I remember when I was growing up that there wasn’t a whole lot that women did with their nails. Usually you just painted on some conservative shade of polish for a clean look, and that was it. Thankfully we are living in far more expressive times now, and nail art has become so much more than it ever was before! We’re seeing so many amazing colors and designs; it’s just an explosion of creativity!
I want to share 100 of the best acrylic nail designs with you, but first, I realize that some of you may not actually be all that familiar with acrylic nails. They’re one of the most popular nail treatments you can get, but if you’ve never tried them, you may not be familiar with the benefits.
First off, what are acrylic nails? Acrylic is a protective coating which is applied using a powder polymer and liquid monomer. As the coating is exposed to the air, it dries and hardens.
Here are the benefits:
- Acrylic is strong. The coating itself will stand the test of time, and will also protect your nails.
- Acrylic is less expensive than gel nails.
- While acrylic nails can be damaged, you can usually repair them yourself. If you want to get them removed, it is really easy.
- Best of all, acrylic makes the perfect surface to paint colors and designs on! Let your imagination go wild. You can get the technician to paint designs on your nails, or you can do it yourself.
If you’re looking for the ultimate acrylic nail design gallery, you’ve found it! Check out these stunning acrylic nail design images from around the web and get inspired!
Black and gold glitter
Instead of plain old black nail polish, why not jazz things up a bit? This acrylic nail design has a simple, sophisticated elegance to it that I just love. The gold glitter contrasts beautifully with the black backdrop. I love that there is more glitter on some nails than on others; it makes it look like the glitter just “fell into place.”
Frozen nail art
Here is a similar look to the one above, except this nail art was inspired by the movie Frozen. The black base has been replaced by a light, icy blue. The sparkles really do give the impression of ice forming on the nails. Be sure to check the source for more amazing frozen acrylic nail art!
Bold geometric designs
There are a couple of things I love about these nails. First, the bold geometric designs are simple and eye-catching. They don’t overwhelm you, but they really stand out. The other thing I think is clever about these nails is that they leave room at the bottom for a natural nail color. This is brilliant, because as the nails grow out, it won’t be so obvious that you’re due in for a touch-up at your nail beds.
Dainty and feminine
I love the soft pastel delicacy of this look! Somehow it seems like if they had nail art a few centuries back, this is what upper-class women would have worn to their fancy tea parties. At the same time, the super-sharp look provides for a surprising contrast and a hint of strength underneath the delicacy.
Corn on the cob
Culinary-themed acrylic nail designs are quite popular (what better way is there to tell the world that you’re a foodie?). Of all the food-based nail designs I’ve seen, these corn on the cob nails impressed me the most. The pattern is simple and has some geometric appeal to it, and it’s immediately obvious that it’s supposed to represent corn on the cob. Really nice work!
Adorable Halloween nails
Looking for the perfect look for Halloween? These spooky nails are just so cute I can’t get over it! That little spider is just adorable, and the other designs all work great together.
Stamped nail designs
This is an extremely elaborate looking style, but the intricacy is not actually all that difficult to achieve since it is done through stamping. You can learn the technique quickly and easily using a few basic tutorials. As you can see, you get a really great effect if you choose high-contrast colors.
Simple green ombre tips with dainty flowers
Here is an acrylic nail look which is simple and elegant and also understated. You have an ombre fade with pale green tips, and some pastel pink and white flowers. This is one of those looks that would still be great as your nails start to grow out. I think you could also probably get away with this one at most workplaces since the effect is so subtle.
Black and red minimalism
I can’t get over how elegant and sophisticated these nails are! With this look, each nail is painted either black or red, and then the tips are done in the opposite color. The black and red form an amazing contrast, and the lack of any other embellishment draws emphasis to the glossy finish. The finished effect puts me in mind of Japanese lacquerware.
Simple, bright flower designs
Looking for acrylic nail designs for summer? This fun, simple, bright and cheerful design includes white and pink as base colors, and includes some cute blossom designs on alternating nails. Very nice!
Subtle chevron designs
Chevron designs are very popular for acrylic nails. This nail design includes white and pink as the base colors, and subtle chevrons with sparkles. One reason I like this design is because it is understated. Since all the colors are close to each other, you could probably wear these to work without a problem.
Amazing translucent floral designs
Some of these acrylic nail art designs really are incredible works of art. These nails are so spectacular I don’t even know where to start! I love the coppery color and the translucent effect. They definitely have an exaggerated look to them (they’re almost claws), but they are spectacularly creative. These are like nails that some kind of fantasy fairy or forest spirit would have.
If you like to keep things floral and girly, you can’t go wrong with this look. The flowers are amazingly detailed (I have no idea how it was done), and the sparkles offset them nicely and add in some texture and pizzazz.
Pretty in plaid
These nails are totally awesome! She did such a neat job on the plaid designs; they look perfect. I love that purple color too; it has such an incredible shine, and the silver sparkles offset it perfect. These colors also complement the natural color used for the rest of the nail quite nicely. Once again, this is a look which will continue to shine even as your nails start growing out. Best of all, there is a full video tutorial so you can copy this look at home!
I have no idea what kind of nail polish colors were used to achieve this effect, but it is flat-out gorgeous. It’s like her nails are made out of thin slices of opal or something. I can’t imagine how cool these look under different types of lighting. They actually seem like they have some “depth” to them. I’ve never seen anything like this anywhere!
More subtle chevron designs
This is another simple design featuring chevrons in pastel hues, except this time instead of pale pink, we are looking at pale blue. The sparkles add a nice touch. I think this is a look that could work at your day job since it isn’t too bold or distracting.
Elegant and understated
This understated look uses similar colors to the one above, but I love it even more. We have a couple of shades of light blue-green which are very subtly distinct from one another, white, and silver. The patterns are simple and elegant, and the metallic silver stripes give a nice “pop” to a look which is otherwise very clean and simple. You could probably get away with this one at work too.
Amazing aquatic tips
I’m not really sure how else to describe these nail art designs, except as “amazing aquatic tips.” They just give the effect of being underwater to me with those warm blue tones and bubbles and swirls. This look is really incredible and one of the most artistic designs I have seen yet.
Here is an acrylic nail art design you could definitely wear anywhere. I am pretty sure even the most conservative day job would let you pull it off. The nails are done in a completely natural color, and the only designs are flowers and simple patterns in subtle white. The white almost blends in with the natural color of the base. From a distance, you could miss it. But up close, you can enjoy the delicate intricacy.
How can you get the perfect exquisite look for autumn? I have seen a lot of autumn nail designs, but many of them tend to look messy and splotchy to me (something to do with trying to combine red and orange and brown shades; often the result just looks muddy). This is a simple, eye-catching look with a plain white base and sparkles in warm autumn hues. It instantly shouts “fall,” and it looks gorgeous!
Amazing autumn/winter picture nails
How clever is this? The nails form a picture from top to bottom. The nail painted in black shows the earth, and the next two illustrate a tree that’s lost its leaves, and the top nail a wintry sky. This acrylic nail design would be perfect for fall or winter, and you would get no end of compliments! Not only is this design clever, but it is also beautifully illustrated. I would probably have a really hard time keeping my hand steady enough to sketch all those details so nicely.
I could post pictures from So Nailicious all day long! This is a truly amazing blog with some of the most outstanding nail designs I have ever seen, most of them emphasizing simple geometric beauty. This look is outstanding, and only requires a couple of colors. The burgundy offsets the silver beautifully, and I love the design itself, which draws your gaze toward the tips of the nails, emphasizing their shape. It just looks really sleek. Best of all, So Nailicious provides a full tutorial!
Graphic black and white nail art
I can’t resist posting another favorite from So Nailicious, so I share with you the graphic black and white nail art tutorial! How fabulously awesome are these nails? Once again, I am amazed at the way she uses geometric designs to emphasize the form of the nails, creating another streamlined look. This design would look awesome in any colors, but the black and white gradient is really eye-catching. I also have to comment that her design looks stunning with her jewelry.
Simple striping tutorial
Okay, so the main reason I am putting this one in here is because it’s a great tutorial. Basically, are you wondering how everyone gets those nice clean lines in their acrylic nail designs? If you are new to acrylic nail art, there is definitely a bit of a learning curve. This tutorial will teach you how you can use striping tape to get the look you are aiming for. Using these steps, you can achieve a lot of the looks we have shared here, including the one you see in the image above.
I really love polish designs that emphasize organic lines and make use of space. I think there is a tendency to want to crowd nail designs, which is understandable; you only have so much space to work with. But when you leave large areas solid like you see here, it really makes the designs “pop.” It’s all about how you use contrasts and a sense of balance to draw in the eye.