Category Archives: Nail Art: For Short Nails

Nail Art For Short Nails: Stamping Over Neutral Holo

OPI DS Classic stamped with Cheeky Plate D

OPI DS Classic stamped with Cheeky Plate D

My nails are super short nubs right now due to a split and filing down to match – they’re always short, but this is shorter than usual.  I was playing around yesterday, and I think that this combination works really well on them; using a base color close to my skintone keeps it low-contrast and de-emphasizes the short length, and the sparkle and delicate stamping adds interest. As in the caption, this is OPI DS Classic stamped with an image from Cheeky Plate D.

Because of the scattered holo sparkle, this is especially great in the sun. In the shade, it’s more muted but still pretty.

I bought Cheeky Plate D from a local nail supply store, I’m not sure of the best place to buy online.  It’s a great quality plate – it was very easy to stamp the images.

In other nail polish news, I’ve been busy swatching all of my nail polish on swatch sticks.  I did all of my frankens last week on mini swatch sticks (again from a local beauty supply), and yesterday my giant ebay order of regular sized swatch sticks arrived.  I spent a couple hours yesterday and managed to swatch most of my cremes/jellies/sheers/shimmers, and today I’ll be swatching the glitters, duochromes, flakies, and other special finishes.

Almost 150 swatch sticks – mostly cremes

Nail Art Ideas for Short Nails: Diagonal Color Blocking with A-England

A-England St. George and Ascalon

Continuing on with my nail art ideas for short nail series, I bring you diagonally color blocked nails! For this look, I used a coat of St. George (the deep green), allowed it to dry completely, then used tape to block off half of each nail.  Then, I painted over the nail & tape, peeled of the tape, and tada! After my nails were dry, I finished with top coat.

It would actually make more sense to do the lighter color as the base, and the darker color on top, but I was painting over a day-old manicure; you can see that I have a slight chip.  I also haven’t cleaned up in this photo – I’m not very good at cleaning up my manicures yet, so sometimes I just skip the cleanup step entirely and let time / handwashing take care of it, as I did for this one.  I could, of course, photograph them later – I’m still wearing this one, and there is no longer any polish on my cuticles – but it has an additional chip (I’m very hard on my hands and also forgot basecoat; A-England polish seems to be of excellent quality).


This post is from Project Swatch. All rights reserved.

Nail Art for Short Nails: Pinstriped Nails Tutorial

It’s been a while since the last installment of my nail art ideas for short nails series, but I have a great design and a tutorial for you today! As I’ve mentioned before, vertical stripes on the nail are lengthening, so if you’d like to create the illusion of length on your short nails, vertical stripes are a great way to go.

There are a lot of different ways to do vertical stripes – you could freehand them with a small nail brush,  use regular tape, or use striping tape – which is what I did.  It was quite time consuming, but very easy, and I think it turned out very well!

First, paint your nails a base color – I used a medium grey. I actually painted my nails in Sephora, so I used a color I don’t own; Dior Gris Montaigne 707.  Make sure to let it dry completely – this might take an hour or more. I waited overnight.

Then, apply the striping tape in stripes vertically accross the nail. I found it easiest to do two nails, wait for them to dry, then do two more. This is the time consuming part – I found it really hard to get the strips straight on the nail, and not angled.

Then, paint the nail with a one-coat nail polish (a polish that is opaque in one coat). I used American Apparel Hassid, which is a fantastic one-coat black.

When your nails are painted black – but before the polish has dried! – carefully peel off the striping tape – and you will have pinstriped nails! Finish by applying topcoat and cleaning up the edges. 


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Nail Art for Short Nails: Nail Stamping

I’m still practicing my stamping skills!

Another great nail art option for short nails is nail stamping, whether Konad or knockoff.  I think geometric designs look especially good on short nails.   I have the “As Seen on TV” $10 nail stamping set that I bought at Rite Aid, and it works very well. I’ve also seen it at Sally Beauty.

I also have a tip for those new to nail stamping, as I am: use gel nail polish as your base layer.  You can get your nails done professionally, or use something like the Red Carpet Manicure System, an at-home gel nail system (review coming soon!).  Then, if you mess up while stamping, you can use a non-acetone nail polish remover to remove your stamped design, leaving the base polish intact. You can do this as many times as you want; it won’t hurt the gel polish at all. It’s much, much less frustrating than making a mistake stamping and needing to redo the entire nail.

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This post is from Project Swatch. All rights reserved.

Nail Art for Short Nails: Water Marble

Another nail art idea that works really well for short nails is water marble.  Here, you see my second try – my first try turned out so badly that I had to remove it right away.

If you’ve never tried to water marble your nails before, don’t be afraid – it’s really quite simple. Just set aside an hour, and follow Chloe’s excellent tutorial.  Here, I used Revlon Carbonite and Revlon Copper Penny. You’ll find that some nail polishes work better than others for this technique – both of these worked beautifully.

Have you tried water marbling your nails? Would you?


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Nail Art for Short Nails: Idea #2

Newspaper nails were all over tumblr a few months ago, but I still love them. While you can do newspaper nails on either short or long nails, my own aesthetic preference is for short newspaper nails – I just think it looks better.

 Here, I’ve used Zoya Shay as a base, and the Los Angeles Times on top 🙂

Newspaper nails are really simple to do; you apply your base coat and nail polish like normal. You can use any color as a base – it just needs to be light enough for the lettering to show up. Once your normal polish is dry, you dip a torn piece of newsprint into alcohol (rubbing alcohol would probably work; I had vodka handy, so I used that.) Press it against your nail firmly, leave for 2-3 seconds, and peel off. Do you whole hand, wait for it to dry completely, then apply topcoat.  Ta-da! Newspaper nails!


This post is from Project Swatch. All rights reserved.