Wednesday, August 27, 2014

DIY: Diagonal Manicure

What you'll need:
* Transparent tape (I use 1/2" but you can use wider or trimmer, based on your preference)
* Your choice of good quality colors
* Your choice of clear top coat. (Not featured here.)
 Lucky Lucky Lavender by OPI Nail Lacquer, "Spirit (355)" by Revlon's Top Speed fast-drying enamel, and "Tribeca Silver (292)" By NYC's In a Minute quick-dry nail polish.

Nail polishes used throughout this tutorial:
Tipping: "Spirit (355)" by Revlon's Top Speed fast-drying enamel
Base: Lucky Lucky Lavender by OPI Nail Lacquer
Top coat: Xtreme Wear "Invisible (100)" by Sally Hansen's Hard as Nails
Detailing: Silver - by Orly's Instant Artist (art deco brush - thin long brush)
Detailing: "Tribeca Silver (292)" By NYC's In a Minute quick-dry nail polish

Lucky Lucky Lavender by OPI was used as the base nail color because it is fast drying and long lasting. (It is also a gorgeous purple.) Past manicures with OPI Nail Lacquer products have lasted a week or more depending on the wear and tear I exert, versus other nail polishes that have chipped the next day. Having a fast drying nail polish for the base nail color is very important, otherwise in order to get the results of this pedicure the painted nails would have to be left alone for several hours, or a day, and the manicure/pedicure completed at a later time when the polish is fully dry. (The base coat must be fully dry in order to not peel it off.)

Also - don't be afraid to be adventurous with color! Experiment. Mix-and-match. Go wild. Have fun! Just because I paired a color with white as an example in this tutorial, doesn't mean you have to. Play a little!

Step 1). Paint the base nail color coat.
This can be as opaque or transparent as you see fit. Be sure to make sure that each coat of color you apply dries completely before applying the next. Otherwise the polish will be tacky or dry on top but wet underneath the topmost layer of color. For this manicure, completely dry nails are a must.

Step 2). Once your nails are completely dry, cut a small strip of tape and stick it to one nail at an angle, leaving the top edge of the nail bare.

Press down on the tape across the top edge (closest to the end of your nail) to ensure a tight seal. For a more rounded line, as opposed to the straight line provided by the tape, you can use either the edges or ends of a band-aid. (This, however, is more costly - and as a college student I'm a fan of saving money. Plus, the band-aid can occasionally leave behind an excessively sticky residue on the nail, so plan accordingly.)

Step 3). Paint on the white (or your second color choice).Where you've left bare, paint on your second choice color! (For an example of what I mean, here is my last tutorial). Don't be afraid to paint outside the lines. Getting the nail polish all over the tape is totally fine! And if polish gets on your skin, you can either scrape it away with a fingernail or once done with your pedicure and it has dried soak the end of a Q-tip (cotton swab) in nail polish remover and carefully rub away the unwanted mess, pulling the skin gently away from the nail to do so, if you have to. It is a lifesaver!

If the white (or other color) nail polish used to tip the nail is not a fast drying nail polish, or is very runny in nature, let the polish and tape stand for a moment. This assures there is no dripping when the tape is removed.

Step 4). Peel off the tape

Take it slow. Peeling the tape off with a taught downward or upward angle, or straight across, can aid in getting a crisp line. Judge what angle you want to use by how crisp the line is as you pull of the tape. The most important, key-term here is "taught."

Step 5). Let dry for a few minutes and then (carefully) continue with the same process on the other nails.

Step 6). The detailing.

Tribeca Silver by NYC (sparkly silver!), silver Orly: Instant Artist nail paint, tooth picks, and a nail paint brush (purchased from Sally Beauty Supplies).  Ideally, you should take these all out before the manicure begins. Unless you're me, and then you have to dig them out with wet nails, praying you don't mess up your last coat.

Step 7). Detailing
Dip the rounded end of the nail paint brush into the silver Orly: Instant Artist nail paint. If you are a whiz with artistic nail paint and can use the brush that goes with it - go for it. I, however, cannot make a decent dot or circle with them for the life of me. (I've tried.) So this is the quick cheat for those of us not-so-talented with the brush.

Side note:
Originally I was going to use the tooth picks to apply color, too. This didn't work well for me. I couldn't get enough color or make the dots round enough. Instead, I used tooth picks for cleaning up mistakes and making touch-ups.

Step 8). Detailing
Using the end of the nail brush, place a few evenly spaced dots of silver Orly: Instant Artist nail paint along the crisp divider line between both nail colors. You could do this on every nail. I chose to only do this on every other nail, with only two nails per hand having the silver.

Let this dry.

Step 9). Detailing and top coat.

Let the dots dry. Then continue. Once dry, I used the end of the nail brush to apply Tribeca Silver by NYC (sparkly silver!) over every other silver dot. This gave a few sparkles to the nails. A bit of flare!

I let this dry thoroughly and then applied a top coat.

Tada! Your very own set of gorgeous, freshly pedicured nails. Classy, fun, and inexpensive! They are a great way to dress up - or compliment - an outfit.  While you're doing your nails enjoy your favorite dessert, pop in a movie marathon...make a Pamper Night of it! Give yourself some well-deserved TLC. You deserve it!


  1. Replies
    1. Awe, thank you! I hope you give it a try sometime. It's so rewarding when you can finally make it work. (It might take a time or two to get it down. Sometimes I still accidentally rip up the base coat. Whoops! ;) )

  2. I love the diagonal manicure so simple and chic! Love how clean your lines came out to!

    1. It's that tape! I swear. I could never do it free hand!

  3. Those are beautiful! I love that color combo. I can never get my lines to look like that... I'm too impatient and don't usually wait long enough for the polish to dry... haha.

    Zoe | La Vie en Zoe

    1. I want to get a bit more adventurous with color combinations, but I cannot quite jump off the cliff. ;) This purple and white is my biggest adventure so far!

      Hahaha. I'm often too impatient, too! Like just now, for instance. I tried doing a new diagonal with a different base color (this cute sparkly pink) but I had to stop because I almost ripped off the base with the tape. Oops. ;)

  4. Your nails look great. I might have to try out this tape mani!

    1. Do it! It is my new favorite mani. Sometimes I still get a bit impatient and rip off my base coat with the tape by accident, or I don't get such a straight line. But with nail polish remover, that's not too difficult of a fix!

  5. Replies
    1. Thank you! I hope you give it a try! I cannot get over how "easy" it is to make a homemade manicure, without the expensive cost. Sometimes I still get a bit impatient and rip off my base coat with the tape by accident, or I don't get such a straight line. But with nail polish remover, that's not too difficult of a fix!

  6. So artistic! - M

  7. Omg so coool and your nails are so long and prettyy!!

    1. They were until today! A hard morning working in the garden weeding and planting and picking and left my nails much, much shorter. ;) I guess that is what a day of hard work does to you! Haha.