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Perfecting Nail Art Techniques

No nail artist started with the beautifully shaped, designed and colored works of art you find yourself pinning and pining over. Everyone started with half-baked ideas, shaky hands and messy disasters. It takes the right tools, practice and time to perfect your nail art techniques, but with a few tips from a pro, you'll have a foundation to start building upon for truly tantalizing art!

To improve your nail art techniques, you need to build yourself an arsenal of tools that you are comfortable using. Here are two of my go-to techniques!

Use the Right Brushes and Dotting Tools
Brushes are dirt cheap, and finding the one that fits you best is just a matter of trial and error. I always carry very skinny brushes, both short and long. Short skinny brushes are great for detailing on small designs, while long skinny brushes are perfect for easy straight lines and consistently sized lines. You will also want at least one dotting tool; however, most of them come in sets of 5 dotters, each with 2 sizes on the ends (for a total of 10 dot sizes).

There's a really easy way to get the perfect dot every time. Once you select the dotter head you like, practice holding it. Think about what's most comfortable in your hand. Then follow these steps.

Nail Art Techniques Dotting Tool

1. Place a blob of nail polish on a piece of paper.

2. Dip your dotter in the blob of polish.

3. Dab the dotter on the piece of paper to remove excess. (When you first pick up the polish on your dotter, the size of the polish bubble will vary. By dabbing the paper first, the dot on your nail should be the same size each time.)

4. Finally, dab your dotter on your nail.

How to Hold the Brush
The way you hold your brush while polishing is probably one of the most crucial techniques to perfect. And, while it takes time to "nail" it, you'll find designing much easier once you've mastered it. Create a fulcrum, or a support, for your hand to give you maximum control of your wrist and fingers. Your fulcrum should be the pinky or ring finger on your dominant hand resting on another surface (either your painting surface or your hand). By anchoring your other hand with your fulcrum, you'll have a much steadier hand. Take a look at these pictures for a clearer look at what I'm talking about.

Nail Art Techniques Hold a Brush

While using a finger as a fulcrum will give you great control, you should also be comfortable contorting your other hand, to meet the needs of your design. For me, painting a circle is easier on one half of the circle than the other. So I'll twist my hand around, allowing me to paint the other half of the circle in the same direction as the first. You're not painting a mural on a wall, so twist yourself!

Keep practicing to master each of these nail art techniques. Rome wasn't built in a day, as the saying goes, and neither were nail artists: Practice makes perfect!

For more nail art know-how from Katy, go to Nailed it.

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Katy Parsons

Katy is a budding nail technician with a fervor for striking, original nail art and a passion for polish. Her bold designs are created in Boulder, Colorado, but through her tutorials and inspirational designs, she's spreading the joy of nail art to lacquer lovers everywhere!

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