Gel Nail Ideas

Add flair to your gel nails with designs.
Add flair to your gel nails with designs. (Image: Creatas/Creatas/Getty Images)

Artificial gel nails are an alternative to traditional acrylic nails. Gel nails can withstand water and don't lift like acrylic nails. There are endless artistic ideas that can be designed into gel nails. Since they are applied as a gel in layers, you can add flowers, small jewels or different colored gels into your designs.

Dried Flowers

When using clear gel nails, there are tiny dried flowers you can incorporate into your designs. Start with a bendable nail form and fit it snugly against the tip of your finger. With clear or lightly colored nail gel, you apply it with a small brush to your fingertip edge and extend it out to create length. Cure the gel under a UV lamp for about 10 seconds. You can then add mini dried flowers in any pattern you like on the gel. Then apply another layer of gel over the flowers and cure them for two minutes. Use a file and shape and smooth out the edges of your gel nails.

Color Changing Gels

Color changing gels are a nice added effect to nails along with rhinestones or other decals. Apply a soft colored base coat of gel to your nail or an artificial nail tip. Cure it under a UV light for 20 seconds. Then apply a layer of color changing gel over the base and cure it for 30 seconds. You then can add some decals, jewels or mini dried flowers to your designs. You can also use different colored gel to add a variety of color to your gel nails. Apply a thin layer of clear gel over your design and cure under the UV light once more. Shape your nails with a file afterward.

Nail Foils

Nail foiling is a growing trend and is inexpensive. Nail foil kits are available to purchase in nail salons or beauty supply stores. They come in a large variety of designs, patterns or holographic designs. You apply the foil to your gel nails. You can cover the whole nail or just part of the nail. Apply a thin layer of clear gel over the foil and seal it with the UV light. Then shape your nails with a file, and buff the top layer to create shine.

3D Nail Art

3D gel nail designs are very eye catching, but time consuming to create. After having your gel nails applied and cured, you create small shapes or flowers to add to the nail itself. You use the brush and some colored gel and create small shapes or petals for flowers on wax paper. Cure the small shapes under the UV light to harden them. Use nail glue and tweezers to apply your gel shapes onto your nails in the desired pattern. You can use this technique to create flowers, fruit, animals or other themes for your gel nails. Finish with a coat of clear polish to help seal the 3D art in place.

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