How to: Art Deco Designs on Nails

Art deco uses clean lines.

Photo: Jupiterimages/ Images

Art deco is a decorative style of art that represents glamour, elegance and modern trends. You can get the 1920s-inspired look on your nails even if they’re short. For the best results, you may need a thin nail-polish brush and a nail polish-dotting tool. You can find both of these items at beauty-supply stores.

Chevron French Tips

A twist on the French tip manicure, you paint a V-shape, or chevron, onto the tips of your nails instead of a U-shape. After applying a clear base coat on your nails, use white nail polish and a thin brush to paint a line from the left side of the middle of your nail down to the center tip of your nail. Paint another line from the right side of your nail, in the middle, down to the center tip of your nail. Fill in your nail from the white line down to the tip. Let the white polish dry and paint your entire nail with a pretty, sheer, pink color, followed by a topcoat. To give your nails an extra art deco-style sparkle, stick a small gold nail sequin at the point of the V-shape.

Marbled Nails

Usually when you marble nail polish, you make it look swirly. For an art deco-look, you are going to create a symmetrical design. Paint your nails with a base coat and light color, and let the nail polish dry completely. Choose three different bold colors of nail polish and fill a plastic cup -- that you don’t mind possibly ruining -- with water. Let a drop of paint from one of the nail polishes fall into the water and slightly spread before adding a drop of paint from the second nail polish you chose to the center of the first drop of paint. Then, add a drop of paint to the center of the two previous colors in the water. Drag a toothpick through the water and paints once or twice to create a symmetrical pattern. Place one or two fingernails directly into the paint you dropped into the water. Take your fingernails out of the water and use nail-polish remover to clean the paint off your skin. Use a plastic fork to remove the extra paint that’s still in the water. Repeat this process for the rest of your nails.

Blocks of Color

Art deco was all about clean lines. Use a color-blocking technique on your nails to mimic the art of the time. Paint any shapes you want onto your fingernails using different, bold colors, like a series of squares or rectangles. After the polish dries, outline each shape using a thin brush and black or silver nail polish.

Symmetrical Dots

If you are new to nail art, use nail-dotting tools with different-sized tips to help you create a trendy art deco look. Paint your nails the same color. After your polish dries, dip the tip of a dotting tool into a contrasting nail-polish color to create the first dot, which is also the largest dot. Place the dot at one of the bottom corners of your fingernail. Make four more dots that get smaller in size in a diagonal line. Then, paint the same four dots on either side of the first line of dots you created.

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