Introduction: DIY Pedicure

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Pamper yourself or someone you love while saving a load of cash.

Even if you're a novice nail painter, these tips will help you get professional results at home without investing in a lot of materials or equipment.

This instructable was one of the sweetest gifts I've ever received from my honey. You can be sure his kindness, patience, and willingness will be repaid!

Step 1: Materials

Below is a suggested list of materials. Some things you might already have or may decide you don't want. The great thing is, it doesn't take a lot to get great results. And what you buy today will last for several pedicures to come!


  • Nail polish
Tip: go for a neutral color if you're new to nail painting -- mistakes won't be as noticeable!

  • Clear coat nail polish - this will add durability and shine to your paint job. Consider this like the clear coat protective finish to your car.
  • Tub large enough to submerge both feet at once
  • Plush bath towel
  • Bath bubbles or epsom salts
  • Lotion
  • Pumice stone
  • Nail shaping implements - clippers, files, emery boards, orange sticks (cuticle pushers), whatever looks appealing and you feel comfortable using
  • Tissue
Tip: lay tissue under the feet when it comes time for painting. It will protect the surface under the feet from any drips and is within instant reach to correct any mistakes. It can also be used in place of toe separators!

  • Cotton swabs
  • Nail polish remover
Tip: cotton swabs + polish remover = quick fix for any mistakes! Opt for acetone-free remover in one of the many scents they offer to avoid nail-salon-stink

Optional but awesome:

  • Toe spreaders (can usually be found at drug stores)
  • Cuticle remover lotion
  • Candles
  • Flowers
Awesome tip: you can often get discarded rose petals by the bag from florists for only a buck or two - but you have to ask!

  • Relaxing beverage
  • Yummy treats

These optional items will take your pedicure from routine to WOW, even if you're doing it solely for yourself!

Step 2: Prepare Toes

  • Remove any existing nail polish from nails.
  • Using a large nail clipper, cut toenails to desired length.

Tip: At the salon, they always cut them shorter than I think I want, but in the end, my pedicure lasts longer. Now I go short!

  • Using nail file or emery board, gently shape nails so there are no sharp edges to harm neighboring piggies.

Tip: only file in one direction. A back-and-forth motion can cause nails to weaken.

Step 3: Soak

Find a relaxing place to work. Get comfy.

Fill your tub with warm water and a small amount of bubbles or salts.

Lay towel down in front of comfortable chair, and place tub on top

Spread flower petals on surface for extra glam points.

Keep treats nearby.

Relax and soak until the water gets cold!

Step 4: Rub

  • Dry your feet with that big plush bath towel. Gently pat - don't rub!
  • Use your favorite lotion to restore moisture to your feet and legs. I prefer something unscented, especially if I'm lucky enough to get someone else to do the rubbing for me! He may not want to smell like jasmine and honeysuckle when it's all over.
  • Warm lotion in your hands before applying to feet and massaging.

There are many tips out there on how to give a great foot massage. If that seems like too much effort or fuss, just remember that being touched feels nice, and not to overdo the pressure! Make sure you rub every part of the foot/ankle (except between the toes which can feel weird), and remember that thumbs naturally apply more pressure than fingers. I don't like having my toes pulled, but you/your partner might. Use discretion.

Tip: don't underestimate the benefits of a good leg massage - they work hard too!

Step 5: Exfoliate

  • After massage (a good salon usually takes at least 10 minutes on the massage part), apply even more lotion to the soles of the feet. Lubrication is essential to exfoliation. Without it, you could cause serious damage to the skin.
  • Use the pumice stone to remove calluses. In a firm but gentle manner, rub the stone over rough spots in a circular motion. I thought this would be uncomfortable, but it's way more pleasurable when someone else does it for you!
  • If you have an orange stick or cuticle pusher thing, now's the time to use it. Gently push the cuticles away from the nail bed to expose more of the nail. This makes your toenails look way more elegant.

Step 6: Rinse

Prepare the toenails for painting in one of two ways:

  • Using nail polish remover and a swab, clean the nail beds to remove any remaining lotion that will inhibit the polish from bonding to the nail


  • Refill the tub with warm water and soak feet for a few minutes. Towel dry, paying special attention to drying the nail beds.

Step 7: Paint Those Piggies!

It's not as hard as you think!

  • Lay tissue down under feet to protect surface. I put it down right on top of the towel, which provided extra cushioning.
  • Separate toes using separator OR twist up a length of tissue and wind it up and down between toes
  • Gently shake the bottle of nail polish to ensure even pigment
  • Open the bottle and rub the brush on the inside of the bottle neck to remove any excess polish. This is your enemy.
  • Using long strokes, apply the polish to the nails from the cuticle to the tip
  • Use two coats of polish for best results. Let paint dry at least 15-20 minutes between coats, OR get some of that quick-dry spray available in some markets.

Tip: if you slip and get some polish on the skin instead of the nail, don't worry! Use your thumbnail to gently scrape between the nail and skin, then wipe the excess polish off on tissue. Repeat as necessary.

Step 8: Finish

Wait a good 15-20 minutes to let final coat dry before finishing with top coat.

  • Using same method as with color coat, apply top coat in long, even strokes. This step usually only requires one coat.

Once polish is dry, go about correcting any spills or drips:

  • Fill cap of polish remover with just a bit of remover - this will prevent potentially major spills
  • Dip a cotton swab into the remover and rub away any rogue polish

Now you have a perfect finish! Kick up your feet and enjoy the view :)