Category Archives: Nail Art

Simple Nail Art Tips

My Nail Polish and Supplies

I LOVE nail art.  I try to keep my fingernails painted on a regular basis because my nails are particularly thin and brittle (due to health conditions), and polish helps keep them from breaking as often.  I have over 150 bottles of nail polish, which I blame partially on the year I spent working front desk at a nail salon, staring at a wall of polish all day.  I became interested in nail art when I saw Japan’s INCREDIBLE nail art magazines.  You can see some of the designs I’ve done on my Facebook page.  I haven’t tried any of the more complicated designs, but there are a lot of easy things you can do to jazz up your manicure or pedicure.

Nail Decorations

Tools and Materials:

  • Nail polish – This is obvious, but there are different kinds of nail polish too, like glitters, sheer iridescent colors, and shatter polishes, which you can use for layering.  You can also get small bottles of polish with skinny brushes which are specifically intended for nail art.
  • Base coat and top coat – It’s important to use a base coat to protect your nails from staining and a top coat to seal in all your work when you’re done (and give it a glossy finish).  They also help your manicure/pedicure last longer.
  • Nail stickers – You can get full-nail stickers for an “instant manicure” or smaller designs that you can scatter on your nails.  They’re easy enough to find at drug stores and Target and such, but you’ll probably find a better selection at a beauty supply store (like Sally’s Beauty Supply).
  • Confetti, jewels, and 3D decorations – jewels are easy to find but you’ll probably have to go to a place like Sally’s or a nail supply store to get things like 3D hearts, flowers, chain, etc.
  • Loose glitter – Any kind of craft glitter will do.  Some nail supply stores will sell small containers of loose glitter, too.
  • Misc tools – Beauty and nail supply stores offer variety of tools to help you with your nail art.  Wooden sticks and clean-up pens can help you clean up your edges and remove polish from surrounding skin.  Tiny brushes help with painting designs (I’ve been meaning to get a slightly larger one for doing French tips).  There are also dotting tools (my angled brush has a metal dotter on the other end) and pickup tools with rubber tips that let you pick up confetti and jewels more easily.  Tweezers also help with placing decorations.

Nail Art by Kie

Easy designs you can do:

  • Paint each nail a different color – or just use two or three colors.  You can do rainbows, ombre, or other coordinating colors.  This is the easiest thing to do to make your nails a little more fun!  For a while it was trendy to just paint the ring finger a different color.  I like to use at least three colors though.
  • Stickers – stickers are super easy to use and make your nails look like you spent way more time on them than you did.  After your base dries, just plop your stickers on top (it’s easier if you use tweezers), put top coat over everything, and you’re done!
  • Glitter – Layering with glitter polish is really easy, of course.  Painting designs in glitter (tips, half-moons, stripes, dots, etc.) takes a little more skill and patience.  If you want to use loose glitter, you can paint your nails or part of your nails with clear polish (top coat) and then sprinkle the loose glitter on top.  After it dries a little, you can brush away excess glitter and put more top coat on top to seal it.  It’s messy so I do this on top of a sheet of paper, then I try to collect the excess glitter and put it back in the container.
  • 3D decorations – These can be added while your polish is still tacky.  Just press them into your wet polish or top coat and they should stick.  Then cover them with a layer of top coat.
  • French tips – this takes a little more skill… or you can cheat and use French tip stickers to tape off the end and help you get a clean tip.  Tips don’t have to be white!  Try different colors!
  • Paint your own designs! – This is a lot more difficult, but your imagination is the limit! …. or maybe your skill with your non-dominant hand.  Once your base color dries, use a small brush and draw stripes, dots, hearts, flowers, or whatever you want.  With nail art pens, you can draw patterns on your nails more easily.  Sally Hansen’s nail art pens can actually be washed off with water, so if you make a mistake you can always wash it off and try again (but when you get it right, make SURE not to forget your top coat, or it will come off the next time you wash your hands)!  If freehand designs are intimidating to you, try starting with just one nail, like your ring finger or big toe.

I hope this helps inspire some of you to try some nail art of your own!  Special occasions and holidays are great chances to experiment with festive designs.  Have fun with it!