Nail Art

Dedicated to the infinite joys of nail art and design: handpaint, airbrush, colored acrylics and gels.


Simply Irresistible

For the nail art-challenged, these easy-to-create designs are the answer.

For the nail art-challenged, these easy-to-create designs are the answer. Try your hand at an innocent scallop design or a wild black and white creation. A bottle of polish and the polish brush is all you need to create these unique and fun works of nail art.


To create this dramatic design, Cathy Marrone of Cut-N-Loose in Little Falls, N.J., used a white polish for the background and black polish for the individual puzzle pieces. First, she polished the entire nail with Essie Cosmetics’ Blanc polish. Then, she used Essie’s Licorice to paint irregular-shaped puzzle pieces. Draw the puzzle pieces in angles and shapes that seem to fit together. Make sure to draw the pieces fairly close to each other. Finish the design with a layer of top coat.



This colorful design by Pauline Belcher of Shohreh Skin Care, Electrolysis, & Body Care Clinic in Washington, D.C., was done with seven different polish colors from NDB Nail Lacquers. She polished the nail with an iridescent polish. Then, she painted the various designs by depressing the tip of the polish brush on one side of the nail and releasing the brush in an upwards stroke. She layered the colors so that they would slightly overlap each other. She used NDB’s Blue Jeans, Paradise, Mellow Yellow, Mint N’Chip, and Creamsicle. She finished the design by high-lighting the layered strokes with a downward stroke of silver glitter polish. Finish the design by applying top coat.


Try this classic scallop design by Sue Ellen Schultes of Notorious Nail Salon in Green Brook, N.J. This design was done with Essie Cosmetics’ Ballet Slippers and Blanc. She painted the nail with Essie’s Ballet Slippers for the background. Then, she painted a downward stroke starting from the middle, right side of the nail with Essie’s Blanc. Next, she painted another downward arch from the left side of the nail with the Ballet Slippers. She finished the tip with a shallow, downward arch from the right side with Blanc. Make sure the edges of the tips are filled in. When using polish, keep in mind that some nails may look thicker or slightly wider. Finish the design with top coat.



Try this bright and fanciful technique also by Schultes. She painted dots throughout the nail with Nicole by OPI’s Favorite, Onhinehime, and American Ocean; Creative Nail Design’s Rebel with a Cause; and Hard Candy’s Navel. Apply a layer of UV top coat to seal in the design.


Anthony Licata III of Nail Boutique in Sterling Heights, Mich., used OPI’s Samoan Sand an Route Beer Float. First, he painted two coats of Samoan Sand. While the nail was still wet, he took the brush with Route Beer Float polish at an angle and painted the polish horizontally across the nail. Then, he took Samoan Sand at an angle and quickly applied the polish horizontally of the Route Beer Float layer. He suggests doing one nail at a time, and to clean the brush in between colors for each nail.


Contrasting colors and silver highlights are featured in this creation by Marrone. She used Essie Cosmetics’ Blanc, Licorice, and Divan’s Frosted Pewter on this design. She painted a black triangle in the upper left-hand corner of the nail, covering the cuticle area. Next, she painted a white triangle in the lower left-hand corner of the nail covering the free edge area. Then, she painted a silver triangle in between the black and white triangles. She sealed the design with a layer of top coat.


This free-flowing design by Debbie Ward of Artisan Salon in Livermore, Calif., was done with Creative Nail Design’s polishes. First, she thickly painted dots on the nail with Midnight Express, Sunglow, and Brunette. Then, she let the colors run together. To help the polish create a swirling effect, she suggests dragging a toothpick through the colors. She also suggests using black and white polish with the other polish colors. Apply a layer of UV top coat to seal in the design.


Traci Suggs Johnson of Great Lengths in Columbus, Ohio, decorated her French manicure with a simple floral design. She painted the nail’s background with Creative Nail Design’s Terra Rosa and did the French manicure with Orly’s Pink Nude and Ultra Enamel Nail Savvy’s White. Then, she used Forsythe Cosmetic Group Ltd. Nail Art Polish Line’s #NA85 (green) to draw three criss-crossing lines. She painted the flower b applying five pink dots in a circle in Ultra Enamel Nail Savvy’s #215 (pink). She finished the flower’s center with a dot of white polish. She completed the design with a coat of glitter polish.


Licata III blended OPI’s Pompeii Purple and Sahara Sapphire in this lovely creation. He painted two coats of Pompeii Purple over the entire nail. He put Sahara Sapphire at the top half (neat cuticle) by brushing the polish from side to side. Then, he polished Pompeii Purple again at the middle portion of the nail to blend the colors together. Make sure to clean the brush in between color applications and do one nail at a time since the polish must be wet when blending the two colors together.

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The deep fold of skin at the base of the nail where the nail root is embedded; also called the mantle.
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