Image showing a negative space mani that you can create with techniques from this tutorial.

Negative space manis are trending. So. Hard. And I don't think they're going anywhere anytime soon! In fact, I hope they become a nail art staple. Negative space is such a cool way to edge up your mani, and while it can be difficult with regular polish, it is SO EASY with NailSnaps. 

BONUS: a negative space mani is the super fun, fashionable way to use up your NailSnaps misfits and odds and ends AND they last for-freaking-ever, especially the ones that don't touch any of the edges of your nail.

For this tutorial, I use leftover black/purple gradient NailSnaps from the Shattered Glass Tutorial but use whatever extras you have. A negative space mani with patterned NailSnaps looks even more next-level!

Lazy Girl's Guide to Negative Space Manis

You will need:

  • NailSnaps!!
  • A pair of scissors or cuticle nippers
  • Sharpies (optional)
  • Hair spray (only if you use Sharpies)
  • Top coat


    1. Put your finger next to a NailSnaps wrap and mark where your fingernail ends.

Animated gif showing me marking where my finger is on the NailSnaps wrap.

      1. Using the scissors, cut a wedge very close to the cuticle, well below the marking.

Animated gif showing me cutting the NailSnaps wrap into a chevron.

      1. Use tweezers to peel the wedge cut from the sheet and apply to your nail. (Tweezers prevent you from accidentally touching the adhesive with the natural oils in your fingers.) 

Animated gif showing the application of the bottom half of the chevron.

      1. Peel the remaining wrap off the sheet apply it above the bottom half, leaving a chevron shaped area of negative space between the two pieces.

Animated gif showing the application of the top half of the chevron.

      1. File off the excess using downward strokes at the tip of your fingernail.
      2. Apply topcoat and you're done!


      1. Using scissors, cut your NailSnaps into thin strips.

Animated gif of the NailSnaps wrap being cut into strips.

      1. Apply the strips to your nail. If you have excess on the sides, use a cuticle clipper or a nail clipper to trim off the excess.

Animated gif of the strips being applied to the nail.

      1. Apply topcoat and you're done!

Triangles and circles and stars, oh my!

Now that you've seen you can do chevrons and stripes easily by just cutting up your extra NailSnaps, you know you have almost limitless possibilities. You can do triangles, circles, stars, hearts, and rainbows, clovers, and blue moons!

Here's how to make a triangle with a black outline.

      1.  Using a Sharpie, draw a triangle on your NailSnaps' wrap. I like to go over it a couple times so the lines are straight on the inside of the shape. Count to ten and wait for the Sharpie to dry.

Animated gif showing the triangle being drawn on the NailSnaps wrap.

      1. Using a pair of scissors or cuticle nippers (cuticle nippers are great for straight lines), cut out your triangle. I like to cut in the middle of my Sharpie line, so that the black lines on the shape are thin.

Animated gif showing the NailSnaps wrap being cut by cuticle nippers.

      1. Apply this to your nail.

Animated gif showing the NailSnaps triangle being applied to the nail.

      1. Here's the slightly tricky part. Very lightly spray hairspray on your nails. Why? If you apply topcoat directly over the nail right now, it will most definitely smear the Sharpie. To ensure that this does not happen, lightly spray your nail with hairspray. Be careful not to overspray because too much hairspray will also smear the Sharpie. I've had good results with Tresemme hairspray and Seche Vite topcoat. If you see smearing from the hairspray, wipe it away with a Q-tip dipped in remover.

Animated gif showing the nail being sprayed lightly with hairspray.

      1. Apply topcoat. To ensure that it wont smear (and this goes for any nail art, really), use a bit more top coat on your brush and try to float it over your nail so that the brush doesn't actually touch the nail. And you're done!

Image showing all of the designs we learned how to make in this blog post.   

What kind of negative space mani do you like best? What shapes and techniques have you discovered? Comment below!

xo Kelly


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