Step-by-Step Instructions on How to Paint Flower Designs on Your Nails

Skip the salon and use your favorite polishes to create nail art.
... Creatas/Creatas/Getty Images

A wash of pastels or jewel tones across your tips may suit you most days, but a statement nail is truly a game changer. Looking down to spot custom nail art will really brighten your mood, whether you're flipping through a history textbook or heading out to dinner. While your friends may end up sporting the same minty hue, you'll be donning a color combination that's all your own. Bring your nails to life by adding your own flower designs to the mix.

Dip a cotton pad in non-acetone nail polish remover, and sweep it over your nails. This will remove any polish that is already in place, as well as oils that will prevent the polish from adhering properly to your nails.

Buff a nail file across the tips of your nails, using a back and forth motion to create a clean shape. Gently push your cuticles back towards your nail beds using the end of the nail file, for a large canvas.

Apply a sticky base coat, starting at the nail bed and swiping the brush all the way to the tip of your nail. Repeat on all nails, and allow it to dry completely. This will prime your nails and give the polish longevity.

Open your base color of choice, and wipe the brush on the edge of the bottle as you remove it, to get rid of excess polish that could clump. Apply one layer of polish to each nail, moving the brush slowly from cuticle to tip for even coverage. Redip the brush only when the polish loses opacity. Opt for a pastel shade to contrast the floral design.

Pour a dime-size amount of a separate polish onto a plate. Choose a darker tone than the base color.

Dip the tail end of a small paintbrush into the color. Eyeliner and detailer brushes work well, as the opposite end is tiny.

Tap the end of the brush onto a nail, creating five small dots that meet and form a circle. Depending on how long your nails are, you can draw more than one per nail. Repeat until all nails have five dots, and allow your nails to dry completely. Wipe off the end of your brush with a damp paper towel.

Pour a dime-size amount of a separate, brighter color onto the plate and dip the end of the brush into this polish. Place one dot of this color directly in the center of each circle. Clean off the end of the brush again using a paper towel.

Pour a dime-size amount of green nail polish onto the plate, and dip the end of the brush into it. Apply two dots to each flower, between the original dots, one on the left and one on the right. These will serve as the leaves.

Allow your nails to dry completely, and apply one layer of top coat to each nail, from cuticle to tip. This will seal in the design for longer wear.

Celeigh O'Neil has been writing professionally since 2008. She has a Bachelor of fine arts from the University of Ottawa, as well as degrees in fashion illustration/design, digital arts and certification in hair and makeup artistry. O'Neil was a frequent contributor to Toronto's "Dialog" newspaper and has worked as an instructional writer, creating lessons in fashion, art and English for students of all ages.