Nail Art Tutorial: Beginners Guide to using a Dotting Tool

Nail Art Tutorial: Beginners Guide to using a Dotting Tool

Nail art can be overwhelming for anyone trying out new designs for the first time. It requires a lot of practice and patience, however, there are tools available that can make this a lot easier and convenient. A dotting tool is a must for anyone wanting to step up their nail art game in a simple and affordable way. They are used to make small dots for nail art designs such as polka dots and flowers. These come in a range of sizes but typically consist of two ends-one for a small-sized dot and the other to achieve a more precise shape such as a line.

I purchased mine from The Body Shop for £2.99 but these can be found online such as Amazon and eBay. What’s great about the tools on these sites is that they typically come in a pack consisting of different sizes which is great value for money.

Here are some step by step designs I created using a dotting tool:

Start by painting your nails as usual. A lighter shade is a good option for those using a tool for the first time most polishes will show on this. I went with a beige colour as the base for the following designs:

KEY TIP!!! Before using the tool, ensure your nails are completely dry, as applying this to wet nails will cause the polish used on the dotting tool to mix with the base polish, ruining the design.

Flower Nail Art





  1. Apply some polish onto the end of your dotting tool.
  2. Carefully apply small dots in a circular shape. These can be as wide apart or close together as you wish, but for a typical flower design, closer dots work best. To apply the dots, point the tool towards the nail as if you are holding a pencil to paper. Tip: you will need to re-apply a couple of layers for this as the dots will eventually fade.
  3. Using a different colour of your choice (I used yellow for this) dot a circle in the centre of the outer dots. Depending on how far apart or close together they are you may need to apply more polish to make the dot larger.
  4. Finish off with a top coat.


Cheetah Nail Art

This is typically seen as a complex design, however, with a dotting tool, it is a lot easier to nail (no pun intended). Brown and beige shades are usually used for this kind of design, however, I decided to go with a bronze and gold polish just to try something different.

  1. Using the larger circle of your dotting tool, apply irregular-sized circles on the nail. Around 5-6 circles are best for this. There is no direct shape to follow, it’s simply a case of splatting your tool down to resemble a cheetah spot.
  2. Next, apply some black polish onto the smaller end of your dotting tool and outline the cheetah spot made. Instead of circling the whole shape, going for a “U” or “C” shaped outline gives the best effect. Repeat this step on each spot.
  3. Apply small dots using the black polish around any clear spaces on the nail.
  4. Finish off with a top coat.


Gradient Dots


  1. Any group of colours can be used for this. I have a lot of pink shades so went with this. Simply dot a line in a vertical direction. I decided to start this in the centre, however, any side of the nail will work.
  2. Repeat this step, each time using a darker to lighter shade or vice versa.
  3. Finish off with a top coat.

As many different colours were used in this design, the tool did require regular cleaning. However, this is as simple as applying some nail varnish remover to a little piece of tissue or cloth and wiping the polish off the tool.

This is a great way to try something new but not too over the top. It definitely takes practice, but this is a great starting step to slaying your nail art journey.

Thanks for reading, I hope you enjoyed this post and that it inspires you to invest in a dotting tool. Click here to subscribe for updates and here to view more posts 🙂

Lot’s of love,


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