DIY Three Color Swirl Nail Art

I can’t stop staring at my nails right now. My majestic, oh-so-adorable nails. Why? Because they look magnificent!

Gaze upon the glory that is the Three Color Swirl Nail Art.

I was feeling like experimenting the other day, and this is what I came up with. I got the swirl idea from how to make swirled marble cake when baking. (If these nails were made of vanilla and chocolate cake, they’d be even better.)

I chose the name for obvious reasons. The manicure uses three different shades of polish. In this case, in the pink color family. And, of course, there’s some serious swirling going on.

Want to do this yourself? Let’s get started!

What You’ll Need

To create this nail art, gather up…

  • Three colors of nail polish
  • Clear top and base coat polish
  • Toothpicks

Although you can choose colors from the same family like I did, the shade really doesn’t matter. Imagine blue, turquoise and green for tropical colors! Or green, pink and white! For best results, each shade should be different enough to actually show the swirls.

How to Do the Three Color Swirl Nail Art

notd27For the sake of being clear, when I say “lower polish color” I mean the dark pink in the picture above. “Middle polish color” is the pale pink, and “upper polish color” is the white.

Now that you have all of your “ingredients,” here’s what you do.

  1. Give yourself a good clear base coat across all nails. Let it dry completely.
  2. Start with just one nail. Rather than making the rounds, you’ll create the entire nail art on each nail individually.
  3. Add your lower polish color on the one nail. Keep the polish very thick, almost globby.
  4. Immediately add your middle polish color. This should be thick as well.
  5. Immediately add your upper polish color, keeping it super thick.
  6. While all three stripes of polish are still wet, take a toothpick and gently pull the lower color into the middle in stripes and swirls. You can also alternate between pulling lower to middle and middle to lower. Do the same for the middle and upper colors. (As you use the toothpick, don’t press all the way down to your nail or you’ll start to take the polish off completely. Instead, touch only the wet polish with the toothpick.)
  7. Move onto the next nail as the first dries. Do the polishing and swirling to each nail.
  8. Once everything is dry, seal it up with a layer of clear top coat.

Hopefully those directions are clear! If you do this on your own, I’d love to hear about it! Were the directions helpful? What colors did you choose? Will you do it again?

Happy polishing!


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  1. Your nails look awesome! Love the colours you used too. And thanks for the tutorial.

  2. Cool! It looks like fire or smoke 😀 like dry ice or mist in a magic forest.

  3. Wow oh wow I am so glad I found you! I got so many great ideas from you! I will be trying TONS! I am thinking about becoming a nail artist and you sure gave me some inspiration!
    Nancy Jean

  4. This look is so cool. I love it!

  5. hahah this is so cool! And I’m definitely getting the marble cake vibe. Maybe i should try this with marble cake-esque colors. Awesome tutorial Trisha 🙂

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