If you’re in tune with the latest trends, you’ve probably tried your hand at nail art by using an online DIY tutorial. But have you ever noticed that some online tutorials can make the designs appear much easier to recreate than they actually are? While the video makes it seem like you can free-hand adorable animals on each of your fingernails in under 5 minutes, your version looks more like colored blobs of polish that vaguely resemble balloons.  

The next time you want to take your look to the next level, try one of these simple yet elegant DIY nail designs. These styles are easy to apply yourself so you’ll finally be able to achieve a salon-quality manicure without the expensive price tag. What’s not to love? 

1. Striping Tape Nails

After you’ve applied a clear base coat to your nails, create different geometric designs on your nails using nail tape. This method will let you incorporate different blocks of color on your nails, resulting in a lovely effect. 

2. Foil Nails 

Foil nails are an easy and inexpensive manicure option. All you need to achieve this look is nail foil, a clear top coat, Q-tips, and some nail foil glue. Warning: There are so many fun color and pattern options when it comes to nail foils—picking the perfect one will not be an easy task! 

3. Triangle Nails

This adorable nail trend is the perfect manicure for spring! You can even use Scotch tape to create the triangle outlines on each nail. Once you’ve filled in the triangle shapes with polish, use another fun color to paint the rest of your nails.

4. Outline Nails

After you’ve applied a clear base coat, use a darker polish color to outline your nail. Once your outline polish is dry, use a different color of polish to fill in the center of your nails while leaving the edge of the outline exposed. 

5. Nail Stamping 

Nail stamps make it easier than ever to fill your nails with intricate details. After you’ve purchased your favorite stamping plate, apply polish to the plate and then wipe off the excess polish before pressing the stamp onto your nail. As you can see, the results are stunning! 

6. Ombre Nails

Ombre nails are totally in style. You can use a makeup or eyeshadow sponge to apply the various polish colors all at once. Your friends will be so impressed by your (simple!) skill. 

7. Matte-Gloss Combo Nails 

Layering a glossy polish on top of a matte polish creates a super chic effect. You can free-hand different designs such as stripes, polka dots, or even hearts. 

8. Nail Decals

If you don’t have time to wait for your nail polish to dry, try using decals. For a more subtle effect, use a decal just on your accent nail.  

9. Newspaper Nails

Extra! Extra! Read all about it! After you’ve painted your nails with white polish, allow the polish to dry and then soak each finger in rubbing alcohol for approximately 5 seconds before pressing your favorite pieces of text firmly onto each nail. 

10. Nail Stencils

Can’t free-hand to save your life? You’re definitely not alone. A package containing ten nail stencils can be purchased at most drugstores for around $5. These nail stencils will help you transform your basic polish into an elegant manicure that is sure to turn heads.  

What do you think? Which nail designs are your favorites?