Trying out new gel nail designs is such a great, easy way to break out of a style rut!
Every time I paint my nails a fun new color or design, it makes me feel much more put together and I always wonder why I don’t do it more often. Sometimes it just takes a little nudge or bit of inspiration – that is what She Tried What is here for! So, we hunted all over Instagram for 33 genius gel nail designs that you will want to copy immediately.
Some of these designs may not use gel polish in the photos, but you can easily recreate using gel polish at home or paint over your gel nails using regular polish. Not sure how? We’re sharing helpful video tutorials below as well. You can also keep it simple and create these designs on your natural nails to look like you just came from the salon!
Before we get started, here’s a tutorial on the basics of applying gel nail polish:
1. Mix & Match Winter Gel Nail Designs
This mix and match nail design is perfect for the Fall or Winter seasons. I adore the rich burgundy and dark green colors. Then, the linear design on the single nail adds such a great touch! This would be so easy to do at home and looks so trendy. Everyone will definitely think you went to the salon.
2. Orange Glitter Summer Nail Design
Speaking of seasonal nails, this design would be perfect for the summer. The bright orange color and scalloped design are so fun and remind me of a mermaid. Then, the gold glitter adds that extra playful touch. You must go watch the tutorial on how she created the mermaid design. This nail design is using Essie’s “Cute As a Button” (coral) and “Tart Deco” (peach) as well as China Glaze’s “Metro Pollen-tin” (orange). I can’t get enough of nail polish names! The stencil to create the mermaid design is from Whats Up Nails.
3. “Chains & Thangs” Nail Design
Melissa appropriately titles this design from her Instagram page, “chains & thangs.” I love the combo of girly floral with edgy chain nail decor. Plus, the matte nail next to the glitter accent is such a great look. You won’t believe the number of amazing designs she creates, so make sure to follow her for endless inspiration.
4. Speckled Polish Nail Design
Thinking this nail art design will take you forever to recreate with all the little speckled dots? Nope! This is actually a bottled nail polish from Painted Polish that goes on just like this! It kind of reminds me of those jaw breakers we used to eat as kids, don’t you think? So adorable – I am dying to try it for myself!
5. Gorgeous Purple Marble Nail Design
Bored of the gel nails you got at the salon? Paint over them with regular polish to create gorgeous gel nail designs! Lindsey from @wondrouslypolished created this brilliant marbling nail art using multiple Wrenn Polish colors. Alissa Wrenn Smith is the mastermind behind this adorable brand, which also makes incredible jewelry that compliments their polish colors perfectly. You can browse and shop her products here.
6. Purple Bandana Nail Art
Going line dancing with your friends? They won’t be able to stop talking about this adorable bandana nail art. This look uses China Glaze’s Secret Peri-wink-le nail polish as well as black & white acrylic paint. A steady hand is required for this detailed nail design, but it’s guaranteed to improve your two-step 😉
7-16. 10 Easy Nail Art Designs for Beginners Video
Feeling unsure of where to get started? I recommend trying one of the options from this video first. It’s really helpful to watch someone do it first so you can see it is not as complicated as it looks. Can’t turn up the sound? Don’t worry, you can still watch without sound and learn how to create these incredible nail designs.
17. Simple, Cute Polka Dot Gel Nail Designs
Already have a pair of white gel nails? Easily transform them by just adding a design layer for easy and super cute gel nail designs like this one. This design uses Drizzle Dry fast-drying nail polishes to make the process even faster. This is especially helpful if layering colors like in this design. She also uses a special “dotter” tool, which you can get for extra perfect polka dots. Otherwise, just use a toothpick you have around the house to try it out.
18. “Less is More” Nail Design
I can’t get enough of this gorgeous look! Such a simple design with the matte pink nails, line of jewels on the accent nail and these rings…amazing! So well styled. This is a perfect example of “less is more.”
19. Sassy Hot Pink Stamped Gel Nail Designs
Time for some sassy hot pink nails! Their burst design is cute and fun. Don’t worry, you don’t have to draw this design by hand. You can use nail stamping. Not sure what that is? I wasn’t either. Then, I watched a video tutorial like this one below and was mesmerized by it. I could honestly watch videos these nail art videos over and over – I find them so relaxing and interesting.
Are you as excited to try nail stamping as I am?!
20. “Go Nude” Designs
Loving this nude, black & gold design! She’s using Wonderland’s “Looks Nude,” “Pitch Black” and “Gold Rush” to get this look as well as stencils from @nailstencils. Love this fun new take on gel nail designs to create them over a nude polish!
21. Ombre Gel Nail Designs
Ombre is such a hot trend in fashion, in hair, and nails is no exception. I adore these pastel ombre nails that are perfect for Spring. Hannah Weir (@thenailtrail) also has a great YouTube channel where I could spend hours watching her paint her nails. I actually included one of her videos (on Chrome nails below).
22. Mix & Match Gel Nail Designs
I could get lost in the countless swoon-worthy nail designs on Nina’s Instagram. She is unbelievably creative and always styles her looks with the best midi rings you can find here. She has even teamed up with Scratch to create one of their limited edition, monthly nail wrap sets. Nail wraps are another great option to change up your nails and can be applied on top of gel nail designs from the salon or just regular nails. Not sure about how nail wraps work and how to apply them? Don’t worry I was in the same boat and found this helpful video:
23. Marble Nail Art
I am a marble-addict. I absolutely love the look, so when I found out I could have DIY marble nails, obviously I was all for it! I love how Paulina uses the marble as just an accent nail in this design. It is a bit more labor intensive technique, so doing this on just a couple fingers instead of 10 would save a ton of time. In watching videos, I found out that there were multiple ways to create the marble look. My favorite is the water technique shown in the video tutorial below.
24. Geometric Gel Nail Designs
I am loving this nail design! The gold geometric details and the rich burgundy color – I can’t get enough. Watch a tutorial on how Jess creates it here. This is another design created by nail stamping.
25. Gel Nail Designs for the Doughnut-Lover
Aren’t these doughnut inspired nails the cutest thing? There is something so appealing about the bright pink with sprinkles that I just can’t get enough of. Perfect for a birthday or National Doughnut Day, but hey we like them for any day of the week. Be sure to check out Say It With Polish’s site and Instagram page for major nail art inspiration and to shop their polish.
26. Girly Stud Nail Art
I love how these nails are super girly with the pink and floral pattern and then are accented with studs. It is a playful mashup of styles: prep meets punk. You can get the studs she used at Daily Charme. I also found out that eBay is a popular place to shop for nail decor items like these.
27. Cute Accent Nail Designs
If you couldn’t tell by some of my other picks, I am a huge fan of the glitter accent nail. It just adds that little bit of sparkle that is perfect for a mix & match manicure. This nail design is girly and fun and perfect for everyday wear. It is so versatile that you could truly wear it any time of the year.
28. Simple Polka Dot Accent Nail Art
Speaking of accent nails, how cute is this simple design with a black and white polka dot accent nail? Not to mention, that gorgeous mint green polish. Super simple and perfect for a beginner, yet this small touch really elevates the design. Understated and adorable.
29. Chrome Tip Gel Nail Designs
Another super hot nail trend right now is Chrome nails. This design puts a fun spin on the popular design by doing chrome tips on a black nail. It is edgy and chic and I love it! Chrome nails may look like something you have to go to the salon for, but no! You can actually do it at home as demoed in the video below.
30. Geometric Pastel Nail Art
I adore this trendy geometric design. From the color choice to the glitter striping, what is not to love? I love the ring pairing too; it perfectly fits this look.
31. Lace Nail Stamping Design
The lace details of this nail design are so subtle and gorgeous! These were created by nail stamping as well and you can watch the simple tutorial here. Simple, sweet and sophisticated.
32. More Cute Mix & Match Nail Art
Love the periwinkle color and the gold polka dot accent nail from this Mix & Match design. This Instagram page will give you major midi ring envy too. She has dozens of different adorable rings.
33. Black & Gold Marbled Gel Nail Designs
Our last nail design inspiration is this rockstar design. I love the mix of the matte nails with the gold foil marbling that is so unique! Deco Miami is a brand that I found through these popular nail artists on Instagram.
I hope you found some great nail design inspiration and pinned one of the looks on your Pinterest board (follow STW!) to try later! I think it would be such a fun girls night to get together and try some of the great techniques shared in this video like nail stamping, nail wraps, chrome nails and more. If you all pitch in for the supplies, it will probably cost less than a night out to dinner and be way more interactive and fun.
When your friends ask you where you heard about all these super creative techniques and designs, be sure to tell them about She Tried What. Then, you can both subscribe and try out all our DIYs and hacks together!
Share your favorite of the gel nail designs below and happy polishing!