How to Paint Your Nails

How to Paint Your Nails

from wikiHow - The How to Manual That You Can Edit

Plain nails can look dull, especially if all your friends have bright, colorful nails.
Painting the nails can be difficult, but here is how to have an amazing result...


  1. Choose a nail polish in the color of your choice.
  2. Gather some cotton balls, nail polish remover, towel, newspaper, and clear nail polish.
  3. Paint your nails in a well-ventilated room. The fumes can be extremely dangerous to your health.
  4. Roll the bottle between your hands to warm the nail polish for about 25-30 seconds, Open it, and scrape some of the excess nail polish off.
  5. Apply one coat of clear nail polish (base and top coat works best) after the color coats. Let it dry.
  6. Paint one stripe in the middle. Then, paint a stripe on the left, continuing to the right.
  7. Apply your first coat of color to your nails, using only three strokes per finger and painting in an upward motion. Don't worry if it looks too thin. It's supposed to. Let it dry
  8. Paint one stripe in the middle. Then, paint a stripe on the left, continuing to the right.
  9. Apply your second coat of color to your nails. Let it dry.
  10. Apply a last coat of clear nail polish to keep the color lasting for at least 1 more week! also you can get a top and base coat for before you start to paint your nails and after your second coat!


  • Roll the bottle between your hands, don't shake it. This keeps bubbles out of the polish and keep your nails smooth.
  • To fix those annoying lines of color next to your cuticles, take a Q-Tip and remove the cotton part on one end. Then dip it in nail polish remover, and fix up that messy nail!!!!!!!!!!!
  • Keep nail polish in the refrigerator. This will keep it from clumping and make it last longer.
  • If your nail polish clumps up on your nail, remove it with the nail polish remover. If the nail polish is old, roll it between your hands to warm it up. Then, if clumping continues, put in a few drops of NAIL POLISH THINNER, which can be found at your local beauty store.
  • When painting, keep the coats very thin!
  • When you mess up, don't stress out! Simply wipe it off with toilet paper and remove all the polish with nail polish remover to get the stuff that the toilet paper missed.
  • Remember that the top coat is the one everyone will see, and the one that you'll feel. Keep that coat smooth!
  • Run your nails under water after painting. This will give you the chance to feel any bumps without ruining the coat.
  • If you mess up, get an edge on a piece of toilet paper and gently wipe it off.
  • Don't paint on a washcloth; it will make it dirty; use a piece of notebook paper.
  • If your nails keep breaking and the nail polish makes them look gross, buy some nail hardening fluid (this can be found in the makeup section of drugstores, department store and chemist shops) which you apply before the nail polish. It will make your nails nice and strong so they look long and pretty when painted.
  • Try not to wave your arms around too much when drying, it will not look as shiny afterwards.
  • If you have ridges on your nails, buy a nail file at the local pharmacy to make them look even and smooth or you can do it the hard way and buy a buffer and personally smooth them out.
  • You can also use petroleum jelly on the outside of the nails to keep you from painting your skin!
  • Soaking your hands in peanut butter, or lemon juice afterwards will help soften hands and harden nails
  • If you get nail polish on your skin right next to your nail, get a cotton swab and dip it in nail polish remover to take the nail polish off from your skin.
  • Paint your nails in the bathroom so you won't get your nice furniture with nail polish drippings.
  • Let the nails dry (completely!) and then take a hot shower. Scrape along the cuticle with your other nails and the polish will easily come off your skin but remain on the nail. If you do this you won't have to fuss so much about painting them perfect and because you've used less brush strokes, the finished product is often smoother.
  • If your nail varnish appears to be "gloopy" and you cannot paint your nails properly, instead of wasting it add a little bit of nail varnish remover then roll the bottle between hands.This should help.
  • After you have painted your nails (all the coats)dip your hands in a small bowl of cold water, this will freeze your nails.
  • If you can find someone who will let you, practice painting someone else's nails until you feel comfortable enough to try it on yourself.
  • Use cotton rounds instead of cotton balls. It's easier to remove nail polish with them and it takes less of them to get off the polish.


  • Always keep nail polish and other chemicals out of reach of young children.
  • Don't chew on your nails, it will ruin them, and it will taste horrible.
  • Avoid using a cotton ball as much as possible because the hairs often stick to your nails, ruining them.
  • Be careful if you have any cuts around the edges of your finger nails. It will burn if any nail polish touches a cut.
  • If you don't apply a base coat before you put the color on your nails could have a nasty looking yellow tint.
  • Don't use a blowdryer to dry your nails faster. The heat causes the nail polish to release its bond with the nail.
  • Do not put gloves or mittens etc.etc. on wet nails! It will really destroy your nails!
  • Don't use cheap dark-colored nail polish without a base coat. It can dye your nails a gross yellow color.
  • Make sure you get dressed before you paint your nails. Some people paint their nails right when they get out of the shower and they have to wait until their nails dry to get dressed.
  • Make sure that nail polish is kept in a cool place, or the consistency will be messed up and it won't last as long.

Things You'll Need

  • Clear nail polish (base and top coat)
  • Colored nail polish
  • Cotton balls (or toilet paper)
  • Nail polish remover

Article provided by wikiHow, a wiki how-to manual. Please edit this article and find author credits at the original wikiHow article on How to Paint Your Nails. All content on wikiHow can be shared under a Creative Commons license.


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