How to Paint Flowers on My Toenails

Painting flowers on your toenails is a fun project.
Painting flowers on your toenails is a fun project. (Image: nail polishes image by Oleg Ivanov from

Every once in a while, the artist that lies within bursts forth and inspires a fit of toenail decorating. Summertime is often the impetus. Sandals come out, and feet are bared to the world. But any time of year can be the right time to paint your toenails. In fact, wintertime might be the best time to paint flowers on your toenails. You can do it using the standard brush inside any bottle of nail polish. A bit of foot pampering and creativity can be just the thing for a cold winter night when there’s nothing else to do.

Things You'll Need

  • Nail polish in various colors
  • Nail polish remover
  • Cotton balls
  • Footbath
  • Towels
  • Straight toenail clipper
  • Emery boards
  • Toothpicks
  • Clear nail polish
  • Toenail separator

Choose the colors you’ll use based on the type of flowers you want. A simple flower to paint on your toes is a daisy. If you don’t have colored nail polish on hand, purchase it at your local pharmacy or beauty outlet.

Remove any old nail polish using the nail polish remover and cottonballs.

Soak your toes in a warm, soapy footbath for 15 to 20 minutes to clean your feet and toenails and prepare them for a quick pedicure before painting. Add some additional relaxing solutions to the footbath, and massage your feet if you like.

Towel dry your feet, and clip your toenails. Use a straight toe clipper to clip each nail straight across. Don’t clip your nails at an angle, as this can encourage ingrown toenails.

File your toenails. Use the lighter side of an emery board to make just a few gentle passes along the surface of the nails on your toes to remove any ridges and create a smooth surface. Use a gentle touch, and don’t overdo it. Wipe off any dust with a towel.

Apply one coat of nail polish to each toenail. This coat will serve as the background for your flowers, so choose a color that will contrast with the colors you chose for your flowers. For example, if you chose white petals and yellow centers, apply a coat of dark color nail polish. If you chose dark blue petals, apply a pale color coat of nail polish.

Allow the polish to fully dry for at least 45 minutes. Nail polish can take up to one hour to dry completely.

Paint the flower petals on your big toenails first. Hold the nail polish brush at a 90-degree angle to your toenail. Touch the brush once against your big toenail for each petal, allowing the elongated length and shape of the brush to create an elongated petal in just one stroke. Work in a circle, and overlap each petal at the center until you have approximately five to six petals. Do the same for your other big toenail.

Paint the flower petals for your smaller toenails. Because these toenails are much smaller than your big toenail, you will create round rather than elongated petals, using a toothpick for better control. Dip the toothpick into the nail polish you chose for the petal color, and touch the toothpick to the nail to form the first petal; continue that process, overlapping each dot at the center, until you complete a circle of five to six petals.

Allow the petals to dry for 45 minutes.

Add the centers. Use a different toothpick to add dots in the nail polish color you chose for the centers of each flower. Allow them all to dry for 45 minutes.

Apply at least one and preferably two coats of clear nail polish to seal your work. Allow 45 minutes of drying time between the first and second coat of clear polish.

Tips & Warnings

  • Use a toenail separator while you paint your nails. It helps to prevent your toes from accidentally smudging your nails as you work.
  • Although daisies have white or gold petals and gold or black centers, you can paint the petals and center any colors you like. Some colorful combinations are blue petals and yellow centers, dark pink petals and yellow centers, or gold petals and brown centers. White petals with gold centers is a classic combination as well, and it really pops on a dark background.
  • As you work on the petals, wipe off excess polish each time you dip the brush to prevent drips.
  • Not allowing the full drying time for each step will ruin your efforts. Polishing over an unhardened layer will smear the underlying layer. Wait the full 45 minutes between each step.

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