Put a Bow On It: Bow Nail Manicure

I’m not going to lie to you. This bow nail design takes a heaping spoonful of time and patience and, additionally, a steady hand. 

With that said, it can be done by anyone–and I do mean anyone–who possesses those qualities (and a tiny paintbrush, of course). It also helps if you have some good music or your favorite TV show playing while you paint away. Or you could try painting with a friend. That’s always a good time, too.

Anyway, enough rambling! When I painted this bow nail design, I became instantly obsessed with it and I know you will love it, too. You know it’s a good manicure if you’re distracted by your very own fingers on a minute-ly basis.

Bow Nail Manicure Tutorial

Step 1: Prep and Paint Tips

Prep and Paint Tips

Prepare your nails by removing all old nail polish, buffing, filing and applying a cuticle oil. This keeps your cuticles in tip-top shape. Afterward, apply a clear base coat of polish. Begin your design by painting the tips one color. I chose plum because I thought it was fitting for the fall months. You don’t have to worry about perfect tips, since you’re going to paint over them in the next step.

Step 2: Paint Lines

Paint Lines

Paint a thin line of your second color on the interior edge of the tip you just painted. You can use a striping tool or a small paintbrush for this.

Step 3: Paint Triangles

Paint Triangles

Paint two inverse triangles on the right side of your line in the same color you painted your line. It’s a little hard to see in this picture, but they should essentially look like this: l>

Step 4: Outline with Black

Outline with Black

Here’s the most time-consuming part of this nail design. Take your time and use a steady hand. Using the smallest brush you own, trace your line, your knot and the edges of your triangles. I placed two “crinkle” lines on each triangle for a more realistic effect. Follow up with a top coat and you’re good to go.



Wendy is a freelance writer who lives in Phoenix. Wendy's specialty is fashion and beauty and her work can be found both online and in print. She's written for myriad publications and blogs, including Glamour Magazine, Yahoo! Shine, Tyra Banks' TypeF.com, the Huffington Post, StyleList.com, Latest-Hairstyles.com. She also serves as Style Editor at AOL Shopping. She believes that every day should be a good hair day and that you should never leave the house without a fabulous pair of shoes.