black colorful shattered glass nails
Image: Chalkboard Nails

15 DIY Nail Art Stencil Patterns

There’s certainly a wide world of stencil patterns out there: everything from super hero signs to flowers. But what happens when you want to save money or further customize your own look? You get creative, that’s what. Below are some wildly creative ideas for making your own DIY nail art stencil patterns.

Masking tape hole punch: Get some masking tape and a shaped hole punch. Punch the design into the tape, lay it on your fingernail and you have an instant homemade nail stencil.

Netting fish scales: Want a fun aquatic theme? Lay a basecoat of polish, let it dry and then lay some netting over your nails from some lace or a fruit bag. Paint the nail polish over the netting for instant fish scales.

Scotch tape stencils: This is a popular DIY stencil hack. Just cut the Scotch tape in the shape you want, and lay it over a dry basecoat of polish. Then paint to get your customized style.

Floss splatter art: To get a fun design, paint a basecoat, and dip some floss in some polish. Lay the floss over your nail for an abstract striped pattern.

Foil shattered glass nails: This idea doesn’t create your own stencil, but it’ll make you look like you could have used one. Lay a nail polish basecoat down and then put small flecks of gum wrapper foil in the wet polish. Let your nails dry. Paint over the design with a clear gel polish for a 3-D, yet smooth, look.

Painter’s tape nails: Put some painter’s tape on some freezer paper. Cut out the pattern you like, chevron or zigzag for instance. Take the tape off the paper, and you have your stencil.

Plastic wrap art: This is another cute idea that will make it look like you used a stencil. Lay a basecoat of polish, let it dry and then paint on another coat. While the topcoat is still wet, dab it with some plastic wrap to make the undercoat show through in attractive flecks. It looks great with a solid topcoat and a glitter undercoat.

Foil nails: Again, this will make it look like you used a stencil. Apply patterned nail foil for an easy, quick creation.

Pencil eraser stamps: This idea will take a little carving know-how. Carve your desired shape into an eraser pencil, dip it into some nail polish and stamp it onto your nails. Not a stencil, but you’ll get a stencil-like pattern.

Band-Aid stencils: You can also cut out the shape you want from the sticky party of a Band-Aid, and simply put it on your nails to paint over as a stencil.

Tinsel/stripping tape nails: You can also make some creative, fun geometric designs by using either strips of tinsel or thin stripping tape as stencils.

Marble nails with water: This is a neat method that feels like a science experiment, and you’ll look like you used some funky stencils. Paint a basecoat, and let it dry. Then add a drop of a different nail polish to a cup of water. Spray that drop with hair spray to add bubbles. Dip your nails in, and you’ll end up with a splatter pattern.

Silhouette machine: If you have a Silhouette machine, you can easily use these to create stencils.

Reinforcement label: You can also use those ring reinforcement labels as a nail stencil. These can create fun half moon designs.

Tape with funky scissors: Cut some tape with some scissors that have a fun edge, like waves, and you’ll have an instant nail stencil with minimal effort.