Do you love art? Do you like to play with colorful nail polish? Use your nails as your canvas with this ombre tutorial.
Basic Two-Tone Ombre
- Two different colors of nail polish
- A clear topcoat
- A piece of sponge
- Nail polish remover
- Cotton swabs
- Gather all of your materials. You can use any nail polish colors; just remember you want one light and one dark color. As you can see in the images above, here I used yellow and green.
- First of all, clean off any old polish with nail polish remover and cotton swabs.
- Next, apply your lighter color as the base coat for every nail (in my case, yellow). You can apply a double coat if required. Let it dry completely.
- Now, here is where the ombre comes in. Transfer some of your darker nail polish onto a plastic sheet or any other smooth, disposable surface. Then dab your sponge in the nail polish and press it onto the ends of your nails. Repeat it on every nail.
- Let it dry and cover your nail art with a clear topcoat.
If you're in a hurry, dry your nail polish quickly by placing your fingers in ice-cold water for 30 to 60 seconds. Wondrously, the polish will come out completely dry.
Who doesn't love glitter? Instead of applying a uniform distribution of sparkles, mix things up by applying it in a gradient. For this, you can use either glitter nail polish or clear nail polish and loose glitter. You can apply both products easily with a sponge.
For the purple nails in the picture above, I used a very similar technique to that of the two-tone ombre. The base coat is a solid purple, and I created a reverse-ombre look by using the sponge to apply glitter at the base of the nail instead of the tip.
For the blue nails, I did something a little different. You'll notice that the base coat for all of the fingers except for the ring finger is a French manicure. I then used glitter to transition between the clear part of the French manicure and the blue part. To do so, I used the sponge to apply clear polish where the two colors met and then sprinkled on aqua glitter. For the ring finger, I applied pink hexagon flakes with a small dotting tool because the individual pieces are so small that they're difficult to handle with tweezers. Finally, I applied a top coat so that the glitter is sealed and secure.
A simple variation of the two-tone ombre, this nail art will rack in the compliments. The only addition is a circular nail guide. I have created this guide with paper tape, but you can easily find these guides in the market. If you have a French manicure tip, that will work perfectly. Here are some simple steps to follow for the nail art:
- Apply a base coat (here, I used yellow) and let it dry.
- Apply the circular guide onto your nails as shown in the photo.
- Sponge on the ombre hue (in this case, orange). Repeat this step to make a perfect finish.
- Remove the guide from your nails and apply top coat.
- Optional: You can embellish your nails with additional accessories, like the orange star I incorporated.
Get creative and embrace multiple colors. Try applying four or five different colors with the sponge technique. For this nail art, we need a white matte nail polish as the base. Apply two coats and let it dry.
Now, take four nail polish colors, such as pink, blue, purple, and green. Apply each with a sponge, and experiment with vertical, horizontal, and diagonal impressions.
Do not forget to seal your nail art with a top coat. It gives shine to your nails and makes the polish longer lasting.
Galaxy Nail Art
These galaxy nails use the same sponge technique. I used multiple colors—royal blue, white, yellow, green, pink, red, and black—as well as a bit of glitter. Here are the steps:
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- Apply one coat of royal blue nail polish. Here, we need only one coat as a base because we are going to apply several additional coats of polish with the sponge.
- Now, use the sponge to apply white and pink diagonally across the nail.
- Next, apply yellow, green, red, and black, one by one.
- Add some glitter to the wet polish.
- Now we need to give a center to our galaxy. Use a dotting tool to add a white dot in the middle of each nail.
- Finally, apply a quick-dry topcoat and our galaxy nails are ready.
- Optional: You can also make some stars with a striping brush.
Ombre, which comes from the French word for "shaded," refers to anything with a gradient, whether it's the smooth gradient achieved with a sponge or the more choppy gradient achieved by simply painting different tones of a color with a brush. This is what I did in this manicure.
- White nail polish for the base and to mix with other colors to create your various tones
- Various other colors of nail polish, such as pink, blue, green, or purple
- 1 mm-thick striping tape
- Stripes brush
- Quick-dry top coat
- Apply a coat of white nail polish and let it dry completely—you can also use a nail-polish dryer to speed the processes.
- Next, lay the striping tape onto the nails in a grid pattern.
- Now you're set up to start adding color. Take a smooth disposable surface, such as foil paper or a plastic sheet, and transfer four blobs of nail polish onto it.
- Next, take white nail polish and mix it with the polish on the sheet to make four progressively lighter tones.
- Fill the squares of the grid on your nails with these tones to create a gradient effect.
- If you're planning to use more than one color, as I did in the picture above, repeat the previous step as needed.
- After filling all squares, carefully remove the striping tape and apply a topcoat.
There are so many variations of the nail art you can create with the help of a sponge. Have any other ideas for ombre designs? Please share them with me below. I would love to hear.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
Jasmeet Kaur (author) from India on August 12, 2015:
surely Blond Logic... u should try it once.
Mary Wickison from Brazil on August 11, 2015:
I have never seen this technique before. I love nail art and some years ago, I had my nails done every two weeks. I was never brave enough to do it at home, though.
I wish I had read about this soon, it looks easy and the results are great.
Shadaan Alam from India on June 09, 2013:
wow loved these beautiful nails and the tips you have given, pinned ur post.
idigwebsites from United States on June 05, 2013:
Thanks for the additional information! I'm so excited to try the other designs :)
idigwebsites from United States on May 27, 2013:
I sooo love nail art! Haven't tried with a bow though, so thanks for another wonderful tip!
cbar77 on May 21, 2013:
Hi Jasmeetk! I really like the pastel ombre nail art, especially the one with the bows. It looks so perfect!
passionate77 on April 28, 2013:
very nice and soo cute, jasmeetk, i enjoyed all the tips and pics step by step. really very nice and cool color schemes specially in summer in asia these days. great work, thanks for sharing dear!