If you’ve been looking for a simple way to create nail art designs, a convenient, mess-free solution is to use a nail color pen. These pens provide a small, concentrated application of color precisely where you want it, thus making it ideal for drawing shapes as well as making small touch-ups to your nails. However, nail polish can stain easily, and so it’s important to prepare your nails by applying a base coat. This also prevents the colored polish from discoloring your nails.

Things You'll Need

File and buff your nails to make them smooth and absorbent. Doing so will help them soak up the base coat, which has nail-strengthening properties. Furthermore, buffing your nails will reduce the appearance of vertical ridges on the nails, which can often ruin the effect of nail designs.

Push your cuticles gently down towards the base of the nail. This helps give your nails a longer, better groomed appearance and helps prevent nail polish from going out of the nail’s natural lines.

Paint a thin coat of the base coat onto your nails and let it set until it is completely dry. The base coat should be completely smooth to prevent any bumps or gouges in the final nail design.

Brush the colored nail polish onto your nails using long, even strokes. Coat the nail evenly from nail bed to tip. Wait for the coat to dry before proceeding.

Shake the nail pen to evenly mix the contents, and then click the paint dispensing mechanism three or four times. You do not need a lot for this portion, so stop when you see paint at the tip of the pen.

Paint five evenly-spaced dots in a circle onto your nails using the nail pen. If you find that your drawing hand is unsteady, support your wrist or elbow on a table to keep it from shaking. These dots will correspond to the star’s points when the designs are complete, so make the dots small and tidy. Next, draw a V-shape between all nearer dots to make the outline of a star. Carefully color the shape in and let it dry.

Paint a clear top coat onto your nails once the stars have finished drying. This keeps the nail polish from chipping and helps your design last longer.


  • If you find that your design is a bit uneven, there is no need to start all over again. Instead, dip a cotton swab into some nail polish remover and simply take off the smeared paint.

References and Resources

Sally Hansen: Nail Color Pen