The utter thought of doing nail art on oneself can bring a girl to tears, but nail art doesn’t need to be complicated. You can take a few deep breaths and be rest assured that there is one foolproof design–the polka dot–that will give your tips a polished and skilled look. Polka dots are the answer to both veteran and nail art newbie’s prayers, and with hundreds of ways to wear them, your nails will look fresh and fabulous in minutes.
Dating back to 1854, polka dots have touched everything from fashion to home décor, and now are an integral part of nail design. No matter the era or specific style you’re trying to convey, you can create the perfect polka dot manicure with a dotting tool, bobby pin, or toothpick, and a little imagination.
Here are six ways to wear polka dot nails using your signature nail polish hue or the season’s hottest nail colors.

A Single Dot

one dot manicure tutorialA rich look for an elegant evening out, the Single Dot manicure is a simpler version of a half-moon manicure and rhinestone enhancements. Start your mani with a deep crème lacquer, then dab one metallic dot in the center of your nail towards your cuticle. Your nails will look clean, while showing enough sparkle to accentuate your tips.

A Subtle Line

row of polka dots manicureA personal favorite here at MDC, a subtle line is ideal for the girl who wants to rock nail art, but doesn’t want an overly noticeable manicure. Apply a summer-y neutral polish, and then use a white lacquer and dab a row of dots (decreasing in size) toward the tip of your nail.

Tribal

triangle polka dot manicureThe thick of festival season may be over, but wearing a boho chic manicure isn’t only for watching your favorite bands in the sun. This design will up the ante on your nail art skills and add flair to your best summer look. Making small dots side by side, create a triangle at the base or tip of each nail.

The Round About

polka dots on the outer edge manicureThis can be achieved various ways and follows the same technique as the subtle line. Polish your nails in any color–we used a pastel purple here–and then follow the smile line or side of your nail with a row of dots. The key to this design is the colors you select; this will determine how much focus ends up on your tips.

Overlapping

multi-colored polka-dot nailsFor the young at heart, an overlapping polka dot design is playful and reminiscent of those gorgeous large glitter polishes that you struggle to get out of the bottle. Create dimension and texture when you dot complementary colors on top of one another. Selecting nudes or deep shades will transform this look into a mature and classic manicure.

All Over

all over polka dots nailsIf you’re still convinced that your nail art skills aren’t top notch or don’t have time to meticulously place each dot (we’re busy women!), then Maybelline has you covered. Their newest line of nail polish, Color Show Nail Lacquer PolkaDots Collection, gives your nails statement-making spots instantly. No need to apply three different shades of lacquer to create the ideal polka dot manicure. Instead, simply brush on two coats of one of their five hues, apply a top coat, and let your nails shine!
Ready to get dotty? Here are some of our favorite summer polishes to help you get your own look: What’s your favorite way to wear dots? Let us know below!