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Sweater Nails Are the Hottest Chic and Cozy Manicure Style — How to DIY Them at Home

Plus, the strategies that create the look if you don't have a steady hand

Nothing feels better on a chilly, brisk day than throwing on your favorite sweater. And that coziness can also be brought to your fingertips, thanks to the latest trend: sweater nails. Although this type of manicure looks challenging, it is actually quite easy to DIY right at home. Read on for all you need to know about sweater nails, how to recreate them yourself and how they’ll flatter you.

What are sweater nails?

grey and pink sweater nail design
Getty

Imagine the softness of your favorite sweater translated into delicate nail designs. Sweater nails mimic the look of knitwear, featuring tiny, raised patterns that resemble cable knits, ribbed stitches or even the classic basket-weave patterns. The result is a cozy aesthetic that adds a touch of warm charm to your overall look.

How sweater nails flatter women over 50

Sweater nails are a flattering choice for women over 50 due to their subtle elegance, textured appeal and versatile color options. Mazz Hanna, nail expert and CEO of Nailing Hollywood, says, “sweater nails aren’t just about style, it’s about how they make you feel. For women over 50, a sweater manicure can be the perfect mood-booster since it adds a cozy touch to your winter fashion.” She adds that these “intricate designs and soft textures provide a timeless elegance that can be customized to complement any outfit.” Plus, sweater nails can also detract the eye from aging hand woes like crepey skin, age spots and more — along with the designs creating the illusion of longer nails.

7 sweater nails design ideas

1. Pretty hot pink cable knit sweater nails

Instagram user @Madnails created these hot pink sweater nails that brighten up any day. Use OPI GelColor in shade Pink Flamenco (Buy from Beyond Polish, $19.99) to get this color.

2. Stunning in sage green

This video from @mpfbrushnails_ on Instagram shares how to recreate this manicure that features a variety of sweater designs.

3. Beautiful brown sweater nails

@yoanatod on Instagram shows off a gorgeous, chic, brown sweater nail design that proves neutrals can be just as pretty as bold colors.

4. Marvelous mix and match sweater nails

Combine plaid with sweater nails, like this design by Instagram user @getnailed_janet for the ultimate cozy mani!

5. Sweater nail design for short nails

If you have short nails, you can wear this trend too as shown by @clairescutiecles on Instagram.

6. Pops of color sweater nails

This colorful look from @hannah_p_nails on Instagram helps nails make a stunning statement.

7. Pearly-pink sweater nails

@nailzbysandy_ on Instagram put a fun and eye-catching twist on sweater nails with a pearl-like finish.

How to do sweater nails at home:

Step 1: Gather your supplies

Here’s a list of what you’ll need:

Step 2: Prep Nails

After properly trimming, filing and shaping your nails, Hanna says to “soak your nails in warm water for about 2-3 minutes and gently push back and trim your cuticles — this is optional, but clean cuticles will prevent lifting and allow your gel to last longer.” Then, apply a base coat to allow the gel to adhere to your nails, and cure under a gel lamp for 60 seconds.

Step 3: Apply polish

Now it’s time to apply the base color. Hanna recommends cozy colors like browns, beiges, nudes or sage greens. However, because this manicure is all about the texture, you really can choose any color you like. Once applied, cure under UV lamp for 60 seconds.

Step 4: Swipe on matte top coat

Set the color you’ve just applied with a matte gel top coat. Apply to all nails and cure under the gel nail lamp for 60 seconds.

Step 5: Paint on a sweater design

Swear nails designs are often created with freehand painting. With this method, you definitely want to have steady hands because you will be using a thin nail art brush to hand-paint the knit look directly to your nails. You simply mix the gel nail color with sculpting nail gel and create the design. And before the polish is dry, you pour clear acrylic powder on top (this creates the raised sweater texture effect); brush off excess powder and swipe nails with rubbing alcohol.

Tips on how to freehand sweater nail art

Hanna walks us through how to freehand your sweater nails. You will use your fine nail art brush with the clear sculpting gel to create that 3D effect. Hanna recommends looking up a photo for inspiration and find a sweater design that you like. She adds, “in general, most knit designs will be made up of intricate lines and criss-cross patterns. Cable knit nails will consist of straight vertical lines down the nails with a twisted, criss-cross-like section in the middle of the lines. The criss-cross section could be made up of a DNA-type shape or parallel, diagonal squiggles.” And after you create the design, you’ll want to follow the instructions mentioned above in step 5.

If you are more of a visual learner, take a peak at these three tutorials below we found for you!

YouTuber @VARNAIL creates adorable sweater nail design with nail stickers.

@NailCareerEducation on YouTube shares how to DIY these easy matte sweater nails.

YouTuber @JOYAMIA shares this cozy, brown sweater nail design.

Bonus: Other ways to create sweater nails

If you don’t have a steady hand, you can still get the look of sweater nails. One option is with nail stamping. This is where you use a stamping kit to transfer intricate patterns to your nails. One to try: Maniology Sweater Season – Nail Stamping Plate (Buy from Maniology, $8).

Another way to achieve sweater nails is with nail vinyls. This technique is where you apply striping tape in crisscross or diagonal patterns to mimic the look of knit stitches. One to try: China Glaze Stripe ‘Em (Buy from Sally Beauty, $10.99).


For more nail inspiration, click through these stories:

Polygel Nails: The Trending Manicure Technique That Makes Nails Look Longer and Stronger

12 DIY Fall Nail Designs: Discover Happiness at Your Fingertips!

Dazzle on a Dime: 12 French Tip Nail Designs That are Easy to Do at Home

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