Yup, Tie-Dye Nails Are Officially a Thing—Here's How to DIY 'Em

·6 mins read
Photo credit: @luxxinails, @nailcandyshop - Instagram
Photo credit: @luxxinails, @nailcandyshop - Instagram

From Cosmopolitan

I don't know about you, but I'm 100 percent that girl with five tie-dye shirts in her closet right now. Sure, I'm basically an IRL meme, but I can't really help the fact that tie-dye goes with, uh, everything I own, whether I'm wearing sweatpants and a face mask or my favorite jeans. And since even I can admit that my tie-dye wardrobe can only go on for so long, I'm openly excited about the latest manicure trend creeping up on my Instagram feed. Yup, bright, retro-inspired, tie-dye-freaking-nails are on the come up, and they're just as pretty as they sound.

So to give you a head start on the trend, I found the three easiest-to-follow tutorials for DIYing a tie-dye manicure at home—along with the prettiest tie-dye nail designs to help spark a few ideas. Don't blame me when your entire friend group starts wearing these looks (or, okay, fine—blame me).

1. How to tie-dye nails with a plastic bag

I get it: You're looking to try tie-dye nails but you aren't exactly an at-home nail artist. This tutorial from YouTuber Gabby Morris makes the trend look super easy, thanks to a genius little technique with a plastic sandwich bag.

What you'll need:

What you'll do:

  1. Start off with a simple layer of white nail polish—you'll want something nice and matte, since it'll be serving as a clean base for your tie dye.

  2. While your base is still wet, whip out one or two nail polish colors and paint random dots all over your nail. Don't worry about being perfect here—the messier, the better.

  3. Working quickly so your polish doesn't dry, place a plastic bag on top of your nail and, using your finger, gently tap and smoosh it until the colors blend. Once you remove the plastic, you'll have a cute tie-dye print.

  4. Gently peel off your nail polish protector and seal in your tie dye with a shiny top coat.

2. How to tie-dye nails with blooming gel

Heads up that this tutorial from Whyld Nails requires a professional gel lamp—so if you don't have one lying around, you might need to book an appointment with a pro. There's no harm in taking notes and sharing them with your nail artist though, right?

What you'll need:

What you'll do:

  1. Paint your nails with two coats of white gel polish, curing under your lamp in between each coat.

  2. Now comes the blooming gel (aka gel polish that helps your nails get that soft, watercolor-like texture—almost like the colors are bleeding into each other). Paint a thin layer and don't cure it.

  3. Using a nail brush, paint soft strokes of color on top of your blooming gel. You can go with any design or pattern you like.

  4. Cure your tie-dye nails and follow with a layer of gel top coat for a shiny finish.

3. How to tie-dye nails with water marbling

Trust me when I say water marbling looks way harder than it actually is—all you really need is nail polish, a cup of water, and a skinny brush and you'll be left with the legit prettiest tie-dye manicure. YouTuber Cutepolish breaks it all down for you in this easy-to-follow tutorial.

What you'll need:

What you'll do:

  1. After prepping your nails with a clear base coat, paint each nail with a neutral white polish.

  2. Paint a thin layer of liquid latex around your nails to keep the polish from transferring onto your skin—this'll come in handy when you start dipping your nails in the water during step four.

  3. Fill up a mug with room-temperature water and carefully release a small drop of each nail polish you'll be using. BTW: You want to drop the polish directly above the water—if you drop it from too high of an angle, the polish will sink to the bottom of the mug.

  4. Drag your dotting tool through the center of your design to create a cool, tie-dye-like pattern. You'll see that this YouTuber drags up and down and side to side to create her pattern, but this part is totally up to you.

  5. Working with one nail at a time, dip your finger into the mug and clean up the surrounding area with an orange stick. Carefully remove your finger at the same angle.

  6. Peel off your liquid latex and clean up any rogue lines with nail polish remover. Lock it all in with a clear, fast-drying top coat.

The best tie-dye nail ideas to try now

Ready to give tie-dye nails a try? Before you attempt any of these tutorials, peek through these 10 Instagrams for the ultimate inspiration:

1. These pastel tie-dye nails

2. These ultra-long tie-dye nails

3. These tie-dye and cow-print nails

4. These press-on tie-dye nails

5. These ombré tie-dye nails

6. These tie-dye swirl nails

7. These glitzy tie-dye nails

8. These glossy tie-dye nails

9. These pink tie-dye nails

10. These logo tie-dye nails

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