Gradient Nails Picture Tutorial

Exciting news today! This blog now resides at thenailasaurus.com! I’ve always wanted my own domain and after two years I finally decided today was the day to fix that.

For some reason, I had it in my head that it would be complicated and expensive. It wasn’t! I don’t know how it works on other platforms, but it turns out Google will pretty much do it all for you for $12.30 a year. All you have to do is go to your basic settings in dashboard and follow the steps. Easy as pie and just as satisfying!

So yesterday I hinted that I’d be elaborating on the technique I used for my gradient nails. And today, as promised, I’ve written a detailed picture tutorial for you guys. Enjoy!

Gradient Nails Picture Tutorial

UPDATE: Here’s a video version!

Before you start, make sure you have everything you need and that it’s easy to reach from wherever you’re sitting. It’s also a good idea to make a quick trip to the bathroom. There’s nothing worse than creating an awesome mani and then ruining it because you didn’t prepare ahead!

What You’ll Need

Two colour polishes and a top coat
You can choose colours that compliment or go bold and pick two that clash. Experiment with different combinations and see what works.

Ombre Nails Tutorial

A sponge, a plastic sheet and toothpicks

I bought a big bathroom sponge and I just cut sections off when I need them. The sections don’t have to be perfectly cut, as long as one side is flat it will work. You can use absolutely any sponge – a make-up sponge, washing up sponge or any other kind of sponge you can find.

If you don’t have any of these plastic wallets in the house, raid the kitchen cupboards for some foil or baking paper.

Ombre Nails Tutorial

How to do Gradient Nails

Step 1
Using the lightest of the two colours, paint your nails and wait for it to dry completely.

Ombre Nails Nail Art Tutorial
Step 2
On a flat surface, paint a generous amount of the colours right next to each other on to the plastic. Make sure they’re just about touching at the edges.

Ombre Nails Nail Art Tutorial

Step 3
Using a toothpick, swirl the two colours together where they meet. The area where they mix will determine the length of the graduation. So if you want a long graduation, mix a bigger section of the colours, if you want less of a fade, just mix them together a tiny bit.

Ombre Nails Nail Art Tutorial

Step 4
Take your sponge and dab it directly down on to the polish a few times.

Ombre Nails Nail Art Tutorial

Step 5
Dab the sponge directly down on to your nail. Keep dabbing lightly and moving it very slightly up and down your nail.

Gradient Nails with a Sponge

You can repeat this step as many times as you need to. Just make sure each layer is completely dry before sponging again otherwise you will start smudging the underneath layers and ruin the whole thing.

Ombre Nails Nail Art Tutorial

Step 6
Add a topcoat. Or two or three! The sponging makes this mani very bumpy so you may need a couple of topcoats just to even out the surface.

Ombre Nails Nail Art Tutorial

Step 7
Clean up all the excess using a brush dipped in acetone or polish remover. I use a q-tip dipped in remover for the big bits I can reach on my skin, then a small brush in pure acetone as I get closer to my nail and to make a crisp line near the cuticles.

Ombre Nails Nail Art Tutorial

All finished!

Ombre Nails Nail Art Tutorial

Gradient Nail Art Tutorial

More Gradients

Art Deco Inspo: New Year’s Nail Art

Art Deco Inspo: New Year’s Nail Art

Harley Quinn x Suicide Squad Nail Art

Harley Quinn x Suicide Squad Nail Art

31DC2015: Psychedelic Animal Print

31DC2015: Psychedelic Animal Print

31DC2015: Sunset Gradient Nails

31DC2015: Sunset Gradient Nails

31DC2015: Black and White Nails with a Skittle

31DC2015: Black and White Nails with a Skittle

31DC2015: Orange Nails with a Chevron Gradient

31DC2015: Orange Nails with a Chevron Gradient

  • Susannah Lee Myers

    So this is pretty belated, but in case anyone’s still reading the comments: My sponge is just *drinking* the nail polish. I mean, I put more polish on the plastic than the vid tutorial shows, and I can only do like two nails with it. The polish is actually soaking through to the other side of the sponge sometimes. I’ve gone through a third of a bottle of nail polish here, and most of it never reaches my nails. Sorry: sponge-rant over now. My question is, is this typical, or have I got a lousy sponge? I was thinking about getting some makeup sponges, but if the same thing happens with them, that wouldn’t make sense.

    • I use a make-up sponge these days and I think they’re the best ones to use. Yes, the amount I’ve put on the plastic here is only enough for one or two ‘layers’ of gradient and you’ll probably need to do at least 2 layers on each nail. It’s best to leave 10 minutes between layers so it’s all dry, then you’ll probably see the gradient better.

      • Susannah Lee Myers

        Thanks so much for replying! Yeah, I put at least that much on the plastic, and I could only do like, one layer on one or two *nails.* I, um, probably should not have even tried to use the flower- and heart-shaped children’s craft sponges from Jo-Ann’s Fabrics… but they were so cute looking… and such pretty colors…

  • FangirlingForFashion

    Def trying this tonight (:

    • FangirlingForFashion

      in sea green, lavender, neon yellow, and coral.. Gotta pick a gradient!

  • Hello! I’m brazilian and I’m fall in love with your website!! Congratulations! I have a website too 😉

  • Matt Dunkle

    Awesome technique thanks for sharing! CJ

  • I can’t wait to try this. Thanks so much for creating this awesome tutorial!

  • Abbey Mcleay

    What do you do with the sponge after? Can you reuse it? If so how do you clean it?

  • Pretty… I love it!

  • Erin

    Best tutorial I’ve seen!! Thank you so much!!

  • Thanks for sharing; Wonderful I love these ideas