Dip-dye your nails to create a tie-dye effect.

How to Tie Dye Your Nails

by Pamela Simmons

Channel your inner hippie with a cool tie-dyed nail. While tie-dyed nails may look complicated, they're actually quite simple to do at home. You can rock your own DIY tie-dye nail in a variety of colors. Plus, since the entire process doesn't take up much time, you'll be able to experiment with tons of different looks.

Apply your clear base coat, and follow up with two coats of white polish. Allow your polish to dry completely.

Rim the edges of your nails with tape or petroleum jelly. You'll want all the skin around your nails to be covered, so as to protect from errant polish.

Fill a bowl or cup with warm water.

Apply one drop of your first polish into your water. You'll notice the polish will spread into a large circle. In the center of that circle, apply a drop of your second polish. This will spread as well. Repeat with each additional polish, doing the entire process twice, so each color is dipped two times.

Swirl your colors around gently using your toothpick. If you're a first time nail tie-dyer, do a simple design. Starting at the center of your circle, pull your toothpick out and to the edge. Repeat, pulling your toothpick from the center to another edge. Think of this like slicing a pie. You'll want several wedges of identical size once you're done.

Dip each finger one at a time onto the surface of your water where your polish is floating. Let each finger sit for a minimum of 60 seconds.

Allow your nails to dry completely. Remove your tape or petroleum jelly, and apply one coat of clear top color.

Items you will need

  • Clear base coat
  • White polish
  • A bowl or a glass
  • Warm water
  • Tape or petroleum jelly
  • Two to four nail polish shades
  • Toothpick


  • If you'd rather skip all the steps, try a tie-dye top coat instead. Tie dye top coat polishes are available at some beauty counters and specialty boutiques. You'll simply apply a bottom coat and top that with a tie dye top coat. This look is going to be much more subtle than your more detailed nail polish dye but will still give you that cool tie-dye effect.

About the Author

Pamela Simmons has been writing professionally since 2009. Her articles on fashion, beauty and other topics have appeared on Denim Therapy and other websites. Simmons serves as an editor and public relations manager for CHIC.TV. She holds a Bachelor of Science in international affairs from Georgia Tech and a Master of Business Administration from Mercer University.

Photo Credits

  • Polka Dot Images/Polka Dot/Getty Images