Creating Nail Art with Dots

Hurrah, it’s time for another nail art post! Several months ago I posted about an easy polka dot pedicure which I achieved using a bobby pin. And no, I’ll not link to it because looking back I cringe at the poor quality of the paint job. Now that I have some more practice and a handy set of dotting tools, my artistry knows no bounds.  I kid. Seriously though, there are better ways to polka dot than using a hair tool.

I use MASH 5 x 2 Marbelizing Dotting Tool Set.  You can order it super cheap from Amazon, right now for $3.98.  It’s a set of five tools, and each tool is double-sided, so in theory you have a total of ten different size dots.  You can see this in the close up at right:

But, several of the balls that make the dots are the same size, so you really have more like six or seven sizes. Some of the reviewers at Amazon are all up in arms about it, but my feeling is that you’re paying less than $5 and who really needs ten different sizes of dots? I’ve banged these suckers around quite a bit and they’re pretty sturdy.  They make great dots and they’re easy to clean.  I definitely recommend them.  On to three manicures that I created using these dotting tools…


Standard Polka Dot Manicure

In this manicure I used the largest dotting tool to create great big dots. My base color is Rimmel Purple Rain, and the dotting color is–ridiculously–Sephora by OPI Iris I Was Thinner. Cannot even start to tell you how much I hate that name, but there it is. Anyway, this was a super easy look to pull off. One coat of clear, two coats of Rimmel, and then I poured a small amount of OPI polish onto a piece of foil and started dotting. The trick here is spacing. I placed the dots going vertically down my nail. Then next to that column of dots, I placed a second column, but I spaced the dots so that they were in line with the spaces between the dots of the first column. This gives it a really nice “random” look that is actually quite orderly. You could also line them up so that the dots are right next to each other but I prefer more chaos. I got compliments on this look almost every day–it was a lot of fun to wear.  A final tip: wait until the dots are completely dry, then top with a fast-drying clear coat (I like Sally Hansen).  If you apply the clear before the dots are dry, they’ll streak.


“Gradient” Manicure

The idea behind this gradient is that the polka dots are dense in the first half of the nail, and then disperse into nothing in the bottom half of the nail.  I got the idea from blogger Nailed It, who did an inverted version of this manicure. The base color here is essie Lapiz of Luxury which is a beautiful periwinkle shade. I never learn my lesson with essie polishes though–they are so streaky and thin, and they take forever to dry. Unfortunately, the essie colors call to me like sirens so I often buy them and then hate working with them.

The polka dot color is L’Oreal Satin Sheets, a bright white shimmer. The spacing was challenging on this one, because it was hard to know when to stop dotting without being too abrupt, and how to space the gradient effect. I think with more practice it will come easier.  Another tip: when dipping the dotting tool into the polish, make sure it covers about 3/4 of the ball–it will make a more rounded, uniform dot.  Also, when applying to your nail, aim the tool straight down so that it’s perpendicular to your nail–this will lessen the possibility for stray threads of nail polish that stick to the nail.


Flower Manicure

This manicure is fun if you want a little something special, but the full-out polka dot is too much for ya.  I started off with A-England Bridal Veil for the base.  A-England is a “boutique” brand of nail polish (at some point I’ll write up a review of the brand) from the U.K.  Hard to find, but I’ve bought from both Ninja Polish and directly from the A-England website.  Then I used Rimmel Cherry Fashion (similar), Rimmel Steel Gray, Sally Hansen Mellow Yellow, and essie Moon Struck for the flower petals and centers. Making the flowers was pretty simple.  I started with the petals, just making dots in a circle.  I tried to aim for five petals per flower but some of them were too small and I could only fit in four.  I waited a couple minutes for the surface of the petals to dry, then made a dot of a different color right in the center of the petals.  Easy as pie!

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