How to Decorate Nails with a Permanent Marker

Written by nina wegner
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How to Decorate Nails with a Permanent Marker
Give yourself a cheap manicure at home with permanent markers. (Comstock Images/Comstock/Getty Images)

You don't need to go to the nail salon to get bold, fashionable fingernails. Using a permanent marker and your own imagination, you can give yourself a truly distinctive look while saving a good chunk of change. Permanent markers are available in scores of colours, so your creative options are limitless. Solid-colour nails and intricate patterns and designs are possible.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy


  1. 1

    Plan your nail design. If you're opting for a complex look, such as patterns or scenes, draw your design first on a sheet of paper. This will help you decide on colours and details.

  2. 2

    Give your nails a coat of clear nail polish. This will prevent the permanent markers from staining your fingers and nails, and it will provide a smooth base on which to work.

  3. 3

    Re-create your planned design on each nail using permanent markers. If you get any marker on your skin, wipe it off with a damp paper towel before it dries.

  4. 4

    Allow your design to dry completely. This may take five to 10 minutes.

  5. 5

    Apply a top coat of clear polish over the completed design. A second coat will lock in the colours and protect them from smudging.

Tips and warnings

  • Use nontoxic markers, since you are applying chemicals topically to your body.
  • Open windows and provide plenty of ventilation. Nail polish and permanent markers give off unpleasant fumes.
  • If you make a mistake, wipe off the design with nail polish remover and start again.

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