9 DIY snow day nail art ideas, because you know you’re not getting any work done

A good manicure can totally change your mood, whether you DIY or get it done at a salon. If you’re stuck in the Northeast this week and trapped in your house due to a the blizzard (or just basking by the pool in Los Angeles), these are some wintry DIY nail art ideas to get your creative juices flowing for runway-worthy nails. Nail art and patterns are so cool, but it often feels like you have to have an MFA in painting to do make them. Not so, my friends, not so.

These ideas are pretty hard to mess up, and you can them try all by yourself (or get your BFF to come over and help with your weaker hand) with your current nail polish stash and things you might have lying around the house.

The first step? You need a nail striper, which is just a teeny-tiny thin brush. Choose a color that you don’t use anymore (or one of the bazillion top and base coats you have for no reason). Wipe the brush down with a cotton pad and nail polish remover to get the color off.

Grab your scissors and cut the brush as thin as possible without taking it all off.

You can also do this with an old eyeliner, by wiping the liner off and dipping it into your nail polish bottle. If you wipe the brush or eyeliner clean with nail polish when you’re done, you won’t have to make a bazillion of them for each color.

Here are some simple snowed-in nail ideas that you can experiment with.

Simple Lines


If you’re a nail art rookie, starting with minimalist lines is the way to go. If you have a color base, you’re going to want to make sure that stripes are done with a contrasting color. You can also do a super bare base for negative space and go wild with the color of your random lines.

No-Fuss Deep French

French manicures can be tough, but the DEEP French is almost hard to mess up. Choose a lighter color and go three-quarters down your nail. Pick a complementary shade and add a thin stripe for an extra detail that looks way fancier than the whole mani really is.

Dots, Dots, Dots


There are so many ways to make polka-dotted nails, and now that you have your very own striper, they should be easier to create. Dot up just one nail, dot just the French tips, and mix up sizes (no one will ever know they were slips of the hand). Play around with color combos.

Leopard Print

You might want to get a few toothpicks for this one to add all of the accents. This one’s not for total rookies, although if you don’t have a glitter polish, a lighter, complementary color will work, too. 

Confetti Nails


If you have enough colors and toothpicks, you can go wild with multicolored dots on the tips and side of your nails. The best thing about this one is that everything’s meant to be uneven.

Negative Space


If you have the contrasting colors, you can play around with negative space and colors.

Play With Shapes


You can’t go wrong with basic shapes — use your fine brush to create triangles, circles, and wide rectangles that start at the base of the nail.

Spring Flowers

OK, you aren’t going to create the Beauty and the Beast rose on your thumbnail (unless you can, in which case, you rule). But with a toothpick, you can make simple, rudimentary flowers more akin to doodles than anything else. Make dots for petals and a bright yellow in the middle. Or use a pink shape and a little green leaves to get a rose-like look.

Puppies and Paws

Using black, white, or whatever color you wish, pay homage to your furry friends and make tiny paw prints, pr get ambitious and see if you can make a face.

Nail art is not easy if you’re trying it for the first time. But with a little patience and a sense of adventure, it can be fun to try your hand at a little design. The good thing is that no one at work ever has to see it — just remember to remove your mistakes before you head back to the office.

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