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Toothpicks Are Several Simple But Stylish Designs.

If you’re just starting out doing nail art, you might want to learn unique techniques that aren’t too challenging. There are several simple but stylish designs you can do using toothpicks. While it may help to find toothpicks that have one blunt end and one sharp end, you can do most basic designs using a common toothpick. Try a new style or two and gain confidence in your new found skills!

Take the time to cut and trim your nails before you begin painting. Remember to file the nails so that they’re completely smooth. Avoid filing your nails after you’ve painted them because this can cause the paint to peel.

Longer nails will be easier to work with since you’ll have more space for designs. If your nails are shorter, choose simple designs that won’t take up too much nail space.

Here’s where things get kind of messy but very, very fun. A toothpick and any combination of nail polishes provide endless ways to make a marbled design like the one I created above with OPI’s Big Apple Red and Black Onyx. My absurdly gothic look required just three steps: paint a thick coat of red on one side of the nail, paint a thick coat of black on the other, and drag the tip of the toothpick back and forth through the polish until it all warped together.

Again, there’s no cut-and-dry rule for using this tool. You can place the pick in the middle of the nail polish and circle it outward for a hypnotic swirl, or drag polish vertically instead of horizontally as I did. Using two shades makes the process and little faster, but there’s really no limit to the number of colors you can combine with this method. Edwards says she likes to use a pointed kitchen knife to drag wet polishes into fun patterns in the same way.

If you use one of those dense, synthetic brushes to clean the edges of your nails with acetone, Miss Pop says you can use it in a similar way to achieve a water color pattern. Just dip that brush in acetone like you normally would, and wiggle it through the layers of polish you’ve already painted on.

According to Edwards, you can also create a similar look using a plastic bag. “Swirl different colors together on a plastic bag and allow [them] to dry thoroughly,” she says. This will create a nail decal of sorts, which you can peel off the bag and seal onto the nail with a topcoat.

I’ll admit, all of these makeshift nail-art tools do require a little bit of practice and a little bit more time to master. But they’re still plenty accessible and easy to use, even for someone with no free time, a tight budget, and clumsy hands such as me. Try them just once because I’m willing to bet you’ll start using them by habit once you get the hang of them.