How To DIY A Negative Space Manicure

Posted by Lesley Burr on 3/1/15 10:06 PM


Painting your own nails is harder than it looks. Unless you're ambidextrous, you tend to wind up with one of your hands looking prettier than the other. And DIY nail art is almost unthinkable.

Tape, however, is a game changer for at-home manicures. Suddenly the possibilities are endless.

I've recently been loving the negative space manis that have been popping up on the runway and on the street.


Source: Fashion Indie


Source: Beauty Blitz


Source: Pinterest


Source: Pinterest

I'm going to show you how to achieve this look for yourself.

Things you need:

  1. - A file or clippers

  2. - A cuticle stick

  3. - Polish remover

  4. - Q-tips

  5. - A clear base coat

  6. - A clear top coat

  7. - A polish color (or many colors)

beauty how to DIY negative space manicure

For this tutorial, I used Nicole by OPI 3-in-1 clear base coat/top coat/strengthener and Sally Hansen Hard as Nails Xtreme Wear in 420 Pacific Blue. I usually reserve this color for the height of summer, but I've been having the winter blues lately (you know, because Boston has gotten over 90 inches of snow) and needed some cheer.


Make sure your nails are clean and free of any old polish.


Trim, file, and shape your nails as usual. Use a stick to gently push back your cuticles.


Apply a single coat of clear base coat. It is important to make sure to let it dry completely before moving onto the next step.

beauty tutorial DIY negative space manicure


Take strips of tape and cover areas of each nail on one hand. The areas that you cover will be the "negative space" part of your manicure. Get as simple or complicated as you want. I used a variety of patterns/styles on mine. I recommend using Scotch tape. It works the best because it is very easy to remove and does not leave a sticky residue behind. Make sure the tape is securely pressed to the nail with no air bubbles, but leave the ends loose so they will be easy to grab and peel off later.

do it yourself negative space manicure

at home negative space manicure


Using your nail color, paint over each nail. It's totally okay to get really messy -- you can clean up your nails at the end.


Paint on a second coat.

negative space manicure


Slowly peel the pieces of tape off each nail, taking care not to smudge your wet polish. 

DIY negative space manicure at home


Let your nail color completely dry. Repeat the process with your other hand.


Using a q-tip dipped in a little nail polish remover, clean up and messy edges.


Apply a clear top coat to the entire nail. 

DIY negative space manicure


Shop my must-have nail colors of the moment, and try this beauty diy out for yourself! Share your versions of this mani with me in the comments section.

Topics: trends, Fashion, style, Beauty, manicures

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