Delia Wenzel has always been a little obsessive when it comes to the pop culture things that she loves.
As a child, she immersed herself in the toys of the ’80s. As a grown-up, she’s wrapped herself up in J.K. Rowling’s wizarding world and the creepy thrills of Halloween and horror movies. She has also discovered a true talent for creating vibrant, meticulously detailed, geek-tastic nail art.
You’re going to want to check out some of her amazing designs below, inspired by fandoms such as Doctor Who, Star Wars, Stephen King’s “It,” and “The Walking Dead,” along with other passions, like bibliophilia and science.
You can see even more of her stunning nail art on her Instagram account, @iamdeliasnails, where she’s captured the attention of more than 9,000 followers.
Read on to learn more about Delia’s creative inspirations, her most unusual obsession (hint: he wore a stovepipe hat), her fondest fantasy (hint: it involves custom bookshelves), as well as the other impressive hobby that keeps her busy around Halloween time.
Your Instagram page, @iamdeliasnails, has more than 9,000 followers and features your nail designs, including many wonderfully geeky styles. How and when did you begin doing nail designs?
I think I’ve always loved painting my nails and I credit it with helping me quit biting them as a child but I didn’t really get into creating nail art until about four years ago.
Did you have any professional training or are you self-taught?
I’m completely self-taught. It’s all trial and error, mostly error.
What specifically prompted you to tackle some of the geekier designs, like those inspired by Harry Potter, Star Wars, Disney, and various horror franchises?
I guess being into geeky and literary things, it was just a natural progression to want those things represented on my nails. Some of my most favorite designs have been fandom designs and it’s so fun to express my love of certain fandoms on my nails!
What do you enjoy about this geeky form of self-expression?
I enjoy being creative and have always had to have creative outlets to express myself, such as cross stitching, fluid painting, and pumpkin carving, but I love nail art because I get ten mini canvases to design and it brings my love of writing, photography, art and geekiness all together in one place. They’re great conversation starters!
What are some of your favorite designs so far?
Some my favorite designs so far have been my Patronus nails, book nails, and Tardis in space, galaxy nails.
Where do you get your inspiration and design ideas?
Most times I have no idea where my ideas come from! They just pop into my head, usually right when I’m falling asleep, ha. I have an entire wall of polish right next to my bed so that may be why. Usually when I look at a polish bottle it just tells me what it wants to be. I also gets tons of inspiration from fellow nail artists on Instagram.
What materials/equipment do you use in creating your designs?
Aside from polish, my main tools are stamping plates and a silicone mat. The stamping plates are metal plates with images engraved on them for stamping images onto the nail and the silicone mat allows me to create designs and then apply them to my nails at a later time. It’s extremely helpful for reverse stamping and messier forms of nail art such as fluid painting and drip marble designs.
Do you design professionally or just for fun?
It’s just for fun!
You have a lot of Instagram followers! How have people reacted to your designs?
The nail art community on Instagram is so collaborative and supportive! I’ve made so many amazing friends because of it. Fandom-inspired manis definitely seem to get a bigger reaction but the overall response has been incredibly positive.
You’re a huge Harry Potter fan. How did you discover J.K. Rowling’s novels?
I discovered Harry Potter almost at the beginning. The second book had already come out and there was a huge buzz about them. I didn’t pay that much attention because I thought they were “kid’s books” and being 21 or 22 and in the military at the time I didn’t picture myself reading kid’s books but an Army friend adamantly recommended them so I bought the first book and the rest is history!
What do you love about them?
Everything! That’s such a tough question because it’s hard to put into words but I think what it comes down to is friendship and good triumphing over evil. And of course magic, definitely magic!
How does your love of Harry Potter manifest itself in your life?
I guess my tendency to wear Harry Potter-themed clothing is an outward manifestation of my love for Harry Potter and specifically Ravenclaw house. I sometimes support Hufflepuff, as well.
It looks as if you spend a fair amount of time at the Wizarding World in Hollywood.
Yes! I call it my home away from home. I have had passes ever since it opened so I can go as often as possible.
You’ve described yourself as “bookish.” When and how did your love of reading develop?
My love of reading started very early. As soon as I learned to read, it’s been my number one past time. There’s nothing better than getting lost in a good book.
What are some of your favorite genres and titles?
I read a lot of YA, but I’d say my favorite genres are fantasy and mystery. My favorite series is probably the Unwind series by Neal Shusterman. I also really loved The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer. Of course, Harry Potter is a big one, as well as The Vampire Chronicles and Mayfair Witches by Anne Rice. I’m also a huge fan of Jane Austen.
Do you hoard books? If so, where do you keep them all?
I do hoard books! I have to buy all my books because I can’t bear to part with them after I’ve read them and I keep them anywhere I find room. It’s my dream to have a full floor-to-ceiling and wall-to-wall personal library in my home, preferably hidden behind a secret door.
What about your interest in geeky things in general? When and how did that begin?
I think I’ve always geeked out about things even as a child. I blame my obsessive tendencies. As a kid if I really liked something I became obsessed with it, watching a movie over and over again (I still do that) and collecting things. I loved to collect My Little Ponies, Strawberry Shortcakes, Barbies, Garbage Pail Kids and those plastic charm necklaces, especially.
Like so many book nerds, you’re also into Doctor Who. What do you enjoy about the series?
Aside from the Doctor himself, the idea of time travel has always captivated me. I can trace that directly back to seeing “Back to the Future” when I was a kid. I was obsessed. But the fact that the Doctor is always trying to help people is something I connect with as well.
Who’s your Doctor?
Definitely the eleventh!
Did you watch the Christmas special? What did you think?
I did. It was excellent but it’s always hard to say goodbye to the Doctor.
Are you looking forward to the new season?
Yes! As hard as it is to say goodbye to the Doctor, it’s always exciting to say hello to a new Doctor. I’m definitely looking forward to seeing the first female Doctor.
You’re also a ‘Stranger Things’ fan. What are your thoughts on Season 2? (SPOILER ALERT!)
I absolutely loved season 2! Most especially because seeing my dreams of Jancy become a reality was so fulfilling. I shipped Jonathan and Nancy from the very beginning. It was nice to see the dynamic between Hopper and Eleven. I really enjoyed that.
Who’s your favorite ‘Stranger Things’ character?
Oh, I’m Team Jonathan all the way!
Tell me all your thoughts on Barb.
Justice for Barb!
You seem to like the horror genre a lot. Why?
Hmm, why? I don’t know, I guess it’s just really fun to be scared!
What are some of your favorite horror films/franchises?
The Friday the 13th series and the Scream series are my all-time favorites and I really loved two new horror movies that came out last year, “It” and “Happy Deathday.” Both were just fantastic.
Tell me more about what you thought of the “It” remake?
I loved it so much, I saw it three times in the theater. It was the perfect mix of horror and heart. I even did “It” nails!
With your interest in horror, it follows naturally that you’re also one of those fascinating people who loves Halloween. Do you go all out to celebrate this best of all holidays?
I try to! I decorate fully inside and outside and usually have my costume planned out several months in advance. I’ll watch horror/Halloween movies exclusively in October and paint only Halloween-themed nails as well, but pumpkin carving is probably my favorite Halloween activity.
You’re a masterful carver of geeky jack ‘o’ lanterns. How and when did you discover this art form?
Well, carving pumpkins was always something I looked forward to as a kid, even just those triangle eyes and a smile were so exciting to me. As a teen, I discovered those pattern books you could buy at the store and I started collecting them and it really ignited my passion for carving and I started doing a pumpkin carving party every year.
I would carve between seven and 10 fresh pumpkins every year and would keep them in the bathtub full of water and in the fridge to keep them fresh for as long as possible. When I discovered foam carvable pumpkins, it changed my life. I no longer had to worry about my pumpkins rotting and could start my carving much earlier and keep them indefinitely.
Around that time I also discovered online pattern sites through my friend and fellow pumpkin carver Stephanie Patterson. There are so many sites with patterns to represent nearly every fandom.
What do you enjoy about carving? Has this become an annual tradition for you?
There’s something so satisfying about it. It’s a very zen place for me. I enjoy the act of carving as much as displaying the finished product. It’s been an annual tradition for as long as I can remember.
What are some of your favorite designs that you’ve carved so far?
That’s hard because they’re all my favorite! I’ve done a Harry Potter series, Tim Burton, classic movie monsters, Doctor Who, and so many more. I don’t think I can pick a favorite.
What materials/equipment do you use for your carvings?
Aside from the pumpkins and patterns themselves, I just use some tiny little hand saws that I’ve had since the beginning. Stephanie recommended a hot knife and that has become a big time saver but I find it difficult for small details, so I only use it for larger straight areas and stick to my saws for the details.
Tell me about the elaborate displays/display walls you’ve created over the years.
It started off so small and cute and with a different theme each year — pirates, hayride, etc., but it was always my dream to create an entire wall of pumpkins. I finally achieved that goal a few years ago. Each year it grows some more as I’m always adding more pumpkins and it brings me such joy to see them all up on display.
How do the neighbors react when they see your pumpkins all lit up?
I think they enjoy it! Most have told me they look forward to seeing it and we get a lot of drive-bys and people taking pictures so I think others enjoy it as well.
What are some of your other fandoms?
I’m not sure I’d call this a fandom but I’m obsessed with Abraham Lincoln.
Does your family share your love of “geek culture?” If so, what are some of your shared and individual interests and activities?
Yes! My kids especially share my love of geek culture and we share a love of Harry Potter, Doctor Who, “Stranger Things,” Star Wars, Tim Burton, Jim Henson and horror movies. It’s so amazing to be able to share my geekdom with my kids.
Do you collect anything?
I collect too many things. Action figures, snow globes, Halloween villages, Lincoln memorabilia, Elvis memorabilia, anything Harry Potter, Doctor Who, Day of the Dead, and Frida Kahlo. Of course, I collect books and nails polish (I have nearly 1,000 bottles) and have started on that downward spiral that is collecting Pop! figures.
As a woman, is there anything you’d like to see change about the world of fandoms and geekdoms?
I guess seeing more female representation would be good. We need more woman creating content. More women directors, too!
Is there anything else we should know about you (life, work, hobbies, etc.)?
I was a journalist/photojournalist in the Army Reserve, I’m a crazy cat lady and I’ve been a lifelong vegetarian.
What’s the next big release you’re looking forward to (movies, TV, books, etc.)?
For movies, I’m most excited for the next “Fantastic Beasts” movie and “Avengers: Infinity War.” For TV, I’ll be eagerly awaiting the return of “Stranger Things” and “Game of Thrones.” My “to-read” list is incredibly long but I’m definitely looking forward to the next book in The Casquette series by Alys Arden and the next Cormoran Strike novel.
Let’s close with some favorite Harry Potter questions:
Ravenclaw with a side of Hufflepuff.
“Prisoner of Azkaban.”
Most devastating character death?
Sirius Black, but I’m still not over Tonks and Lupin, Fred, or Dobby.
Wizarding subject you’d most like to study?
Favorite magical creature?
Favorite Harry Potter item you own?
Probably my street sign from Grimmauld Place, but my wand collection and Horcrux collection are way up there, too.
Are you excited about “Fantastic Beasts 2”?
Oh yes! I’m counting the days! I cannot wait!
What’s on your Harry Potter bucket list?
Definitely to visit the studios in London, Kings Cross, Platform 9¾, and anywhere else associated with the movies and Jo’s writing spot. I definitely want to go back to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Orlando because I haven’t been since they expanded it.