How to Do Zigzag Nails
If you want to have a little fun with your nails, the Zigzag -- also called the Chevron -- can create a modern, pop-art statement. You can achieve the Zigzag with just a little nail-art polish and a relatively steady hand, or you can ensure your edges are clean by creating a template using clear tape and pinking shears, which are scissors that cut a zigzag edge instead of a straight edge. Work this design with a simple outfit so your nails take center stage.
- Non-acetone nail polish remover
- Cotton ball
- Base nail-polish color
- Nail-art pen or polish with nail-art brush
- Second polish color (for tape template)
- Clear tape
- Zigzag craft or pinking scissors
- Pointed cotton swab
- Clear topcoat polish
1 Freehand Zigs
2 Remove all traces of old polish
Remove all traces of old polish by rubbing each nail thoroughly with a cotton ball dipped in non-acetone nail polish remover.
3 Dip your nail brush
Dip your nail brush into your base-color polish, and place the tip of the brush at the center of the base of the nail, at the cuticle. Drag the polish brush along the center of the nail from base to tip. Paint another stroke to the left and right of your center stroke, moving from cuticle to tip, so that your nail is covered with a thin layer of polish. Repeat with all of your nails, and wait until the polish has dried completely.
4 Dip a very thin nail brush very
Dip a very thin nail brush in a polish color that contrasts with your base-color polish, and paint four tiny dots vertically down the center of your nail, spaced evenly with about 1/4 inch between the dots. The dot closest to the top should hit the nail edge. You can add more dots if you have longer nails. Alternatively, you can use a nail pen in the desired color.
5 Add four more dots vertically
Add four more dots vertically on either side of your center dots. Place these dots so that they are exactly between your center dots and the edge of your nail bed.
6 Play connect the dots
Play connect the dots by drawing short diagonal lines between the top center dot and the dots horizontally below the dot on either side. Continue with the remaining dots. You'll end up with three upside-down, V-shaped lines on your nail.
7 Draw a short
Draw a short upward-moving diagonal line from each side dot to the side edge of your nail bed. This line should be opposite in direction to the line next to it to create the zigzag effect. Allow each nail to dry completely before moving to the next nail to prevent smudging.
8 Repeat the zigzag pattern on as many nails
Repeat the zigzag pattern on as many nails as you choose. Allow all of the nails to dry completely.
9 Rubbing the area with a pointed cotton swab
Clean up any polish residue on the skin around the nail by lightly rubbing the area with a pointed cotton swab dipped in non-acetone polish remover.
10 Open your bottle
Open your bottle of clear topcoat polish. Paint a stroke of the polish down the center of the nail, moving from the base of the nail to tip. Repeat to the left and right of the center stroke, moving from the base to the tip, to create an even topcoat. Seal the edge of the nail and prevent chips by running the brush horizontally across the nail tip. Repeat with all nails, then allow to dry.
11 Tape Template Zags
12 Cut off several strips
Cut off several strips of clear tape that are a little longer than the width of your fingers. How many you'll need will depend on the number of zigzags you want.
13 Cut one
Cut one of the longer sides of the tape with the zigzag craft scissors. Repeat 1/8th inch lower on the tape to create a thin zigzag strip. Cut enough pieces of tape in this way until you have all of the strips you need for your manicure -- for example, if you want three zigzags on each nail, you'll need 30 zigzag strips.
14 Open your bottle of base-color polish
Open your bottle of base-color polish. Paint a stroke of the polish down the center of the nail, moving from cuticle to tip. Repeat to the left and right of the center stroke to create an even coat of base polish. Repeat with all nails and allow them to dry completely.
15 Apply your zigzag tape horizontally across the nail
Carefully apply your zigzag tape horizontally across the nail, allowing the edges of the tape to hang off the sides of the nail. Each piece of tape applied will create one zigzag, so apply one strip for each zigzag you want on your nail. Smooth the tape down with your finger to make sure the tape is flat against the entire nail, and there are no bubble or gaps. Repeat with all nails.
16 Paint one of your nails
Paint one of your nails completely with your second polish color. While your nail is still slightly wet, carefully peel off the tape. If you remove the tape when the polish is completely dry, the top color may chip off. The bottom color will show through in a zigzag pattern. Once all the tape is removed, let your nail dry completely before painting the next nail. Repeat until all of the nails have been painted and are completely dry.
17 Paint one stroke of clear topcoat
Paint one stroke of clear topcoat down the center of your nail from the base to the tip. Apply another stroke to the left and right side of the center stroke so the nail is covered with a thin layer of topcoat. Seal the tip of the nail to prevent chips by running the brush horizontally across the top edge of the nail. Repeat with each nail and allow to dry.
- If you find it difficult to apply the tape to your nails with your fingers, grasp the edge of the tape strip with a pair of tweezers and use them to lay the tape across your nail. You could also ask a friend to apply the tape.
- Warm each polish before use by rolling the bottle gently between your palms. This will prevent bubbles and allow the polish to apply smoothly.