3 Household Tools to Make Easy Nail-Art Designs at Home — Editor Review

If you want to get even more customizable, Miss Pop advises picking up some blue painter’s tape from a hardware store. “It doesn’t leave a sticky residue and you can cut it into shapes,” she says. “Apply it directly to the nail, then add your base and color coats around it. Lift the tape when the polish isn’t completely dry but also isn’t wet to the touch.”

To create tips with an ombré effect, Edwards likes to “cut up a kitchen sponge into small, thumb-sized squares.” All you’ve got to do is paint a nude base shade onto to the bottom two-thirds of the sponge, and your choice of color to the top. Dab the sponge onto your nail repeatedly until the colors start to blend together. Then, just seal it off with a topcoat and clean off the edges with acetone.


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Here’s where things get kind of messy but very, very fun. A toothpick and any combination of nail polishes provide endless ways to make a marbled design like the one I created above with OPI’s Big Apple Red and Black Onyx. My absurdly gothic look required just three steps: paint a thick coat of red on one side of the nail, paint a thick coat of black on the other, and drag the tip of the toothpick back and forth through the polish until it all warped together.

Again, there’s no cut-and-dry rule for using this tool. You can place the pick in the middle of the nail polish and circle it outward for a hypnotic swirl, or drag polish vertically instead of horizontally as I did. Using two shades makes the process and little faster, but there’s really no limit to the number of colors you can combine with this method. Edwards says she likes to use a pointed kitchen knife to drag wet polishes into fun patterns in the same way.

If you use one of those dense, synthetic brushes to clean the edges of your nails with acetone, Miss Pop says you can use it in a similar way to achieve a watercolor pattern. Just dip that brush in acetone like you normally would, and wiggle it through the layers of polish you’ve already painted on.

According to Edwards, you can also create a similar look using a plastic bag. “Swirl different colors together on a plastic bag and allow [them] to dry thoroughly,” she says. This will create a nail decal of sorts, which you can peel off the bag and seal onto the nail with a topcoat.

I’ll admit, all of these makeshift nail-art tools do require a little bit of practice and a little bit more time to master. But they’re still plenty accessible and easy to use, even for someone with no free time, a tight budget, and clumsy hands such as me. Try them just once because I’m willing to bet you’ll start using them by habit once you get the hang of them.

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