Thanks so much for your interest in my nail art for beginners guide. I created this page for anyone who would like some help getting started in nail art. Whether it’s a hobby or you want to create a beauty blog, this resource guide has everything you need from finding basic materials and inspiring designs to photography tips and learning tutorials.
I update this page often, so BOOKMARK THIS LINK and check back whenever you’d like. 🙂
Basic Materials Needed
Here’s a list of basic materials and tools for nail art preparation:
- Base/Top Coat: A base and top coat can make your manicure go the extra mile. I use OPI Nail Envy for my base because it really helps the polish stick to my nails and prevents your them from chipping. My nails also became stronger. For the top coat, I like Seche Vite a lot. It’s fast drying and I love the glossy finish.
- Brushes: You just need a few basics: A short, pointed brush for free handed details, a long thin brush for lines and precise details and a larger angled brush for cuticle cleaning when you’re done. You can find these at beauty supply stores or craft stores. If you want to find a set online, Amazon has a nice set at a decent price. To maintain your brushes, clean them in pure acetone immediately after usage.
- Nail Files: You want to pick a nail file that’s rough to the touch but not too gritty (grit number should be 180 or higher).
- Buffers: Good for removing ridges or light stains from a darker polish. I recommend this buffer because the order you use it is indicated on the block.
- Cuticle Remover: A cuticle care routine is a must. If you have dry cuticles, avoid cutting them unless you go to a trained professional. Instead, push them back with a cuticle pusher and apply a cuticle remover.
- Dotting Tools: Great time savers and easy on the wallet. You can find an inexpensive set online or if you’re more of a DIYer, you can find tools from all sorts of household items: toothpicks, bobby pins, or pencils/dried out pens.
- Reinforcement Stickers: Perfect for making half moon manicures.
- Rhinestones/Embellishments: So many different shapes, sizes, and colors you can buy to add some pizazz to your nails. If you’re buying online, I like this set from Amazon. You can also find more embellishments at Etsy, Ebay, and Born Pretty Store.
- Striping Tape: Nail striping tape is my favorite beauty tool! You can end up with so many creative possibilities.
- Nail Art Pens: I love these! These pens make it easy to create fun designs. I think everyone should own one.
- Nail Stamps: A faster way to detailed and crisp designs than free hand painting. You will need a stamper, scraper, and image plate to get started. Some of my favorite image plates are by Pueen and Mash. Check out this article to learn more about nail stamping.
Places to Sign Up
Join a nail polish monthly club! There are tons out there but these three are the best.
- Julep Maven– My favorite nail polish subscription program! You get a customizable beauty box that’s just your style every month and the first month is FREE for new members! Right now, they’re currently offering a Free 4-Piece Jingle Bell welcome box and a Free 4-Piece Bubbly Collection while supplies last.
- Black Box– It’s a new nail polish subscription box by Cult Cosmetics that sends you full-sized polishes, tools, and tutorials for making nail art!
- Square Hue– A subscription program that creates their own colors in house for every box. I like this one because the colors are on-trend and they give each box a theme.
Need help thinking of a new design creation? Follow these popular nail art bloggers and get ideas for dressing up your own digits:
Here’s another great list of nail designs for inspiration. See the full list here:
- 20 Simple Nail Designs for Beginners– Lots of basic designs for novices.
- 16 Super Wearable 3D Nail Art Designs– Turn a plain nail into an eye-catching masterpiece.
- 8 Coolest Nail Art Designs Using Tape– Ever wonder how nail artists perfectly create geometric nail art? Check out this post!
- 12 Marble Nail Art Designs Worth Copying– Learn how to master marble nail art.
Recommended books that have tons of inspiring nail art designs (from beginners to advanced):
- DIY Nail Art by Catherine Rodgers- A book with step-by-step instructions for 75 creative nail art designs.
- Nail Candy by Donne and Ginny Geer- I’ve learned so much from this book and there’s over 50 nail designs for inspiration.
Want to Start a Nail Art or Beauty Blog? Keep Scrolling!
Learning & Teaching
- Skillshare– Hundreds of online/video classes on everything from watercolor to photography! I highly recommend taking Brittni Mehlhoff from Paper & Stitch, “Creating Compelling Tutorials for Your Blog” class and Lisa Bailey “Nail Art Like a Pro” class.
- Udemy– Learn from experts in interactive classrooms filled with fellow online students.
- CreativeLIVE– Live online workshops taught by world-class experts.
- Pop Expert– A learning marketplace that lets students connect with experts in one-on-one video chats.
- Nicole’s Classes– Online classes that range from Photoshop 101 to Floral Arranging
- Canon Rebel T3i – Hands down the best cropped body DSLR camera for novices. Less expensive than a full body camera.
- Canon 6D– It’s the least expensive full body camera that Canon makes. The perfect starter camera.
When buying a lens, you must consider your camera type. I recommend these 3 lens sizes for your blog tutorials but before purchasing, read this.
- Canon 28mm f/1.8 or Sigma 30mm f/1.4
- Canon 50mm f/1.4 (better version) or Canon 50mm f/1.8 (less-expensive version)
- Canon 85mm f/1.8
- VSCO– Smart phone photography made SO much better!
- Adobe Creative Cloud Program (Photography Plan)- An affordable monthly subscription service that allows you to use Adobe apps such as Photoshop and Lightroom. A better alternative for people who don’t want to shell out hundreds immediately.
- PicMonkey– A free web-based photo editor where you can add filters, frames, texts, and cool effects. I highly recommend signing up!
- Nail Photography Basics– Chalkboard Nails breaksdown her process on nail photography. A must read!
- Top 10 Mobile Photo Tips for Nail Art– Ever wonder how people take such beautiful nail photos on Instagram? The Nail Room shares great mobile photography tips on beautiful nail art snaps.
- Tips for Taking the Best Photos of Your Nails Ever– Nail It Mag interviewed the most talented nail art photographers and they shared awesome tips on taking the best photos of your nails.
- All About Prime Lenses & Focal Lengths– A Beautiful Mess breaks down some of the basics of lenses and focal lengths.
- 5 Tips for Taking Indoor Photography– A Beautiful Mess has some awesome tips (with photos that help explain) for shooting indoors.
Joining popular social media sites is the best way to get your content out there. When signing up, secure the same blog name on every platform if possible. Makes it easier for readers to find you.