A Beginner's Guide To Nail Art: 5 Looks That Anyone Can Do


February 12, 2015

Nail art is like a hippogriff: it seems elegant and magical at first sight, but if you don’t go about it the right way, you’ll end up being carried off to the hospital wing by Hagrid shouting about how your father will hear about this. Whoa, sorry, I got a little carried away there, but I think you get the picture : nail art is pretty, but it can be tough.

There are ways to get around all of that perceived difficulty though. With just a few simple tools that you probably already have hiding away somewhere, you can create nail art that looks way more difficult than it actually is. Here’s what you need: Scotch tape, a bobby pin (or, if you really want to feel like a pro, a dotting tool), a clear base coat, your base nail color (I’m using Essie‘s Topless & Barefoot), the accent nail colors of your choice (I’ve chosen Russian Navy and Chick Flick Cherry, both by OPI) and a clear top coat.

1. The Dot

This has been one of my go-to nail art looks since I got into the whole trend. It’s simple: take your bobby pin or dotting tool dip it into your accent color, and carefully place a dot at the base of your nail (or anywhere else you want it!). It’s clean, simple and adds a little bit of fun to a basic manicure.

4

2. The Colorblock

Take a piece of Scotch tape and stick it to the back of your hand a few times. This removes the extra glue from the tape so as to not ruin your manicure (it’s also basically the same amount of fun as pulling glue off of your hands, so that’s nice). All you have do here is place the tape wherever you want, paint a layer of your accent color over it and then remove the tape.

3

3.  The Triangle

It’s the same concept as the colorblock nail, but you use two pieces of tape to make a triangle at the base of your nail instead of one.

2

4. The Heart

This one doesn’t require any special tools at all. Take your accent color and, starting at the outer edge of your nail, just paint a quarter-circle up to the tip. Do the same on the other side of your nail, and you have the cutest little heart tips you ever did see.

1 (1)

5. The Pyramid

Or, as my friend calls it, the Beer Pong Table. Taking the same bobby pin or dotting tool as before, make five dots at the base of your nail. Then four, three, two, one, until you have a pyramid! Super easy, and it looks really cool when it’s done.

5

Shop the colors I used here:

topless_barefoot

Essie Nail Polish in Topless & Barefoot ($8.50)

russian navy

OPI Classic Nail Lacquer in Russian Navy ($9.50)

chick flick cherry

OPI Classic Nail Lacquer in Chick Flick Cherry ($9.50)

For more nail art, check out: runway-ready half-moon manicures, DIY water marbling and light-up nail decals.

[Photo: Shelby Rodriguez]

 

Shop essie nail polish

More essie nail polish | 3 of 442 »

Nail Polish by

Essie

Buy Now

Nail Lacquer - Angora Cardi by

Essie

Buy Now

Nail Color, Ballet Slippers by

Essie

Buy Now




  • These Black Friday & Cyber Monday Deals On Urban Decay Makeup Are Too Good To Pass Up

    These Black Friday & Cyber Monday Deals On Urban Decay Makeup Are Too Good To Pass Up

    Beauty

    today

  • Drop Everything: Sephora's Black Friday Deals Just Leaked & They're Amazing

    Drop Everything: Sephora's Black Friday Deals Just Leaked & They're Amazing

    Beauty

    today

  • Drop Everything And Get Yourself A Pair Of These Amazing Millennial Pink Booties On Sale At Nordstrom Right Now

    Drop Everything And Get Yourself A Pair Of These Amazing Millennial Pink Booties On Sale At Nordstrom Right Now

    Style

    today

  • These Are The Best Early Black Friday Sales You Can Shop Now

    These Are The Best Early Black Friday Sales You Can Shop Now

    Shop

    today

  • This Is The One Dress You Have To Buy Before Nordstrom's Fall Sale Ends

    This Is The One Dress You Have To Buy Before Nordstrom's Fall Sale Ends

    Shop

    today

  • The $6 Eye Cream With Incredible Reviews & Reputations

    The $6 Eye Cream With Incredible Reviews & Reputations

    Beauty

    today

  • Nordstrom Just Re-Stocked This Crazy Popular Scalloped Sweater--Order One ASAP Before It Sells Out (Again)

    Nordstrom Just Re-Stocked This Crazy Popular Scalloped Sweater--Order One ASAP Before It Sells Out (Again)

    Style

    today

  • This $39 Peacoat Is Selling Fast--Order Yours Before They're All Gone!

    This $39 Peacoat Is Selling Fast--Order Yours Before They're All Gone!

    Style

    today

  • Treat Yourself To A GUERLAIN Terracotta Bronzing Powder For Just $25.99 (Down From $53!)

    Treat Yourself To A GUERLAIN Terracotta Bronzing Powder For Just $25.99 (Down From $53!)

    Beauty

    today

  • When Is Giving Tuesday? 34 Great Gifts That Give Back From TOMS, Kiehl's, MAC & More

    When Is Giving Tuesday? 33 Great Gifts That Give Back

    Beauty

    1 day

  • Drop Everything: These Are the Best Under-$15 Beauty Buys At Ulta Right Now

    Drop Everything: These Are the Best Under-$15 Beauty Buys At Ulta Right Now

    Beauty

    1 day

  • Stock Up On These Bestselling Black Leggings Under $20 Before They Sell Out

    Stock Up On These Bestselling Black Leggings Under $20 Before They Sell Out

    Style

    1 day

  • We Found The <em>Perfect</em> Black Leather Booties Under $60--At Nordstrom!

    We Found The Perfect Black Leather Booties Under $60--At Nordstrom!

    Style

    1 day

  • Drop Everything: Lord & Taylor's Amazing Black Friday Deals Start Right Now!

    Drop Everything: Lord & Taylor's Amazing Black Friday Deals Start Right Now!

    Style

    1 day

  • If You Hate Being Cold, You Need This Flattering Fleece Top From Nordstrom In Your Life (Bonus: It's On Sale!)

    If You Hate Being Cold, You Need This Flattering Fleece Top From Nordstrom In Your Life (Bonus: It's On Sale!)

    Style

    1 day

  • The One App You Should Install On Your iPhone RIGHT NOW To Save Money

    The One App You Should Install On Your iPhone RIGHT NOW To Save Money

    1 day

  • What To Do, See And Eat In Southampton, New York During The Fall

    What To Do, See And Eat In Southampton, New York During The Fall

    Style

    1 day

  • 12 Gifts For The Wine Lover In Your Life: Santa's Flask, Wine Bottle Glass, More

    12 Gifts For The Wine Lover In Your Life: Santa's Flask, Wine Bottle Glass, More

    Shop

    1 day

  • 6 Foods That Affect Your Mood (For Better Or For Worse) #WellnessWednesday

    6 Foods That Affect Your Mood (For Better Or For Worse) #WellnessWednesday

    1 day

  • The Balmain x Victoria's Secret Line Is Almost Here & It's Everything!

    The Balmain x Victoria's Secret Line Is Almost Here & It's Everything!

    Style

    2 days

  • Champion x Urban Outfitters Is Here & It's Everything!

    Champion x Urban Outfitters Is Here & It's Everything!

    2 days

  • 3 Things You HAVE To Buy At The Forever 21 Pre-Black Friday Sale

    3 Things You HAVE To Buy At The Forever 21 Pre-Black Friday Sale

    2 days

  • The Best 2017 Nordstrom Black Friday Deals You Need To Know About

    The Best 2017 Nordstrom Black Friday Deals You Need To Know About

    Style

    2 days

  • Hunter Boots Is Having A 25-50% Off Sale And You Don't Want To Miss It!

    Hunter Boots Is Having A 25-50% Off Sale And You Don't Want To Miss It!

    2 days

  • What Are Nordstrom Rack's Black Friday Deals? Here's Everything You Need To Know About Their Sale This Year!

    What Are Nordstrom Rack's Black Friday Deals? Here's Everything You Need To Know About Their Sale This Year!

    Shop

    2 days

  • The Best Amazon Black Friday 2017 Deals You Don't Want To Miss

    The Best Amazon Black Friday 2017 Deals You Don't Want To Miss

    Shop

    2 days

  • 35 Gifts For The Girl Who Already Has Everything

    35 Gifts For The Girl Who Already Has Everything

    Beauty

    2 days

  • The $4 Concealer With Incredible Reviews & Reputations

    The $4 Concealer With Incredible Reviews & Reputations

    Beauty

    2 days

  • 5 Chanel Nail Polish Dupes That Give You Sexy 'Vamp' Nails Without Breaking The Bank

    5 Chanel Nail Polish Dupes That Give You Sexy 'Vamp' Nails Without Breaking The Bank

    Beauty

    2 days

  • These Are The Hottest Holiday Dress Trends Of The Season... And The Bras You Need To Pull Them Off

    These Are The Hottest Holiday Dress Trends Of The Season... And The Bras You Need To Pull Them Off

    Style

    2 days

  • You're Not Ready For Holiday Party Season If You Don't Own These Bras

    You're Not Ready For Holiday Party Season If You Don't Own These Bras

    Style

    2 days

  • 4 MAC Prep + Prime Setting Spray Dupes You Need to Try

    4 MAC Prep + Prime Setting Spray Dupes You Need to Try

    Beauty

    today

  • What is Jennifer Lopez Wearing?! She's Practically Naked!

    What is Jennifer Lopez Wearing?! She's Practically Naked!

    Celebrity

    today

  • 4 Beauty Products Jennifer Aniston Swears By To Look 10 Years Younger

    4 Beauty Products Jennifer Aniston Swears By To Look 10 Years Younger

    Beauty

    today

  • WHAT?! Gigi Hadid Won't Be Walking In The Victoria's Secret Fashion Show This Year

    WHAT?! Gigi Hadid Won't Be Walking In The Victoria's Secret Fashion Show This Year

    Celebrity

    today

  • Um, Did Kim Kardashian Not Realize She Forgot To Wear Pants On The Red Carpet?

    Um, Did Kim Kardashian Not Realize She Forgot To Wear Pants On The Red Carpet?

    Celebrity

    today

  • This Is The Best Haircut For Thinning Hair, According To A Celebrity Hair Stylist

    This Is The Best Haircut For Thinning Hair, According To A Celebrity Hair Stylist

    Beauty

    today

  • The One Drugstore Product You Should Never Use Before Working Out, According To A Celebrity Skincare Expert

    The One Drugstore Product You Should Never Use Before Working Out, According To A Celebrity Skincare Expert

    Beauty

    today

  • Um, Did Khloe Kardashian Not Realize She Forgot To Wear Pants On The Red Carpet?

    Um, Did Khloe Kardashian Not Realize She Forgot To Wear Pants On The Red Carpet?

    Celebrity

    1 day

  • 5 Friendsgiving Games That Will Keep Guests Laughing All Night Long

    5 Friendsgiving Games That Will Keep Guests Laughing All Night Long

    1 day

  • 3 NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer Dupes That Are Just As Great As The Original

    3 NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer Dupes That Are Just As Great As The Original

    Beauty

    1 day

  • 5 Cheap Natural Products For Under-Eye Circles Dermatologists Swear By

    5 Cheap Natural Products For Under-Eye Circles Dermatologists Swear By

    Beauty

    1 day

  • 4 Smashbox Color Correcting Adjust Photo Finish Primer Dupes

    4 Smashbox Color Correcting Adjust Photo Finish Primer Dupes

    Beauty

    2 days

  • Drew Barrymore Says That Her

    Drew Barrymore Says That Her "Cruel" Instagram Trolls Inspired Her New Haircut

    Celebrity

    2 days

  • Gigi Hadid Just Announced Something Major & We're Freaking Out!

    Gigi Hadid Just Announced Something Major & We're Freaking Out!

    Celebrity

    2 days

  • These Holiday Party Outfit Ideas All Have One Thing In Common... Lingerie!

    These Holiday Party Outfit Ideas All Have One Thing In Common... Lingerie!

    Style

    2 days

  • Once And For All, These Are The Best Bras For Different Cup Sizes

    Once And For All, These Are The Best Bras For Different Cup Sizes

    Style

    2 days

  • The Worst Carbs To Eat If You Have Cellulite, According To A Nutritionist

    The Worst Carbs To Eat If You Have Cellulite, According To A Nutritionist

    Beauty

    2 days

  • These Are The Best Collaborations You <em>Need</em> To Know About Now

    Zendaya Just Dropped A Gorgeous New Collab With Aqua

    Shop

    3 days

  • Once And For All, Here's How To Remove A Pen Ink Stain #SHEfindsSolutions

    Once And For All, Here's How To Remove A Pen Ink Stain #SHEfindsSolutions

    Beauty

    3 days

  • 11 Things You Don't Need, But Won't Be Able To Resist From Target This Holiday Season

    11 Things You Don't Need, But Won't Be Able To Resist From Target This Holiday Season

    Style

    3 days

  • These Bejeweled Vans Are So Glam That You're Going To Want Them ASAP

    These Bejeweled Vans Are So Glam That You're Going To Want Them ASAP

    Style

    3 days

  • Drop Everything: Too Faced's Better Than Sex Mascara Is On Sale Right Now At Sephora

    Drop Everything: Too Faced's Better Than Sex Mascara Is On Sale Right Now At Sephora

    Shop

    3 days