Monochromatic Nail Art Designs

 Ten Monochromatic Nail Art Designs

Monochromatic nail art designs like these are striking and fun to create. 

All you need to achieve a brilliant result is one single colour - and a black or a white to mix it with. Whether you’re just starting out or you’re an old hand, this is a great exercise in creativity and experimentation!

Monochromatic nail art can be as simple or complex as you make it. That’s why I’ve compiled a list of some of my own favourite examples below. I’ll start simple and work my way down to ones I found more challenging.

On to the list of Monochromatic Manicures: 

1. This skittle mani is simple but very elegant.

I achieved this by creating an ombre: mixing OPI A Roll in the Hauge polish with French tip (white) by Colour Club. I used a spare brush from a set I don’t use. But to get real with you all for a minute…in the past I’ve used a budget paintbrush! (*gasp*)

2. Next, I want to show you this red stripe design. I used two red polishes – but you can achieve the same effect by mixing a red with a dot of black polish.

My tips for doing a simple stripe like this:

-        Use a good quality striping brush. Cheaper brushes leave bristles behind, and let me tell you, it’s annoying trying to get those out of your perfect mani!

-        Rest your non-dominate hand and move the other one. If you’re painting your dominate hand this means moving your nails/hand down the brush instead of moving the brush up your nail. I’ll make a video sometime showing how do this!

-        Invest in a good topcoat. Seriously, they make everything look better and it’ll help smooth your stripes into one perfect mani, instead of looking like the darker colour is sitting on-top of the lighter colour.


3. This one looks complex but was surprisingly straightforward.

Much like the first mani, I mixed the pink with dots of white to make progressively lighter shades. A very chic take on monochromatic! I did this freehand (which would be challenging for a beginner). Honestly, it would’ve been far quicker to use a striping tape, or thin strips of cellotape to separate each line and create a sharp crisp finish.

I feel like this has one of the biggest design payoffs considering the relatively easy process.


4. Next up I have this “simple” ombre. I say “simple” because I know this isn’t the easiest.

Let’s be real, Youtube nail artists make this look easy-peasy, but it can be a struggle for beginners! I have a few ways to create this look - personally, I used a ‘dry-brushing’ technique instead of the typical sponge method (more on that later).


5. I used two different tones of yellow for this (so not just one colour like I said at the start – I know, I know, sorry!)

We’re getting more complex now. Stamping isn’t something that just anyone can do on their first try! I’ve struggled to master this art, and even now I’m not great at it. And don’t get me started on the reverse stamping!

(If you’d like to see some progress shots of me learning to master stamping, drop a comment below or on my social media: it’s not my best work but I’ll share it with y’all)


6. Yes, a different design on every nail. The relatively simple designs give a complex aesthetic when they’re put together like this. I’ll admit this is possibly less “monochromatic” than the other nail designs because it uses pink and white instead of varying tones of pink – but I still think it counts!

I made a stripe (using the tips mentioned above) and used nail vinyl for the half-moon and triangle. Fun fact: when I was starting out, I used cellotape and tiny circle stickers. The spots can be easily achieved with a toothpick if you don’t own a dotting tool.


7. So you’ve mastered the gradient? Let’s add a nail vinyl into the mix!

This look is achieved with a white base, sticking the nail vinyl, and then sponging the gradient over the top. When you peel off the vinyl, the outline is defined in white.

And spice it up!

This time I did my pale pink gradient first, stuck a vinyl over the top and then painted with pale pink. This leaves the outline in the gradient and creates a sophisticated fade where the pink is on pink.


8. OK, this really could be in fifth or sixth place depending on your skill set. Not so great at a sponge gradient? Try a sloppy swirl (yes, I just coined that term and I’m sticking with it!)

This is achieved by painting a brown base coat. Stick those beloved vinyls down, then blob on a brown and white and sort of swirl… (very articulate I know).

Make sure to peel the vinyl off before the swirly colours are dry, but NOT when they’re so wet they slop everywhere!


9. We’re getting detailed!

I couldn’t decide which I found trickier between this and number ten. I probably like the outcome of ten more, but that’s because it’s a 2021 design and so much tidier. But the next two are equal in complexity.

I used a striping brush to draw my triangle design, and then mixed various greens to fill in the triangle spaces. Yes it’s fiddly, but I bet you’ll be so proud with your end result!

10. And finally, one of my new favourite monochromatic designs ever!

This green geometric gradient gives me all the good feels – I was so impressed with this design I kept it on for days!

I drew the checkers with a striping brush and used white to lighten the green each time, painting in the squares. I didn’t want to do all the nails the same, so I mixed it up with with the random squares on the other fingers- I really like the digital/glitchy look!

If you're interested a video of me speed painting can be found on my Instagram and Facebook pages. 

So there we have it. Ten monochromatic nail art designs that show how versatile this style can be!

Hopefully you learned something and are inspired to create your own monochromatic designs! Let me know what your favourite design is down below! And as always, if you recreate any, tag me on Instagram or message me a picture- I’d genuinely love to see it!


Love and peace, Hannah