Whether you want to have fly nails for the ‘Gram, a special occasion, or if you’re just bored at home while social-distancing, doing your own nails can be fun and creative activity. It doesn’t have to cost a fortune or take ages at the salon! It’s easier than it seems. Here are some quick and easy DIY tricks that will have your nails looking fabulous.
1) Plaid Nails
This looks like a complex design but only takes a few swipes of the brush. Apply a white base coat, wait for it to try, and then choose the first color you want to use. Draw one or two lines on every nail either vertically or horizontally. Wait for that to dry then do another color, let dry, and then another.
Vary the thickness of each line slightly to give a nice woven look. Polish it off with a top coat to smooth it all out. Voila!
For this look you just need a little bit of tape (or a very steady hand) and two polish colors.
Apply a base coat over your whole nail, wait for it to dry, and then use a piece of tape to create a straight line diagonally down the centre. Paint the second color over the area that isn’t covered by the tape, and you’re done!
3) Half Moon
Have some extra office supplies lying around? Use binder paper reinforcements to get the perfect half moon shape. Apply a base coat and wait for it to dry completely. Then stick the binder reinforcements over your nails and paint the second color coat over top.
4) Geometric Shapes
Add simple straight lines to simple colored nails to create a unique accent. Use tape to help keeps lines straight if you don’t have surgeon hands. Try a sharpie instead of polish for a more refined look, just make sure to apply a top coat to set the sharpie.
Use some tape to make it easier to create straight lines for smaller details. For this zig-zag design, you’ll need some tape, wavy scissors, and two different color polishes.
Apply a base coat and wait until it’s fully dry before applying the tape. Cut the tape with the wavy scissors to get the zig-zag effect, and then apply to your nails. Use the second polish to fill in the area of the nails without tape, wait for it to dry, and remove the tape to reveal your design!
6) Sponge Gradient
Choose two colors that would work well in a gradient (usually light to dark). Use some tape to cover the skin around your nail, or have some Q-tips and nail polish remover handy for when you’re done.
Pour two blobs out next to each other in a mixing tray and use a toothpick to mix the overlap together. Get out a makeup sponge and dab both colors together on the sponge, and then transfer to your nail. Cover with a clear top coat to smooth out the gradient.
Try adding more colours to your gradient once you’re more confident with the application process!
7) Glitter Gradient
This is perfect for a festive look to add a little sparkle.
Apply a base layer of your preferred colour, and then add a glitter nail polish concentrated at the tip of the nail, and lightly brush it down no further than the centre of the nail. No sponge required for this one.
8) Matte & Glossy
Get this sleek look easily with two nail polishes. Use the matte black as a base coat over the whole nail, and then use the glossy black across the tips. Simple as that!
Use some tape to help create a straight line on the tips if need be.
9) Gold Leaf
A little bit of gold can really dress up your nails. It’s perfect for a special occasion or holiday look. All you need is a little bit of gold leaf, a nail file, some scissors, and a Q-tip! The gold leaf will stick to the nail polish, so all you have to do is cut out the shape you want, apply it to your nails, and then use the file to remove the excess from the tips. Done!
10) Fishnet stencil
Use an old loofah and a sponge to create a fishnet stencil. Paint a base coat, hold the loofah over your nail, and dab with a sponge. Voila!
11) Abstract Artist
Prepare to get a little messy with this one! Use tape to cover the skin around your nails, and put down some newspaper to avoid too much clean up.
Apply one base layer, and then get crazy! Flick your polish haphazardly across your nails to achieve an abstract splashed paint effect.
Another easy artistic style can be achieved by painting swatches across your nails. Try mixing thinner and thicker brush strokes to get that messy look.
13) Lightning Strikes
This one is a little more complicated, but easier than it seems! This one is good for a rainy day (pun very much intended).
Apply a black base coat and lightly sponge on some dark purple and white accents. Use a very thin micro-tip pen in silver or white to draw in a strike of lightning. Voila! Easy as pie.
Black and white pinstripe nails! Use tape to keep those lines straight, it will be most noticeable with this design if they’re out of line. The stud at the bottom is optional but it looks pretty cute! Even without a stud, you could add one dot of a fun color at the base for an extra unique touch.
15) A Unique Twist on Classic Black and White
Apply a base colour (in this case, white) and then carefully paint a curved line in black. Fill in the space with more black polish and you’re done! Try it with different color combos to switch it up.
16) Gold Highlights
Use a gold sharpie to easily add highlights to your nails! You can wipe it off if you mess up and it won’t ruin the base coat. Just be sure to apply a good top coat to keep the sharpie bits in place when you’re done.
17) Glitter French Tip
This not only looks beautiful, but it covers up any unevenness there may have been in your french tip line. We all know it’s hard to get them perfectly crisp!
18) Christmas Lights
Apply your white base coat, and use a sharpie or a very fine black polish brush to create the “strings” for the lights. Once that’s dry, add a couple red and green “lights” to give it a festive flair! Don’t forget a top coat to smooth it all over.
19) Stone Effect
Apply a base coat and then use a piece of crumpled up plastic to get this cool stone effect. Paint the second color loosely across the crumpled plastic and then apply by dabbing the plastic over the nail.
20) DIY Matte Polish
Matte is constantly going in and out of style, and it can get expensive to buy a matte version of every color in your collection. By adding a little eye shadow (of a similar color, or to a clear top coat) you can make any polish matte on your own!
21) One color diagonal
This is a quick one and only requires one colour and a top coat. Paint a swatch of color from the corner of your nail to the opposite side. No need for tape or another layer of paint, just throw on a top coat and leave the other half of your nail looking natural.
22) Triangle Beds
Paint triangles on your nail beds for a fun feature. One extra-accented nail can be easily made by adding an extra stripe above the base triangle, as pictured here!
23) Crisp Shapes
You can go wild by using tape to create crisp shapes. Mix and match your nails or keep one uniform style across the whole manicure – the choice is yours!
Fool all your friends – this looks like a super complicated design, but you can do it in just a few minutes!
Prepare your nails with a base coat of clear polish or color. Take a small piece of lace and place it over your entire nail, where you want the pattern to be. Dab some white nail polish on with a sponge to transfer the pattern over. Easy as pie!
25) Delicate Polka-Dots
Apply a base layer of whatever prominent color you want for your nails. Take a tooth pick and dip it carefully so just the tip is holding some white nail polish. Put some small dots over your nails, topping up the white polish as needed. Dip the toothpick into the polish a little further to get bigger dots and add a few of those to the nails. Wait for it to try then add a top coat to smooth them out and you’re done!
26) Thick Polka-Dots
For the same look with thicker dots try using the end of a bobby pin.
27) Minimalist Polka-Dots
For a simple and more understated polka-dot pattern, dot just one line of dots at the tips of your nails.
28) Two Dot Style
Use a bobby pin to make one thick dot at the bed of your nails, and a toothpick to create a tiny dot just above it. This is a super quick way to stylize your solid colour nails.
29) Grouped Polka Dots
Play with placing dots strategically around your nails to create different looks.
30) One simple dot
Don’t have time to paint your nails in full? Just add one cute dot at the base of the nail for a cute and instant look.
31) Two Colour Polka-Dot Switch
For an interesting switch up, choose two colors and do a different colored tip. For this example they’ve used pink and white. When you go to add your dots, place the white dots on the pink base coat, and the pink dots on the white base coat. Cute!
32) Band-Aid Dots
Apply a base coat, wait for it to dry completely. When dry, apply a breathable Band-Aid with holes in the adhesive. Attach it to your nail and fill the holes with the second color of nail polish. Bing bang boom – quick dotted nails!
33) Polka-Dots and Stripes
Apply the base coat and let it dry. Make one black and one white stripe on each nail. Use a bobby pin or other tool to add polka dots on the lines with black and white color. It’s easiest to do one large dot in the “outline” color, and then layer it with a smaller dot after the first has dried.
34) Bubble-Like Polka-Dots
Apply the dots so that they’re slightly overlapped. It gives the design a more 3D effect and gives the illusion of floating bubbles.
35) Change Colors in the Sun
Okay, so maybe this one is cheating a little bit, but it’s so cool I had to include it.
You can find nail polish that changes colors in the sun when activated by UV rays. This is a cool way to spice up your nails with minimal effort. It does all the work for you!
One hand here has been in the sun, the other hasn’t. Is there a benefit to this? No. It’s just fun to see what science can do.
36) Tri-Color Stripe
Apply a white polish as a base coat. Apply a blue coat on top at just half the nail, rounding it off (use some binder reinforcers to help lead the circular shape if necessary). Use a gold polish to add a thin line of color dividing the white and blue.
37) Block of White
Place one swift swipe of white to help accent a dark colored base coat.
38) Thin Stripes
Use an old paint or makeup brush, spread out the bristles, and use it to swipe nail polish along your nails for a thin stripey look.
39) Stripes and Dots
Use a combo of stripes and dots on your nails for an extra special design. First use a base coat, layer it with a second color on the top half of the nail, and then add a gold stripe along the divide of the two colors. Add a gold dot to the corner of the nails to make the look really pop!