Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Easy Nail Art

Hi, hi, hi! I hope everyone is off to a good start to the week. Today I want to share some tips and ideas on easy nail art. I know a lot of what I post might look complicated but there are some easy ways to dress up your nails.

The easiest way to add a bit of something-something to your nails is to add glitter. You can layer 1 or 2 coats over your existing manicure, tape off a section of nail and just paint that section, or do a gradient.

Here's a mani I've shared previously - I taped off the top of the nails and painted the tips with glitter.

And here's a gradient where I've started layering glitter from the tops of the nails but have concentrated on the tips - this is A England She Walks in Beauty over Ulta3 Silver Grey.

Another super easy nail art technique is to create dots. You can buy dotting tools online or at nail supply stores but if you don't want to buy one, you can try a straightened-out paper clip or the tip of a pencil. Here's a previously shared polka dot mani

But you're not limited to just polka dots, you can use dotting tools to create flowers - check out this tute for instructions. I used Butter London Sprog for the base and Butter London Snog and Orly Dazzle for the flowers.

Or you can try this ruffle manicure - check out the tutorial over at Chalkboard NailsI used Orly Green Apple for the base as well as for the dots plus Zoya Tart and Zoya Creamy.

Another easy way of creating something fun on your nails is to use stickers, decals, diamantes, and fimo clay. These can be stuck on while the top coat is wet or attached using nail glue. You can purchase stickers and decals at chemists and nail supply store. You can purchase diamontes rhinestones at craft stores and online. You can purchase fimo clay sticks online.

Here's a previously shared mani featuring rhinestones

Taping your nails is a really great way to create nail art. You can use Scotch tape, masking tape or painter's tape - my preference is Scotch as I think it creates cleaner lines. For finer work you can also buy striping tape.

Here are two manis I've already posted about, in the first I taped off the nails and painted the tips, in the second I taped off half the nail diagonally.

Sponging is one of my favourite effects, I buy make up sponges and cut them into small pieces. When sponging it's a good idea to have something on which to put your drop of polish - I use a piece of plastic, then dip the sponge into the drop of polish, sponge once on the plastic to remove excess and then on my nails.

Here's one of my fave manis where I used sponging to create a galaxy-look

Nail art pens
Nail art pens are becoming more popular and more widely available. They are great for doing detailed work and give more control than a brush

Here's a mani where I used a nail art pen for all the outlining

This one is simple: grab some brushes and get painting! Treat your nails like a canvas and paint whatever design you like. You can use the brush in the polish bottle, make up brushes or go all out and buy a set like this one - their brushes are cruelty free/vegan and synthetic.

Here's a lovely look you can create just using the brush in the bottle, it's called a heart-fishtail or a chevron-fishtail and there's a tute at Chalkboard Nails. I used Orly Lemonade, Zoya Sweet, and Butter London Trout Pout.

I first discovered stamping a few years ago and I purchased a set and some plates and I really enjoy being able to easily decorate my nails, especially with some of the more intricate designs. These days there are lots of brands available and easy to find online. I suggest googling them first because some brands make their designs too small. My fave brands are Konad and Cheeky. There are lots of videos online to show you how it's done.

To start you'll need the basics, some plates and a rubber stamper. You don't need the plate holder or the scraper, you can just put the plates onto whatever surface you're working on (I like to lay them on a tissue on top of a plastic place mat) and you can use any hard plastic card like a loyalty/membership card to scrape off the excess paint if you don't buy the scraper.

I used to clean the stamper with polish remover in between but a friend suggested sticky tape and it's much better, so lay out some before you start.

Have patience, sometimes the polish is not opaque enough, or your nails have residue on them, or your stamper needs cleaning. When you get going and start doing it more often it gets easier and it's a lot of fun.

Here's a mani I've posted about before, the vines were done using a stamping plate

And that's it for today! There are lots of great sites with many more ideas, so if there's something you'd like to do on your nails just google it because you're bound to find someone who has done it.


  1. This is such a great post and jam packed full of excellent nail art info! I love it!! :D

  2. omg you have so many nail art supplies! it's awesome. i am only just venturing into a little bit of nail art. i prefer to just paint my nails fun colors vs nail art. however, i did buy some dotting tools recently and kind of love making polka dots. i love your manis for girl, detective and scarlet. i have been thinking of getting some stamping tools, too. i wish there was a place to get it in store vs online but it's so much cheaper online.

    thanks for all of these great tips. i will def be giving some of them a try soon. :)

  3. This is such a great guide, Mands. I've been so curious about stamping especially after seeing your fab nails. I can't believe the fishtail/Chevron is done freehand!! I'm going to need to practice.

  4. Fabulous post! I've got to try that ruffle mani.

    Great job, darlin'!


  5. Wow Mandee, this is such an awesome post! The only nail art I've ever tried is a glitter fade and I was so surprised at how easy it was. I love, love, love the galaxy-look mani. I'll have to try it one day!

  6. Lovely post sweetie :)
    I have to say, your galaxy manicure is THE BEST galaxy mani Ive seen in a LONG TIME!!! WOW!! :)

  7. Amazing work Mandee! I love all of your designs so its great to see how you did them.

    Thank-you for sharing :-)

  8. Thanks, lovely ladies! I'm glad you like the post :D

  9. Wow, thanks so much for this Mandee! I love nail art but am too lazy/not skilled enough often, but I'd like to give it more of a go and this is really helpful. I bough a stamper and some plates a little while ago but haven't been brave enough to use it yet. I have a suspicion the plate patterns are too small. I should give it a go.
    Also, I love the sponge effect, I really must try this!
    This week I tried the gradient glitter effect but I think my base colour was too dark so you couldn't notice the gradient so much. I think I'll try it again with more contrasting colours.

  10. Expect to see lots more of these Nail Art Pens coming soon, I absolutely love them!

  11. Thanks for sharing these simple and easy nail designs. I think I can try some of these.

  12. Amazing easy nail designs, they're all great! Thanks for sharing.

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