Nail Art Tutorials for Beginners – and Pros too!

Sweet flowers or abstract freeform – nail art that anyone can do!

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Nail art can be intimidating. (Really, art in general can be intimidating, but today we’re just tackling nails.) What is it about putting a brush in your hand that can instantly freeze you in your tracks?

Want to know a surefire way I learned to overcome it? Just start. Grab your supplies and JUST PAINT. All you have to lose is a bit of time, some polish, cotton balls and remover. The good news? You will get better, I promise. You may never be this good, but who knows – you might!

Here are two easy tutorials to get you started…

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A quick trip to Target gave me everything I need for some fun, spring manicures.

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Easy Flower Nail Art Tutorial

Supplies:
Polish of choice (personally, I think three is the magic number for nail art)
Toothpicks
Paperplates

Target Nails3 Nail Art Tutorials for Beginners   and Pros too! Fierce N Tangy, Sweet Clementine, Shocking Seas

I wanted bright, fun colors for my flowers. And they don’t get much more bright and fun than Maybelline Color Show Nail Color ($2.99). Whether you go with a traditional flower color theme (white, pink and red) or an electric theme like I chose here, the color range of this line is hard to beat. Not to mention that they’re inexpensive, long wearing and nicely pigmented!

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Step 1: Paint a base coat. Whether you paint all your nails the same or mix them up is up to you.

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Step 2: Dab a bit of your first flower shade onto a paper plate (just enough for one flower) and pick up a hearty amount of it with the end of your toothpick.

Tip: this is a lot easier to do with a dotting tool. And if you’re going to be the next Picasso of Nails, you really should get one.

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Step 3: Make 5 dots onto the surface of your nail.

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Step 4: Using a fresh toothpick, pull the inner edge of each circle towards the middle to create your petals (as shown on the orange nail above).

Step 5: Repeat steps 3 and 4 one at a time on each nail. Make sure to use a fresh dab of polish and toothpick for each step.

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Step 6: When all of your petals have been placed, use a toothpick to create your center in a contrasting shade.

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Step 7: apply a top coat and admire your new spring manicure!

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Freeform Nail Art Tutorial

Supplies:
Revlon Nail Art Expressionist Nail Enamel (which has two shades and two brush types in each)

Seriously – that’s all you need! The latest and cleverest from Revlon gives anyone all the tools they need to be a Monet.

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Which is, incidentally, the name of the shade I bought! Monet is a duo of Tiffany blue green with a standard brush and a sparkling chartreuse with a thin brush.

Night and Degas, a black and white cream, would also be a great one to buy. You can wipe the brush and use either shade as an additional accent.

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Step 1: The first step in freeform is that there are no steps to freeform!
Paint a base then doodle, dot, scribble to your heart’s content. The talent crew at Kleur can give you all the inspiration you need.

Don’t like what you came up with? Remove it and start again. There were a couple of nails here that I tried 3 or 4 times! Try and try again, and stop when you’re happy.

Readers, who are your favorite nail artists? Share them with us in the comments! And get to Target to start your next masterpiece.

Stef is many things. Amongst them: co-editor of we heart this, graphic designer, Philly girl in the California desert, borderline hoarder and a hardcore beauty junkie.

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It’s Time for Springtime. Disclosure: Compensation was provided by Target via Glam Media. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of Target. For more info, or any questions, please see our disclosure policy.

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Written by Stef Andrews

43 Comments

  1. Profile photo of lyssachelle
    lyssachelle

    Love it! I am NO good at nail art, but you make this look easy! And those Color Show polishes are VIBRANT. I’ve passed them by in the store the last few times I went, but I’ll have to take another look.

    I just saw a tip on Pinterest today that might help others looking to do nail art; a pin put on the end of a pencil in the eraser can make a really great dotting tool!

  2. Profile photo of gigi
    gigi

    @stef, this is utterly charming and delightful. What a great idea for spring! It reminds me of working with hot wax to decorate Easter eggs as my grandmother taught me. I used to be daunted by the task, but once I “dove in,” it became easier all the time!

    1. Profile photo of Tyna Werner
      Tyna Werner

      Those duo nail polishes look so great, I’ve been eyeing them too @lucylemonade! Love that you get two distinct colors that work together. And since I never reach the end of a polish bottle, the idea of getting two in one really appeals to my.

  3. Profile photo of Tyna Werner
    Tyna Werner

    Awesome mani @stef – I’m always impressed with your nail painting skills, but this one is the most impressive of all! And I can’t believe how simple you make it look to do those cute little flowers. Even I can make a few dots and swirl them together – I may have to remove the polish and retry a few times, but this is something I could actually do. Yay.
    Tyna recently posted..Life beyond Lipgloss – 3.24.13

  4. Profile photo of lipglossandspandex
    lipglossandspandex

    I especially LOVE your free form nail art! I’m not great at nail art. If I want artsy nails, I use my fake Konad set, or I get some Sally Hansen strips! :) Way back in high school, I used to do nail art with acrylic paint and a toothpick and made random dot designs on my nails, with some topcoat on top. Nowadays, there are so many tools to make it easier!

  5. candy

    can’t wait to try this hoping I can find something a little more for my wedding though looks like I will have to try and do my own nails since we spent all the money on the wedding and wedding stuff hope I can get it to look good

  6. Profile photo of amity
    amity

    I tested the Sweet Clementine, though not as artfully as Stef, I’m afraid. It did take me approximately three coats to get the finish I wanted, but the color is bright, sunny, and unique–a great pedicure shade.

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