Nail Art Tutorials for Beginners – and Pros too!

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

A hand with nail art 

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…

Materials for nail art

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

easy flowers design text

Easy Flower Nail Art Tutorial

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

Fierce N Tangy, Sweet Clementine, Shocking Seas nail lacquerFierce 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!

A hand with multicolor nails holding an orange nail lacquer

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

A collage of dabbing first flower shade onto a paper plate and picking the shade with the end of the toothpick

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.

An orange nail polish with 5 dots onto the surface of the nail

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

A nail yellow polish with 5 dots onto the surface of one nail while other orange nail polish has a petal art

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.

A blue nail polish with yellow petals nail art

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

Nail Art Tutorials

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

A hand with nail art holding revlon nail art

Freeform Nail Art Tutorial

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.

A collage of Revlon Nail Art Expressionist Nail Enamel with two different shades

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.

A hand with nail art holding revlon nail art

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.

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

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.


  • Stef Andrews

    Stef is a plethora of things. Amongst them: co-founder of we heart this, photographer, condiment connoisseur, Philly girl in the California desert, borderline hoarder and a hardcore beauty junkie. She also has a touch of wanderlust and, arguably, the cutest dog in the whole world... skin tone: NC 25/30 skin type: oily with a fear of rosacea favorite beauty product: high end skincare and lip products

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  1. 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!

    1. Love that tip @lyssachelle – a longer ‘tool’ when creating nail art could make things easier for my clumsy hands!

  2. Super-cute! Love those fabulous colors! I think I’ll try my hand at some nail art, since you made it look so easy!

  3. Cute!! I agree with everyone else, this tutorial makes this look super easy. I always see cute nail ideas on Pinterest and have been wanting to experiment more. Great post!

  4. @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!

  5. @stef love the flowers, and they look like something I could actually do! Can’t wait to try it.

  6. I love the little flowers, especially with the bright blue and yellow! I’ve been eyeing the duo nail pens and wondering how good they are. I will have to pick one up!

    1. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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!

  9. Love this tutorial! My favorite are the flowers–can’t wait to give those a try!

  10. I love all the colors you picked for this nail art, @Stef! I want a dotting tool to make polka dots but toothpicks are perfect too!

  11. I am not at all artistic, but your really make doing the flowers easy enough even for me.

  12. Angie Adelman says:

    My daughter would love this…it would be nice

    1. Thanks, and easy to do too!

  13. Nice looks, and how too’s!

  14. Loving this post!!! Not great at nails but my new roommate loves this!!

    1. Have your roommate do your nails then Morgan! :)
      Thanks for the comment.

  15. So going to get some of these and try this out! You made it look so easy! Hopefully, mine come out just as cute as yours :)

    1. Thanks Tammy! Mail us pics if you’re happy with how they turn out!

  16. Nancy Bredberg says:

    I think it will be much more difficult than it looks–not worth the effort. Sorry.

    1. No need to be sorry – not everything is right for everybody! Thanks for stopping by.

  17. This is so neat! Who knew that i could do it myself!

    1. These Revlon nail art products make it REALLY easy – send us your results if you like them! We’d love to see.

  18. Makes me want to try them. They look so delicious!!

    1. They kind of do don’t they, like candy!

  19. 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

    1. Ooo, we’d love to see your wedding nails when you do them Candy!

  20. Nail Art is fun. Lots of lovely choices.

  21. Mary Radcliffe says:

    Great looking nails and seems easy give it a try

  22. sherry warlick says:

    super cute idea!

  23. Love it! This makes it looks so easy! Thank you,

  24. Thank you for the tutorials. My daughters will Love the flowers for their Lual themed dance at school

  25. Tammy Miller says:

    These nails are too cute!

  26. 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.

    1. 3 .4 stars–if the consistency offered a bit more coverage, four!

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