How to Make Thin Lines on Your Nails Using Nail Polish

Thin lines in delicate colors lend your manicure a sweet sophistication.

Photo: Jupiterimages/Pixland/Getty Images

Creative nail designs look like a million bucks, but you can give yourself a salon-perfect manicure at home when you learn to paint thin lines with nail polish. This freehand technique requires a little practice, but, once you nail it, you can paint all sorts of designs -- pinstripes, racing stripes, even geometric patterns or curved lines. Once you've got the skill in hand, you can change your manicure any time you like without ever having to hit the salon.


Paint the base color. Pick a cream or matte nail polish color as the base. Metallic or shimmery colors will compete with your thin lines. Take the brush out of the nail polish bottle and swirl it around the interior of the bottle's opening to remove excess polish. Paint a brushstroke down the center of the nail, then another down each side of the nail. Be sure to paint out to the tip of the nail. Repeat on each finger. Wait 20 minutes for your polish to dry.


Position your arm to paint the thin lines. Pick a nail polish with a nail-art brush. Take the brush out of the bottle and make sure there is enough polish on the brush to make a stripe the width you want. Too little polish and the brush will skip, but too much and you'll blotch your lines. Raise your elbow at a 45-degree angle from your body at shoulder level. Angle the wrist in toward your body.


Paint the thin lines. Place the hand you'll paint first on a flat surface. Swing your elbow inward, keeping the forearm still and moving with the elbow, so that the brush is over your hand. Lower your hand, allowing the forearm to swing down from the elbow, so that you can paint your nail. Place the brush at a 45-degree angle on the nail and flick the wrist in the direction you want to paint your thin line. Repeat as desired. Wait 20 minutes for the polish to dry.


Seal with topcoat polish. Remove the brush from the bottle and wipe off any excess topcoat inside the interior of the bottle's opening. Brush an even layer over the entire nail bed from cuticle to tip and covering the sides of the nail. Repeat on each nail. Wait 20 minutes for it to dry.

Things You'll Need


1.Cream or matte nail polish

3.Topcoat polish

2.Nail polish with nail-art brush


Tips & Tricks


A fan may decrease drying time but only by a few minutes. Polish has to dry all the way through the layer to avoid unsightly chips or peeling.


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