Nail designs can be as simple as alternating colors, using special effect polishes, applying decals and creating polka dots. Adding nail gems or using an artist's paintbrush creates even more options for nail design.
The easiest nail design is alternating colors. Making this look cohesive means choosing complementary colors, such as all pastels or team colors. An offshoot of this design is the "skittlette" manicure. In this case, each nail is painted a different color, with one nail serving as the focal point. The focal nail gets painted with glitter polish that incorporates the other colors. Each nail is then topped with the same decal or stud.
Effect polishes are those that chemically change when applied. These include crackle effect, magnetic polish and crocodile effect. For this design, a base color is applied then topped with the effect polish.
Several companies make water decals, nail wraps and nail stickers that can easily transform a simple manicure into a creative design. Another option is using nail gems, studs or other nail jewelry. These get applied to wet, colored polish and topped with a clear coat.
Polka dots and simple lines are an easy way to create freestyle nail art. The base color is painted and allowed to partially dry. Next, either the polish brush or an artist's paintbrush is dipped into another color and used to create dots, lines or swirls. Acrylic paint can be used. Finally, a top coat sets the look.