French nail art is no longer limited to the original, timeless, classic style of white tipped nails and sheer polish. There are now many options for doing french manicure nail art. You can try different shaped tips, many varieties of colors and completely different designs for new nail art every time. We will teach how to create your own french manicure with step by step guides and show you a selection of the many ways to do french nail art.

Classic French Nail Art


The classic french tip nail art is the perfect manicure for any and every occasion. It is ideal to wear at the office while you work and special enough to use for your wedding day. The french manicure will go with any clothes you wear as well as it is a natural looking effect. This traditional style can be accomplished using a number of techniques. You can freehand paint the tips on if you have steady hands and have had practice at perfecting this method. It helps if you have good nail art brushes to work with, as the brush that comes in your bottle of nail polish may not be thin enough to perfectly create the tips. The most common method of producing this look is to use some sort of tape to ensure you only paint the tips of your nails white. The classic frenchmanicure is to give the illusion that you have naturally, perfect nails all the time.

To Create the Classic French Nail Tips You Will Need a Few Items:


  • Base Coat, Sheer Light Pink Polish, White Polish, and Top Coat Tape
  • (French Tip Guides, Striping Tape, Scotch Tape or Hole Punch Reinforcers)
  • Thin Striping Nail Art Brush (if not using tape)

The polish colours are chosen for the original, classic french manicure of white tipped, pale pink nails. To create this look for yourself follow these steps:

  1. Apply base coat to all of your nails making sure to cover your entire nail. Base coat is important to help protect your nail and to help prevent your polish from chipping. Allow your base coat to dry thoroughly.
  2. Once your base coat is dry, arrange the tape you have in place on each of your nails. Try your best to make sure all the tips of your nails are as even in length as possible. When you are satisfied that your tape is properly arranged, then press the tape down to your nail, making sure the edges are firmly in place. This helps to prevent any polish from leaking under the tape and ruining the look of your tips.
  3. Carefully apply the white polish to the tips of your nails, making sure you do not go over the top edge of your tape. Keep the white polish only on the tips. Apply the white polish to the tips one nail at a time. As soon as you are happy with the tip, immediately remove the tape on that nail before starting the next nail.**It is very important to remove the tape as soon as you are done painting the tip for the best results. Do not leave the tape on while your polish dries as this can ruin the look when you later remove the tape. The polish will be dried to the tape if you wait too long and it can pull off part of your tip when you try to remove it. Always remove the tape immediately after painting for the best results. This rule applies to all nail art that uses tape that you aren’t leaving on the nail.
  4. Once you have finished doing each nail tip allow them to dry completely and then apply a coat of the sheer light pink polish over the entire nail, including the tip. Allow this to dry.
  5. Apply a second coat of the sheer light pink polish again over the entire nail, including the tip and allow this to dry. You may need to do a third coat if you feel it is necessary. The sheerness of the pink polish allows the white color of the tip to come through. You paint the sheer polish over the tip to help create the illusion that this is your natural nail.
  6. Now that you have finished your French manicure apply a layer of top coat to protect your nail polish from chipping and to add more shine to your nails.
  7. Clean up any polish that you may have accidentally gotten onto to your skin to make your manicure appear spotlessly perfect.

There are different types of tape that can be used to measure off the area that you want for the tip. The example in the photo above is specially made French Tip Guide tape that you need to carefully place on your nails so that you will have even lengthed tips. Once you have the tape exactly as you like, you need to press the tape down securely on the nail, especially near the sides next to your skin to prevent the polish from getting under the tape and ruining your tip’s appearance. Other types of tape that can be used are simple scotch tape or striping tape for a straight edge rather than a rounded look or you can even use the circular threering binder paper hole reinforcer tape.


The picture tutorial above shows a step by step approach to doing french nail tips, using a bright neon yellow rather than the classic white tips. Please note that you can cut these rings of tape in half to get twice as much use out of them and only use 5 pieces rather than ten when you try this method by using half on one hand the other half on your other hand. You could also just use the opposite side of the tape for the other hand if you do one hand at a time and still only use 5 pieces of tape.

  1. The first photo just shows the supplies she used to create her manicure. She has three ring binder paper hole reinforcer tape, base coat, sheer pink polish and neon yellow polish.
  2. Carefully place the tape on your nail to ensure the tips will be painted evenly. Be sure to press down the tape at the edges to prevent your polish from getting under the tape.
  3. Paint the tips in your chosen colour, here she has used neon yellow. Please do not leave your tape on your nail after painting the tip, but remove it before starting the next nail for the best results. This tape has only been left on for the picture tutorial to give you an example of how to paint the tips. It is always best to do one nail at a time when using tape that needs to be taken off, to prevent any damage to the tip polish. (See step 3 in the first tutorial for further information.)
  4. The end result, cute neon yellow french nail art.

French Nail Art using a Sponge:

French Nail Art using a Sponge:


Another technique for creating a french nails design is to sponge on the tips for a gradient appearance. You can use any sponge like a makeup triangle, that you have around the house. Dip the sponge into the nail polish colour that you wish to use and dab it onto the tips of your nails. This creates a gradual change of colour on your nail for the tip.

Chevron Print French Nail Tip


This french nail art has been done using a chevron look with dots. In this case you would paint the white tips and dots after you have painted the yellow polish. This is because the yellow is not sheer and you are not creating a classic french manicure, but a modern look based on the french tip idea. You could try recreating this design using any two colors you like, but white for the tips is traditional.

Dotted Style French Nail Art

Here the french nails design has been given a twist using dots over dots to create the tips. The nails were painted with the blue polish completely and then a row of white dots across the nail near the tips was done. This was followed by a row of blue dots using the same blue polish and dotted over the bottom of the row of white dots. A second row of white dots was added over the bottom of the blue dots and then finally finished off with another row of blue dots at the very bottom of the nails. This creates a ruffled or rippled effect on the tips.

For a simple straight tipped, freehand, french nail art idea using solid colour polishes check out the tutorial video:

French Manicure Nail Tutorial


This photo shows another example of a slight twist to the original french manicure nail art. The nail is done in a nude color and stamped over using a delicate pattern in white. A standard white french tip then covers the pattern at the bottom of the nail. This style adds a little more flair and trendiness to the basic french nail art.

French Nail Art using Glitter


French tip nail art doesn’t have to be done using white polish on the tips, but can look stunning with beautiful glitter. This makes the tips the highlight of your manicure and would look gorgeous sparkling in the sunlight in the daytime or worn out for a special evening. You can use a glitter nail polish or glitter powder to create this type of french nail art.

Glitter can be difficult to remove later, but there are various tricks you can use to make it easier. If you are planning to wear glitter on your nails for a short period of time, say out for one evening, then you can use white glue for your base coat rather than a base coat polish. Simply brush the white glue on your nail like you would any base coat and wait for it to completely dry. Apply your polish on top as normal. One problem with using white glue for your base coat is that you will not be able to successfully use any tape to create your french nail art, but will have to rely on freehand. Unfortunately, the tape pulls off the glue under it and ruins the manicure. The great thing about using white glue for your base coat is that when you want to remove your nail art you simply peel it off, making glitter removal simple. If you haven’t used white glue for your base coat under your glitter, than there are a number of tutorials you can find online for how to make glitter removal easier.

French Manicure Nail Art done with Stars:


Dare to be different and try using other colors for your french tips. Why not use black, as in this photo above. They have then gone over the black polish tips with white star shapes for added pizzazz. This photo also shows they have taken the tips and spread the design all over for an accent nail. This is a wonderful way to spice up your look while keeping it all together by using the same design throughout.

French Nails Design With Swirls and Stripes:


This french nail art uses the two stripe method, which uses two different colored stripes for the tips. In this case, a wider pink and thinner black stripes were used to create these tips. They then continued using the black color over the pink to make swirls and dots on the tips. They also applied pink gems to the tops of the nails for added glamour.

French Nails Design with Roses


You don’t need to use tape to create perfect tips, as this photo demonstrates. This french nail art is adorable with tiny roses used in a row along the tips of the nails. She has used a pale pink to cover the entire nail and then a darker pink swirled with white to create the roses. She then added little green leaves to complete the floral effect. There are a few ways you can create roses, so if this method doesn’t work for you, try looking up new rose tutorials online. You don’t have to use roses you could try any flower or any design you can think of to make unique french tips.

Diagonal French Nail Tips

Diagonal French Nail Tips

Diagonal french nail art is another variation that you can use to create beautiful nails. Simply use some striping tape or scotch tape to measure off the diagonal angle that you wish to try. Like the french tip instructions above, paint the tip area in the colour you have chosen. If you wish to do a second colour or more, be sure the layer of polish you applied previously is thoroughly dry before placing more tape to guide the next colour. You can use colours that will compliment each other or be more daring and try ones that are contrasting and more noticeable.

If the world of nail art is new to you than you may wish to start off with the traditional french manicure for your first time trying something fancy. Once you master french nail art try using different colours and eventually different styles altogether. You can create endless possibilities with your use of colours and designs relying on this template for the base of your idea. You can wear art everyday on your fingertips.


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