Easy Nail Designs You Can DIY

Our love affair with nail art is still going strong, but if this relationship is going to work out, we have a few stipulations. First of all, we need to look professional at work. No matter how young or young-at-heart we are, it’s important to be taken seriously during client meetings. And two, the nail designs have to be easy. As in, we can do them at home while watching “Scandal” and they end up looking pretty good.

We enlisted the pro help of Miss Pop, nail artist extraordinaire, to school us on three spring 2014 trend designs we can confidently DIY. Click through for the step-by-step tutorials.

Nails have natural oils in them that can degrade polish, so Miss Pop says using a base coat is an essential but often neglected first step in the nail art process. “It’s like priming a wall—color goes on better and lasts longer,” she explains. “I get two more days out of my manicures if I use a base coat.”

Although expensive, Miss Pop recommends Deborah Lippmann Gel Lab Base and Top Coat, $45 for the duo, because “it’s the best consumer base and top coat on the market. You get 7-10 days of chip-free wear.”

2Purple Half Moons

An it-color this season is purple, but 10 digits of full-on purple is a bit…much. Cheeky half-moons at the base and tips of the nails are trendy without being fashion victim-y.

Step 1: Apply Kiss Design Perfection stickers, $3, to the top of the nails and just above the tips. Paint purple above and below the stickers. Shown here: Essie Play Date, $9.

Do one whole hand with a thin coat, go back for a second coat, and then nail by nail, take the stickers off.

3Step 2:

Use a brush dipped in nail polish remover to clean up any sticker residue.

4Step 3:

Finish with top coat.

5Coral Polka Dots

Coral is another it-color of the season, says Miss Pop. We like dots as a surprisingly subtle way to wear the trend.

Step 1: Apply a pale, shiny nude such as Tom Ford Beauty Nail Lacquer in Naked, $32

6Step 2:

Use the Orly Dotter Duo, $7, or a bobby pin to precisely add a vertical line of colored dots, moving from light to dark from side to side.

Colors shown here, from light to dark:

7Step 3:

Finish with top coat.

8Nude With Metallic Fade

“People think you can’t do nail art with nude colors, but you absolutely can,” says Miss Pop. We call this glitter for grown-ups.

Step 1: Apply a sheer, pale pink like Deborah Lippmann Baby Love, $18

9Step 2:

With a metallic polish (shown here: Orly Rage, $9), paint the corner of a makeup sponge wedge. You want to be able to see the pores of the sponge before tapping, so dab off any excess on a paper towel.

Lightly tap the nail, starting at the end and working down the nail, concentrating on the tip.

10Step 3:

Dab, don’t stroke, glitter polish on the tips (we like Orly Watch It Glitter, $10), or just mix craft glitter with top coat.

11Step 4:

Finish with top coat.