7 Nail Art Hacks

I have been at this nail art thing for awhile now. Two years of blogging and trial and error. Moments of sheer frustration and pride at the outcome of my nail art endeavors have helped me hone my skills - and I still learn something new all the time.  I have learned quite a few handy little tips and tricks that I am passing on to you!

Some of these you may be familiar with and some maybe not. My goal with this list was to pick hacks that are in fact hacks (therefore easy) and that will make your nail art experience easier!

1. The Perfect French Manicure.  Use binder tabs as guides. After painting your nails you base color -and allowing to fully dry (this is very important otherwise you will mess up all of your hard work and have to start over). Apply the binder tab just under the natural free edge of your nail. This will act as your guide to create a perfectly curved french tip. Binder tabs also work well for half moon manicures!

2. DIY Dots. There are so many ways to create polka dot manicures with using an actual dotting tool. I'm counting this as one hack but it's more like three. The following items can be used to create dots: 

Bobby Pins. Simply pull the pin apart until it is straight and voila - you have a dual-tipped dotting tool! 

Straight Pins. Simply stick a straight pin into an eraser and use the round tip to create your dots. Extra hack tip: Use various sized straight pins to create different sized dots.

3. Instant Striper. Don't have a striper? Just grab a sharpie! I have actually done this in a pinch and it works really well. Make sure that you apply a nice layer of top coat after doing this since the sharpie lines can fade as they dry if you don't. Extra hack tip: Use different colored sharpies to create a fun tribal print!

4. The Stamping Oops. It has happened to all of us. You are stamping away and the image applies crooked or smeared. Do you have to start all over? Nope! After applying your base color that you will stamp on apply a thick layer of quick dry top coat. Allow to dry. If you have a slight oops while stamping simply take a cotton round and dip in non-acetone nail polish remover. Gently wipe the image off the nail and start over. Now this does take a bit of practice and a steady hand. But once you've gotten the hang of it it will save you tons of time!

5. The Easy Gradient. Don't have a sponge to create your gradient? No problem! Start by applying your base color. Let fully dry. Then apply a drop of your base color at the base of your nail. Apply another drop of your accent color at the top of your nail. Using the bottle brush of either color (make sure you remove any excess color from the brush with a paper towel) gently drag the brush across your nail. This will blend the colors together creating a gradient effect. I've used this technique when I didn't have sponges or was simply short on time. 

6. The Petroleum Jelly Clean-up. I hate taping my nails when doing a water marble. Hate it. I usually wind up messing up my right hand while attempting to remove the tape or vice versa and I always wind up with globs of polish underneath my nails. One night on a lark I applied a thick layer of petroleum jelly around my cuticles and underneath the free edge of my nails before water marbling. Holy easy clean-up Batman! 

Simply apply the petroleum jelly with a cotton swab before water marbling. It creates a protective barrier between your skin and the polish. All you have to do is simply wipe the polish off the skin with another cotton swab when you're done. This also works for stamping!

7. Easy To Paint with Polish. Using polish to paint freehand designs can be hard. It's thicker than acrylic paint and hard to create smooth lines. But I really enjoy using polish since the color palette tends to be broader and I love the artistry of it. So I add a little nail polish thinner to my polish when I paint. 

Take a piece of wax paper or foil (you will use this as your "paint palette" and add drops of the color you will be using to paint with. Add one-two drop of thinner to the color and mix. For a water color effect add a few more drops to thin out the pigment of the polish. 

Do you have any cool nail art hacks that you'd like to share? If so post them in the comments section! I am planning on doing another hack post sometime in the future and your suggestions may be added!