Bow Tie Nail Art Ideas

Rebecca Wiseman
Faux tuxedo nail art

Bow tie nail art is a simple yet elegant nail design option that you can do yourself. These designs are done with regular nail polish, but they can also be done with gel polish following the same techniques.

5 Bow Tie Designs for Nails

Begin each of the following designs by applying a clear base coat. If you're using a natural nail base coat, let it air dry. This should take about one minute.

When doing nail art with regular nail polish, it is best to use a fast drying finishing spray, such as Beauty Secrets Nail Polish Dryer spray or OPI RapiDry Spray, between colors. Allow the nails to dry one or two minutes between each step. If you are using gel polish, follow the curing time for each step designated by the UV or LED light manufacturer. Most are thirty seconds to two minutes for each coat of gel polish.

Once the clear base coat is dry, follow the steps for your selected design.

1. Faux Tuxedo

A faux tuxedo design like the one pictured above is simple to do. To achieve this look:

  1. Apply an opaque white base color to the entire nail.
  2. Using a small detail brush, paint the bow tie with black polish over where the nail's lunula (the half-moon shape in the nail bed at the cuticle) would be if you could still see it.
  3. Start the jacket just under the bow tie. This is easily accomplished by painting a diagonal stripe of black polish using either the brush from the bottle of polish or a detail brush. Make the diagonal line on each side, then fill in the lower part of the nail with black polish. Two coats of black nail polish may be needed to ensure even coverage.
  4. Add buttons, which can be made with the tip of a toothpick, a dotting tool, or the tip of a small detail brush. Use black polish over the white of the shirt and white polish over the black of the jacket.

2. Christmas Bows

Triple Christmas bows

Everyone needs a simple, go-to nail design for the holidays. This look uses classic Christmas colors in a design that is easily achieved.

  1. Apply two coats of a frosted white pearl polish.

  2. Starting at the tip, use green polish to form the first bow. Make two triangles with a medium-sized dot in the middle.
  3. For the second large bow, start at the top of the green bow with a red polish. Make this bow in the same manner and the same size as the green one.
  4. In between the green and red bows, use a gold glitter polish to make a small bow to fill the space. In this picture, the bow is made of two small triangles with two coats of gold glitter.

3. Patriotic Bow Tie

Patriotic dots and glitter

This design is a take on the classic French tip. This is a fun yet elegant look with or without the glitter.

  1. Apply two coats of opaque white polish as the base color.
  2. Using a dark blue polish, carefully make a smile line along your nail tip.
    • This is accomplished by carefully pushing the tip of the polish brush from the bottle up to the line of the nail quick, where the nail bed meets the free edge of the nail, then slowly dragging the brush to the end of the nail.
    • To achieve an even smile line, start with each side of the nail tip and move to the middle.
    • Seal the edge by taking the brush along the edge of the nail. This will even out the coverage and help make the polish last longer.
  3. With a striper brush and red polish, carefully make a thin smile line at the top of the blue. Make two small triangles over the red line and into the blue to form the bow. This design has the bow in the center, but placement along the line is up to you. Use two coats of red polish for depth of color.
  4. Once the bow is finished, use the same opaque white polish to place dots along the blue tip. This can be done with a small detail or striper brush, but is easiest to make with a dotting tool or toothpick.
  5. Apply a gold glitter polish over the white from the cuticle to the top of the red bow tie and smile line. (You can omit this step if you prefer not to use glitter.)

4. Pretty in Pink

Pink bow ties with stones

This is a dressed up French tip design that can be worn for almost any occasion, especially breast cancer awareness month.

  1. Apply one coat of a sheer nude pink.

  2. Carefully make the smile line and tip using an opaque white polish.
    • To make the smile line, use the brush from the bottle and carefully push polish up to the line of the nail quick, then pull the brush down the tip.
    • To achieve an even smile line, start with the sides and finish with the middle.
    • Take the brush across the tip to seal the edge and even out coverage.
  3. Using a small detail brush, make two triangles across the nail that meet in the center of the smile line to form the bow tie. For depth of color and coverage, use two coats of the pink polish.
  4. Apply a medium-size rhinestone at the center of the bow and two smaller ones above and below the diagonal line of the bow. For short term wear, apply the rhinestone to wet polish. For longer wear, apply using nail glue.

5. School Spirit

Red and blue bow

This design is a play on French tips. Any school's colors can be used to replace the red and blue shown here. This look is great to wear in support of your alma mater or favorite team.

  1. Apply two coats of a sheer nude pink polish.
  2. For the tip in this picture, use a red polish. Carefully make the smile line and then drag the color down the tip. Apply two thin coats to achieve the depth of color.
  3. Using a striper brush and blue polish, apply a thin smile line at the top of the red.
  4. Paint two small triangles centered on the smile line to form a bow tie. Apply two coats of polish if needed.
  5. For extra sparkle, apply a holographic glitter polish to the bows.

Extend Design Life With a Top Coat

To complete each design, apply a top coat of clear polish. If you use a regular top coat, finish with fast drying finishing spray. This final spray will speed the complete drying time of about five minutes. Using a regular top coat, these designs will generally last a few days before the polish starts chipping. If a gel top coat that cures under a UV or LED light is used, you can expect the design for last at least ten days.

Bow Tie Nail Art Ideas