The Beginner’s Guide to Nail Art – Nailing Polka Dots

By Alina Sheinkman

So you want to venture out and try something new with your nails, that’s great, but where do you start? Selecting a design can be hard with all the variety available…and then what colours to use? Well that’s a whole new story for another time.

One place to start is the classic polka dot. I have sifted through the million designs available and compiled a list of polka dot inspiration for the nail art novice.

A couple of things to keep in mind when venturing into nail art territory:

  • Start with a feature nail on each hand (usually the ring finger)
  • Keep it simple
  • Practice makes perfect

But ultimately anything goes! They are your nails and you can be as creative as you like.

The tools

If you plan on honing your nail art skills, it’s a good idea to invest in some dotting tools. They are quite cheap and come in various sizes. However, for the nail art novice there are some simple DIY alternatives, not to mention the trusty bobby pin.

polka dot nail art dotting tools
DIY dotting tools. Source

Invest in a good quality base coat and top coat. You have slaved away creating your designs so you want them to last and look like a masterpiece as long as possible, right? Putting a clear top coat every couple of days helps your manicure last that little bit longer.

How to in 4 easy steps

  1. Paint your nails with a base coat and 2 coats of your chosen nail polish colour
  2. Choose a contrasting colour for your nail art design
  3. Dip the tip of your dotting tool into your nail polish colour and lightly place a dot on your nail. Repeat until desired pattern is complete.
  4. Once completely dry, gently add a layer of top coat making sure not to go over the same spot twice (it will smudge!)

Voila!

Big dots, little dots

After you’ve mastered the one feature nail and know the right quantity of nail polish to have on your bobby pin or dotting tool, you can venture into having a mix of big dots and little dots.

If you only have the one tool, experiment with different amounts of nail polish and having a lighter touch for smaller dots.

Otherwise, go back to the DIY tools and find one that will give you a nice size comparison.

Here are a few easy to achieve designs that are quite different but use the same simple technique.

Big and small polka dot nail art designs
A mix of big and small dots add a creative flair. Source: 1, 2, 3, 4.

French dots

The classic French manicure is so last season. Try painting a line of polka dots along the tip of your nails to create a funky new look. Your colour selection is endless.

Alternative French manicure with polka dot tips
A new take on the classic French. Source

Dots galore

You seem to be confident in your dotting technique now, so let’s expand on that. Creating consistently sized and spaced polka dots is a little more difficult, especially when using your non dominant hand. Take it slow and concentrate – no distractions here. The outcome is quite spottingly stunning.

Take ombre to the next level by laying out your spots with a gradient of colour. Let’s face it, all girls own many similar-but-slightly-different shades of nail polish, so why not use them all at once?

Full nail polka dot nail art and ombre nail art. Colour gradient.
Consistency is key to make these looks work. Source 6, 7.

You are not limited to just your finger nails, your toes could use a bit of fun polka dots too.

 Spottingly different

Now that you are an expert, here is a video tutorial for three designs that are surprisingly simple and yet achieve an expert look.

Want to see more nail art tutorials? Check out:

OPI Colour Wheel – How To Paint Rainbow Nails in Water!

Are there any nail art techniques you would like to see next? Let us know in the comments.

OPI Colour Wheel – How To Paint Rainbow Nails in Water!

Any nail aficionado will know that there are so many amazing nail polish colours in the world. OPI is the stand-out brand when it comes to nail polish.

I love the quirky names that each OPI nail colour has to express personality and style. From “Thank Glogg It’s Friday” to “In A Holidaze“.

So which OPI colours do you use?

We’ve created the OPI Colour Wheel to help you choose your shade to let the world know just what mood you’re in!

OPI nail-polish-Colour Wheel - How To Paint Rainbow Nails in Water!

Shop one of these featured OPI nail colours right now!

Want to fill your beauty bag for less? Check out our top brand beauty essentials post!

Our Favourite Nail Tutorial of the Week:

There are heaps of wicked nail tutorials floating around, but this one caught our eye this week! Such an awesome idea, grab a few colours and create a marble rainbow nail polish look!

What’s your signature OPI colour? Share with us in the comments!

Looking for some Pinspiration? Pop over to our Top Beauty Picks Board to find loads more beauty tips and tricks!