god, I MUST HAVE a mani involving the skull of a tiny 3-D printed dragon. But if you let your mind go crazy, think about it: What else could we 3-D print for beauty? Avant-garde fake lashes? Sculptural eyebrow extensions? Or what if we could turn our nails into tools, 3-D printing tiny useful things (spoons, forks, keys, eyelash combs) onto, say, steel fake nails? I take it all back, technology! I apologize! Carry on.

You can follow TheLaserGirls on Tumblr and Instagram.