Menu Join now Search

How to Create Water-Striped Nails

These water-striped nails take applying nail polish and nail design to a whole new level! I love water designs. It's so fun to make patterns on the fly once the polish is floating on top of the water. If you haven't tried a water design yet, this is a great one to practice with. Out of all the nail art designs I've done, this one is definitely the most fun! Check out my step-by-step directions below and follow along with my video instructions.

One of the most fun parts of doing water nail designs is watching the polish spread across the top of the water. It's almost like magic. You'll get the best results with new polishes. If your polish is too old, the drop of polish will sink to the bottom of your cup. I personally love working with China Glaze polishes when doing this technique. Their polish formula is viscous enough to spread on top of the water, yet thick enough to give your nails great color!

Materials Needed:

  • Two colors of polish
  • Scotch tape
  • Hand sanitizer
  • A sewing needle
  • A small cup of water
  • A cotton swab or orange wood stick
  • Cotton balls
  • Polish remover

Step-by-Step Directions:

  1. Start by applying a base coat to all of your nails, then apply two layers of white polish to each nail if you're using the same color scheme I did. If not, apply two coats of the lightest color you're using.
  2. While that polish is drying, cover the skin around your nails with Scotch tape. This will make the clean-up process much easier.
  3. Place about four or five drops of your second polish color in the cup of water. Wait 5-10 seconds for the polish to dry on top of the water.
  4. Dip the sewing needle in hand sanitizer and then use it to create your stripes in the polish on top of the water. The alcohol in the sanitizer will separate the polish.
  5. Position your fingernail directly over the striped pattern you just created and carefully dip the nail into the design.
  6. Dip the orange wood stick or cotton swab into the cup and swirl through the water, collecting all the polish remnants.
  7. Repeat the process for all your nails. When you've finished, remove the tape from your fingers and use a cotton ball dipped in polish remover to clean up any remaining polish.
  8. Finish off the design by applying a clear topcoat.

Find more nail art tutorials at!

Jocelyn Merkley

Jocelyn is a turtle catcher, cat lover, nail artist and a wife and mother on the side. She loves to plan parties and girls nights that always include lots of nail polish! Her motto is that you always feel better with painted nails!

More You'll Love

Bandana Nail Art Is Proving This Paisley Accessory Is Totally Back In Style
We Found The Best Black Lipstick To Take You Beyond Halloween
Cool Off This Summer With A Popsicle Nails Mani
17 'Wonder Woman' Manicures That You Don't Need To Be A Superhero To Wear
Fidget Spinner Nails Bring The Fun To Your Fingertips
The Best Glitter Eyeshadow Palettes for a Glam Night-Out Look
Look Like A Rockstar With A Trendy Geode Manicure
These Viral
Gender Reveal Manicures Will Help You Nail That Exciting Announcement