DIY Nail Designs with Sharpie Marker

DIY Nail Designs with Sharpie Marker

Experiment time! I love the trend of all these nail polish designs, but nail polish is difficult to use for details because it pools or runs. I know they now make nail polish in a pen, but I’ve not tried those yet. However, I always have lots of Sharpie markers on hand! So I tested it out, and here’s what I learned:

  1. You must use a clear top coat to protect your design. Without the top coat, the ink fades and may rub off.
  2. If you make a mistake, use rubbing alcohol to remove the ink without disturbing the nail polish underneath.
  3. If you’re right handed like me, your right hand may end up looking CRAZY! So either, opt for a more simple design on your less-dominant hand (like polka dots or single stripe), have a friend help, or be okay with imperfection 🙂
  4. Use ultra-fine point markers for small details; fine point for polka dots, stripes, and moderate detail; and use a wide-tip marker for minimally-detailed designs like a french tip or large stripes.
  5. When applying your protective top coat, the fewer strokes with the brush, the better. The marker ink will smear a bunch if you’re not careful!



NOTE: If you want your polish to last as long as possible, I highly recommend a clear base coat before applying the color. It would be a shame to do some fantastically cool design only to have it chipping off a day or two later!

Once the clear base coat is dry, apply 1-2 thin layers of nail polish in whatever color you like. Allow polish to dry COMPLETELY before using the marker. Once your base color is dry, go crazy with your Sharpie marker! Just be sure to protect it all with a clear top coat!

chevron polish

Chevron is currently one of my favorite patterns!

sharpie nails2_racing stripe2

This single wide stripe down the center was super easy, even with my left hand! It kind of resembles a cat eye. It’s hard to tell in this picture, but I used black Sharpie over lavender. This would be cool to try with a silver Sharpie or black over a metallic polish!



I love the look of black on beige! And I also like the idea of one nail having a different design. What do you think?

Here are some other ideas I saw after trying my own:

rainbow nails

rainbow tie-dye nails from Quixii’s Nails


bonnie L

flames: photo by Bonnie L. at

There are so many designs you could do with a Sharpie and some polish. I hope you try out some of these looks or are inspired to create your own design!


Thanks for stopping by.

5 thoughts on “DIY Nail Designs with Sharpie Marker

  1. Hi! Love these examples.. specially the chevron and rainbow tie-dye nails from Quixii’s Nails! Thanks for showing 🙂

    Also, on a side note.. the “If you’re right handed like me, your left hand may end up looking CRAZY!” .. for me, if I am right handed dominant, my right hand is the one drawn on by the non-dominant hand.. soo… its my right hand that ends up being Crazy because I drew on it with my non dominant left hand.

  2. no problem 🙂 Im still trying to get to the point where I can play with my sharpies. Im using a white basecoat and that has to be the hardest base colour to use! lol

    • A tip I learned for applying white nail polish is to keep it away from the nail bed, as it has a tendency to make the skin around the nail look bad. That’s what I was told, & I tend to agree unless my cuticles are perfectly manicured & moisturized.

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