Create an Easy Ombre Manicure at Home!




About: I'm a wife, a mom, a health activist, an artist. I want to learn how to do everything, basically, even though I know I'll never succeed. I love to read, and to write, and to share information people need but...

Are you loving the ombre trend that's so hot right now? Do you find yourself longingly gazing at gradients and wishing you could get them on your nails? Is your wallet feeling a bit faint at the idea of getting ombre nails at the salon?

You've definitely clicked the right instructable. You've probably got everything you need to do a gorgeous gradient manicure right now! Keep clicking to see how to achieve this!

Step 1: Supplies

If you like doing your nails at home, you probably already have everything you need to do this. If not, you definitely don't need to break the bank. You can get almost everything you need for a 2 color gradient at your local dollar store with money left over for a Taco Bell burrito! (Don't blame me if you're up all night with indigestion, though... )

Base coat
White nail polish
Nail polishes for the gradient in the colors of your choice
Top coat
A cosmetic sponge

You can use any polishes you like for this, but keep in mind that you're going to be applying a very thin layer of the gradient colors. Opaque polishes tend to work a bit better for this than sheer polishes.

The white nail polish isn't exactly a requirement, but it definitely makes the gradient colors show up better.

As for the sponge? You can use pretty much any kind of sponge you want, as long as it's clean and doesn't melt if you put nail polish on it. If you aren't using a cosmetics sponge, you might want to test it by putting your nail polish onto it and stamping it a few times onto paper to see if it holds up. If it does? You're good to go!

Step 2: Let's Get to the Good Stuff... Make My Nails Look Pretty!

I know, if you're like me, you want to get past all the preliminary stuff and get to painting! First, put on your base coat. It helps keep your polish on longer, and helps protect your nails from staining. Always use a base coat!

Once that's dry, then it's time for the good stuff! Instead of me trying to figure out how to write the gradient steps, it's probably easier if you just watch me do it. Luckily, I have a video showing just that!

Step 3: What Next?

Now that you've got your nails gorgeous with that smooth gradient, be sure to add a top coat. This helps seal everything in, and really makes the gradient look smoother.

To clean up around the sponged areas, you can use a cotton swab with nail polish remover. However, I like using a paintbrush and acetone. Don't worry, I've got an instructable coming soon on that too!

And that's it... But you don't have to stop there. A gradient makes a beautiful background for nail art. You can add animal print on top, or stamp designs on. You can add dots or stripes or glitter or...

Yea. I get excited a bit too easily. Still, you have LOTS of options! My next instructable will show how to get the zebra stripes you've seen in my photos. So leave a comment if I haven't added it yet. I'm easily distracted!



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    27 Discussions


    2 years ago

    This gradient is so wonderful


    3 years ago

    it looks easy so i will try it w/out the video! lets hope for the best! AND THANK YOU FOR MAKING THIS!!

    --Peace&Love-- Zoe


    3 years ago

    Hi! I found this very helpful except okay this might be a stupid question, but in the video you used a fake nail to apply the colours to, will it only work on fake nails or can you apply the polish from the sponge to your real nails?

    1 reply

    Reply 3 years ago

    Nope, it's not a stupid question! I work on fake nails because it's easier for me to manage, and so I can work on several projects at one time. However, this will work on anything you can paint with nail polish- nails, jewelry, some plastics... the main limit is your imagination!


    4 years ago on Introduction

    Hey! I want to try this, but I have a question first... Do you need to reapply the polish to the sponge for every nail, or for every two or three nails or like, for each hand? What do you find works best?

    1 reply

    Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

    It definitely works better when you reapply the polish for each nail. It can take a lot of polish and make quite a mess, but it's so pretty once you're done!

    Take pictures if you do this, I'd love to see your results!


    Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

    Top coat doesn't work well as a base coat. Since it tends to be really shiny, polish doesn't stick well to it.

    However, you can do this technique without a base coat. A base coat will help protect your nails from staining, and it can help your polish last longer. Still, it's not totally necessary. =)


    5 years ago

    Wow, i never thought you could do it that way. Great job. I would love to try that.

    Hmmm, did you let the base polish dry fully first? Did you apply the polish thickly to the sponge? Did you reapply polish to the sponge for each nail?

    Those are all things you need to do to make it work. Plus, it can take a few applications to make the gradient really show up.

    I guess I didn't let the base dry enough before I sponged on the polish. I let it dry longer and it worked great!

    Yep, that can do it. The base does need to be dry first, so the gradient can stick! :D I'm glad you got it to work!