Her Campus Logo Her Campus Logo

5 Hacks to Give Yourself the Best DIY Manicure

As college students, we’re all short on time and money. You might not always be able to go to the nail salon every time your nails start to chip or grow out.  Here are five easy ways to give yourself professional looking nails without having to leave your dorm! 


A post shared by Cristine (@simplynailogical) on

Adding glitter is the easiest way to spice up your nail game. The best way to apply glitter nail polish is with a triangular makeup sponge. Apply the glitter nail polish to the sponge and dab it onto the nail. Do this several times until your glitter is opaque. To create a similar look for even less work, you could add a glitter top coat over your favorite nail polish.  


Another easy way to upgrade your manicure is to create a gradient. While this one seems hard, it’s a similar technique to applying glitter. First, apply one or two coats of the lighter color onto your nails. On a makeup sponge, apply the two different shades of nail polish. Dab the sponge onto your nails in thin coats and repeat until the colors look blended together on your nail. The more similar the colors are, the easier it will be for them to blend together.

French Tips

A post shared by The Nail Lab (@thenaillab) on

French tips are classic and elegant, but that doesn’t mean they can’t easily be done yourself. You could free hand the line or use nail vinyls made specifically for French tips, but the easiest way is to use hole reinforcements. Yes, the white stickers meant to stop loose leaf from ripping! After your base color is completely dry, place these stickers at the tip of your nail, paint the tip a different color, and remove the sticker. It’s that easy!  

Color Block

A post shared by Camila  (@camilartist26) on

Color blocking is an easy and customizable way to DIY your manicure. Start by painting your nails normally and let it completely dry. Use painter’s tape as a guide for which section of your nail you want to paint next. You can repeat this step as many times as you want to create a more complex mani. Just make sure your nails are completely dry before you put tape on top of them!


A post shared by @sweetpea_and_her_nails on

Creating polka dot nails is another way to easily upgrade your manicure. You could buy dotting tools made specifically for this online, or you could use the circular tip of a bobby pin. To create the dots, put the dotting tool or bobby pin into the nail polish brush to avoid getting too much nail polish at once. Then apply your dots on already painted nails. Regardless of what pattern you choose, the addition of polka dots will instantly up your nail game.

DIYing your nails not only saves time and money, it lets you express yourself and be proud of what you’ve created. These five hacks will give your manicure a professional look without taking forever. Plus, it’s always an ego booster to get complimented on nails you did yourself!

Cover image courtesy of Pixabay.

Diana Iscenko

Hofstra '20

Diana is a junior at Hofstra University, double majoring in Journalism and English/Creative Writing. She is Twitter manager and a contributing writer for HC Hofstra. When she's not writing for Her Campus, she can be found spending time with her sisters in Alpha Epsilon Phi.
Similar Reads👯‍♀️