Funky Nails - Gradient Effect.

Funky Nails. 3 Techniques. Get the Wow Factor

Nicole Make it. Fix it. Do it Yourself.

If someone had to ask me  what accessory I couldn’t live without I’d have to say NAIL POLISH! There are millions of fun colours and effects that it’s so simple to do it yourself. Funky nails always adds a bit of fun to any outfit and can be a conversation starter 🙂 I find the process rather therapeutic but most of all it makes my hands happy 😀

POST UPDATE January 2016:

I’ve come a long way on my green journey since writing this post back in 2014. As mentioned above my outfit never felt complete without nail polish. As I continue to research the products I use everyday it became apparent that most of them contained toxic chemicals that have serious effects on your health. And sadly that included nail polish.

Today I don’t paint my nails at all and I do miss having colourful nails! However I believe prevention is better than cure.

There are alternative brands out there that are “non-toxic” or labeled as 5 free. This means they are free from the following most toxic ingredients:

  1. Formaldehyde
  2. Dibutyl Phthalate
  3. Toluene
  4. Camphor
  5. Formaldehyde Resin

The techniques described below can be used with these brands but please note I’ve not personally tried them. I’ve discovered them and wanted to share them with you.

For more info on the effects of these toxic ingredients I found this article very helpful.

Painting our nails is an all time favourite activity for my sister and I. Shopping for new colours is a close second! Doing both together = Girls Pamper Party!!!

We’ve both tried our fair share of brands and of course our favourites are pretty expensive and I often find myself struggling to part with the 1/4 bottle of thick gloopy polish… Yes yes I  know I should be storing them in my fridge but that would mean my husband finding out the I’ve got about 20+ bottles of nail polish at about $20AUD a pop! Eeek! This brings me to my first and favourite technique:


The Gradient Effect. This is a good way to use up the thick nail polish instead of throwing it away. And it isn’t as time-consuming as you’d think.

Funky Nails - Gradient Effect.

What you need:

  1. Nail polish remover
  2. Cotton pads
  3. Cotton buds
  4. Contrasting colours of nail polish
    • Lighter base colour
    • Darker Top colour that will create the gradient
  5. Top Coat
  6. Dropper (optional but highly recommended)
  7. Sheet of acetate or flat clean surface
  8. Makeup application sponge

What you do:

  1. Add a bit of nail polish remover to your gloopy stuff and shake it up well. This will thin it out. Keep adding as needed. (Invest in a dropper it will make life a lot easier 🙂
  2. Paint 2 coats of the lighter colour. Wait until this is dry before moving on.
  3. Pour a bit of the darker colour onto a flat clean surface. A sheet of acetate works great but a plate or plastic container lid will do fine as well.
  4. Using a makeup sponge dab the darker colour onto your nail starting at the cuticle bed and moving to the top of your nail. Don’t worry about getting the polish all over your fingers you can clean it up later with a cotton buds and pads.
  5. Apply your top coat and you’re done!


If the gradient effect sounds like way too much hard work try these simpler techniques:

Crackle. There are a lot of brands that do these now. What this does is give a cracked pavement effect.

Funky Nails - Crackle Effect.


What you need:

  1. You will need crackle nail polish.
  2. A base colour
  3. A Top Coat

What you do:

  1. Apply a base colour. Wait until this is dry before you move on.
  2. Apply the crackle on top
  3. Finish with a top coat


Glitter.Use glitter nail polish to add a bit of sparkle. You can get these dual colours which are great for traveling.

Funky Nails - Glitter Effect.

What you need:

  1. You will need glitter nail polish.
  2. A base colour
  3. A Top Coat

What you do:

  1. Apply a base colour. Wait until this is dry before you move on.
  2. Apply the glitter on top
  3. Finish with a top coat

The cool thing with the glitter is that each nail will look slightly different.


I hope you enjoyed these techniques to get your nails looking bright and colourful!

P.S. I’m are not affiliated with any of the brands mentioned in this post. They do a great job for getting my nails all dressed up 🙂

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About This Author


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Nicole Kerrigan is a fibre artist and environmentalist who’s on a mission to keep bad stuff out the ground. Through her one-of-a-kind creations, blog posts and workshops she’s here to shake up the way you treat, buy and love your stuff. And when she’s not making art out of trash you can find her exploring natural spaces and exotic places. Making friends with local wildlife. Occasionally rotting her brain on animated sitcoms like South Park :-) Or lighting it up on documentaries like Planet Earth Meet Nicole and get ready to save the planet one stitch at a time at