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Great Nails: Decorating Your Nails

Updated on August 3, 2016

Designs for Your Nails

Once you have the basic tools to make your own nail designs, the only thing left is actually creating them! I will admit that doing your own nails can seem scary at first, especially if you never tried in the past. I still get nervous whenever I redo my nails for a new manicure. I am a perfectionist at heart and it makes me uneasy to begin a design without knowing exactly how it will turn out. Will my right hand look as good as my left (I am right-handed so, my right hand performs better at designing than my left.)? But it's fun and gives me a down time for myself. I have gotten many compliments on my nails and designs even when I thought they were not my best. My partner enjoys taking pictures of them and prides in the fact that I did not have to spend money at a salon to get my trendy look. So I say, "Put all those fears and inhibitions to the side and keep in mind there's nothing you can't fix. There's always nail polish remover." Onward!

Four dots to make petals
Four dots to make petals
Rhinestones to place in middle
Rhinestones to place in middle

Nail Dotting Designs

Nail art can be accomplished using your nail art dotting tools. Not only can you use them to dot your nails but you can also use them to make flowers. Flowers are simple and elegant. They don't have to be complicated to make although once you have the finished product it looks like you took a lot of time and effort into designing them. I use this technique many (many!) times and I never get tired of them. You can use this style for weddings, summer events or during holidays. All you have to do is change up the color of the flowers and they look new and exciting each time.

First I take the biggest size of my nail dotter (or one that you handmade at home) and then choose the color of your choice to start your flowers. In the picture I chose a bright red color. I dip the dotter in some polish (I pour some on a piece of paper so that I can dip easily.) and then make a dot on my nail in the area I want the flower to be on. I repeat the process and place the next dot next to the first one. I form a diamond with the dots. In this picture, I used 4 connecting dots to create the petals. You can see the beginnings of a flower. All that's left is to put a small rhinestone in the middle and there you have it. As you can see, I wanted two flowers on one nail and you can do the same. You can make several flowers on your nail depending on how much space you have to work with. You can make one flower a different color than the other. This would be nice if you were attending a party/wedding that had a color theme. Like blue and white flowers or blue and silver. You get the idea! You can also make a 5 petal flower instead of a 4 petal. The possibilities are endless once you have this technique down.

Purple french manicure
Purple french manicure
Blue big glitters
Blue big glitters

Glitterati

One of my favorite designs and techniques I use involve my glitters. I can be a glitzy girl if I wanted too. I think every women should feel glitzy sometimes, its one of the best benefits of being a woman. I enjoy french manicures ever since I started doing my own nails. I think they are sophisticated and clean. However, I did not like how the white would get stained sometimes after a few days of wear. Also, I found that white chips super quick for a reason I have yet to figure out. So I started experimenting with other colors to achieve the look. I normally would apply a color across my nail and then line the bottom of the polish with a glitter or white using the striper polish. This is cute in itself. But then I wanted to do something a bit different.

I chose a shiny purple to start this french replicating manicure. I swipe polish across, completing covering the white part of my nail. I wait until it dries and go over it again to make sure its rich in color and also to give my nail some strength. The more layers you apply the better protection your nail has to withstand unintentional impact. After the second coat dries, I use my glitters to line the bottom of the purple which is along the "smile" line of my nail. I love the brightness of the blue glitter so I pour some out onto a paper I will be working with. Before I apply the glitter, I polish my nail with a top coat so that the glitter has something to adhere to. I use a nail dotting tool and first touch the dotter to my wet nail, pick up a few glitters from the paper and attach it to my nail. The wetness from my nail will pick up the glitters from the dotter. I can then control the line I am creating under the purple. The end product is beautiful and luscious.

Grapefruit Fimos
Grapefruit Fimos

Fimo Canes

To get a funky and fun appearance on my nails, I use my fimo canes. These are made of polymer clays and can be cut easily into slices if you have them in cane form. I try to cut them very thin so they stick to my nail better. These can be a little time consuming because you have to wait until they dry and apply several top coats over so they don't fall off. I start by using a sheer sparkly polish because I will not be using any other color nail polish so I don't want it to be so plain. Then while it's still wet, I pick up the fimo slice with my dotting tool (first touching it on the wet nail) and stick it on my nail. After doing this, it's important to put on another top coat because then the fimo slice will start curling upward. Once the polish is on, use the nail dotter to gently press down on the slice so all edges are securely on the nail. Wait a few minutes until the nail starts drying and then press down again. Repeat this process one more time. Allow several minutes until the entire design is completely dry. Finalize with a strengthening top coat.

Many fimos can be used on one nail. You can make a mini design on just one finger. You can use apples, grapefruits and lemons to make a mini fruit salad on your nail. I use these a lot during the summer because of all the fun, bright colors. I paint all my nails yellow or orange and "fimo out" my two ring fingers with fruits. It's a great way to amp up your nails and add a 3D effect.


Lines create an abstract look
Lines create an abstract look
Add dots to complete
Add dots to complete
Line your nails to make them look like tiger stripes
Line your nails to make them look like tiger stripes

Stripe like You're a Tiger

Probably the most used techniques is striping. Stripe, stripe, stripe! I remember going to the nail salon (oh so long ago) and my nail technician having free reign to do whatever design she liked. One time, she did an abstract design on my nails that I loved. I thought she had a method behind her madness. As it turned out her method was madness. She'd picked 6 different colors that came in the striper polish and randomly used them on my nails, along with dots and glitter. The finished result was gorgeous. I decided to replicate and make my own master plan.

I started out by choosing colors that I liked and would go good together. Then I would make lines all over my nail, some in pattern and some not. Two lines here, three lines there. I then use my nail dotter to make dots in between parallel lines and some forming a curve upward/downward. I use a glitter striper polish to highlight some areas. It really is that simple. Creativity is your motivation and it's okay if all your nails have a different pattern as long as you use the same colors for the purpose of flow. Whenever I am burnt out of nail designs I go to this true and tried method because you can never mess up.

Another stripe design is one that is as simple as the first. Pick two colors of your choice and make horizontal lines down each side of your nail leaving space between each stripe. Then go in with a different pigment in between the spaced out lines. This is a striped tiger effect that can be done in just a few minutes.

Look for Inspiration

Getting ideas for your nail art are ways that can differentiate you from the crowd. Inspiration can come from anywhere. Sometimes I read through magazines and books and happen to come across colors that I would not have thought to use together. Themes and patterns are dripping from magazines and a lot of my designs come from them. I also decorate my nails in accordance to a particular holiday or event. Thanksgiving just passed and I used hues in oranges, browns and red to help create a nail design. The video below is an example of how to use a holiday to help you plan out a particular nail art. When I went to the Breaking Dawn showing, I used black, red and white to show my support of the Twilight series. It's entertaining and unique. Try your hand at nail art and discover the nail tech within you!

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    • dinkan53 profile image

      dinkan53 5 years ago from India

      women are known to follow the latest fashion crazes, running with the emerging fashion trends of today. nail art is an ever-expanding line of art and this hub is perfect with beautiful pictures and explanations. The video is also good. Vote up and awesome!

    • OfTheHeart profile image
      Author

      Stephanie 5 years ago from New York

      dinkan53, thanks so much for the comment. I enjoy painting my nails and doing designs on them and I never noticed how much money I was paying to get them done. Nail art is vastly growing, you are right! Another way for us women to glamorize!

    • Libra Rajani profile image

      Libra Rajani 5 years ago from USA

      Great informative hub!

    • prasetio30 profile image

      prasetio30 5 years ago from malang-indonesia

      This was so informative hub. It's like an art. I love how the nails look cute by decorated by beautiful pictures. Thanks for writing and share with us. Rated up!

      Prasetio

    • OfTheHeart profile image
      Author

      Stephanie 5 years ago from New York

      Thanks Libra Rajani and prasetio30! I appreciate the positive feedback.

    • Jasmeetk profile image

      Jasmeet Kaur 2 years ago from India

      Great ideas... Thanks for sharing... looking for some more new ideas!!!

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