DIY Nail Art Tools You Probably Already Have

I’l be the first to admit that I’m not much of a girly girl, nor am I very protective about my nails. They often get broke or chewed off, and I’m not afraid to get a little dirt under my nails every now and then. However, that doesn’t stop me from enjoying some great nail art every once in a while.

With the abuse that I put my hands and nails through on a daily basis, it wouldn’t make much sense to drop big bucks on a manicure that would last me no more than an hour or two after stepping out of a salon. Learning some DIY nail art techniques is the answer.

Over the years, I’ve discovered quite a few items that I usually have around the house can double as DIY nail art tools. Here are just a few…

Magic Erasers

One of my favorite DIY nail art tools is the Magic Eraser, and I always have at least one in my huge bag of nail stuff. One of these little buggers can go quite a long way, since you can slice them into small pieces when you need them. In addition to being great DIY nail art tools, I’ve found that these are also the best way to easily remove old polish.

You can use a Magic Eraser to create an ombre, or gradient, effect on your nails. Just paint two or three stripes of color on a flat non-porous surface, such as a mirror or piece of plastic. Use thick coats and blend the edges of each color into the next color. Press a small flat piece of the sponge into the blended nail polish stripes and press onto your nail.

You can also use Magic Erasers as a stamp to create DIY nail art designs. Simply paint a small design onto the sponge and press onto your nail.

Drinking Glass

A drinking glass may seem like an odd addition to a list of DIY nail art tools, but it’s one of my favorite. You can use an old drinking glass to create amazing water marble designs.

Fill a drinking glass almost to the top with room temperature water, and add a drop of nail polish. When that drop disperses, add another drop. Continue adding drops until you have a bulls eye design on the top of the water and quickly drag a toothpick or pin through the colors to create a marble design. Dip your nails into the water, wait a few seconds, and remove the polish from the top of the water with a cotton swab before you remove your fingers. You’ll have to clean up any excess polish around the nails, but it does create a great design!

Here’s a great image of an effect created with water marbling from Lacquerish

water marble Laquerish DIY nail art tools


If you aren’t steady enough to use super fine tip nail art brushes and stripers to create DIY nail art designs, Sharpies make great substitutes.

Unless you’re using a very pale base color, the black, silver, and gold Sharpies will most likely show up the best. You can also easily clean up and redo any mistakes with a little rubbing alcohol. Just make sure you put a top coat over your Sharpie nail art design, or the marker will rub off.


The best DIY nail art tools for creating super straight lines are different types of tape. You can pretty much use any type of tape for this, including scotch tape and masking tape.

Using tape for DIY nail art is pretty simple and straight forward. Just apply a base color to your nails, press the tape on and paint over your nails and tape with a second color. Try using tape to create stripes or just blocks of color.

For the best results, make sure your base color is completely dry before applying the tape. You can also press the tape against your hand to remove some of the stickiness before pressing it onto your nail. Also, make sure you remove the tape before the nail polish dries to ensure crisp clean lines.


No DIY nail art kit should be complete without a bunch of toothpicks! These can be used for all sorts of nail art designs, as well as for cleaning up extra polish around the edges of your nails.

One of the best uses for toothpicks is creating dots of nail polish. Just dip the tip of the toothpick into the nail polish and make dots on your nails. You can also use a toothpick to draw designs or create a marbled effect. For a marbled effect, add two or more thick stripes of nail polish to your nails and drag the tip of the toothpick through the colors.

Adhesive Labels

Adhesive labels can also be used as DIY nail art tools. You can use all sorts of different labels, including round price labels  and blank shipping labels.

Create an easy french manicure with round adhesive price labels. Paint your nails with a base coat first, and cover everything but the tip of your nail with the label. You may have to cut the label to get the curve you want. Paint over the tip of your nail and remove the label. You can also use the round labels to create half moon designs as well.

Larger adhesive labels have their uses as DIY nail art tools as well. You cut out small designs from them and use them as stencils.

Lip Balm

DIY nail art designs can get a bit messy at times! My trick for making the mess easier to clean is…lip balm! This is especially helpful when you’re doing gradient designs or water marbling.

Cover the skin around your nails with a layer of lip balm when you expect to do some messy nail art designs. After the polish has dried, the excess polish on your skin should wipe right off, no polish remover necessary. Just make sure you don’t get any lip balm on your nails, or the nail polish won’t stick.

What are your favorite DIY nail art tools or designs?