How to Do Diagonal Lines on Nails

Diagonal nail art isn't as hard as you think.
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If you're having trouble deciding between two different polish colors, try showing them off together with half-and-half diagonal nail art. Normally, it's a challenge to paint smooth, even diagonal lines on your nails. With a small piece of masking tape, though, you'll make perfect-looking diagonal lines every time. Your friends will be so impressed, they'll think you had a professional manicure.

Paint your nails with two coats of any base color. Of the two colors you are planning to use, this should be the lighter. Let the polish dry.

Cut a small strip of masking tape that's long enough to cover your entire nail. Press the tape against your hand a few times until it no longer feels sticky. This keeps the tape from sticking to your nail polish.

Press the tape against your nail at an angle. The tape should run from the bottom corner of the nail to the top corner. Press the tape down so there is no gap between it and your nail.

Paint the part of your nail that's not covered by tape with a different, darker/brighter polish color. Paint using upward strokes to prevent the polish from leaking under the tape.

Peel up the tape before the polish dries. If you let the polish dry and then peel off the tape, you're more likely to pull off the polish with it.

Press the tape down on another nail and paint it using the same technique. Repeat this process to paint diagonal lines on all of your nails.

Let the polish dry, then finish by applying a clear top coat.

  • This design works best with two contrasting colors. Try a dark color, like blue, with a light color, such as white or silver.
  • If you get nail polish on your fingers, clean it off with a cotton swab dipped in nail-polish remover.

Melissa King began writing in 2001. She spent three years writing for her local newspaper, "The Colt," writing editorials, news stories, product reviews and entertainment pieces. She is also the owner and operator of Howbert Freelance Writing. King holds an Associate of Arts in communications from Tarrant County College.