DIY Chevron Nails – How To

DIY Chevron Nails

Look guys, it’s not that I’m late to the whole chevron nail game. It’s just that chevron was totally overdone in 2011 and now I’m loving chevron more than ever. With my renewed appreciation for the pattern, I attempted chevron nails only to find that it’s way more difficult to do than it looks. Seriously, for me it was on par with water-marbling nails.

Anyway, here is my method for chevron nails, which is pretty much foolproof! No stickers, no decals.


  • Scotch tape (it has to be the kind with the green plaid, no excuses. I tried using the red one at first but my pinking shears wouldn’t even cut through the tape…)
  • Pinking shears (I’m using FISKARS but recommend stronger pinking shears)
  • Nail colors of your choice
  • Top coat (I’m using seche vite because it’s good for nail art)
  • Acetone
  • (Optional) Nail Clipper

Step 1. Paint all your nails the way you usually would, with the background colors. This includes top coat.

nails-painted-2Step 2. Are your nails all painted? Cool. Next you’re going to be making the chevron tape strips using the scotch tape and pinking shears. Cut thin pieces of tape and stick them temporarily to the edge of a table. When cutting the pieces, you will want to make sure the peaks and valleys (or the zigs and zags, whatever you want to call them) match up to create a cleaner look.

pinking-shears-technique-2The way I have the tape stuck to the pinking shears above shows the easiest method for lining up the zig zags, and I highly recommend you cut your tape strips using the same method!

Step 3. Paint the strips of tape with the color you want your chevrons to be. Let dry for 5 just to be safe. You may need to do two coats depending on the sheerness of your polish. It should look like the photo below. Don’t let it dry too long though or else the extra white polish will stick to the tape strips.

Step 4. Once the tape strips are dry, remove them from the edge of the table and stick them directly on the part of the nail you want it to be on. Continue to add tape strips until you are satisfied with the pattern on your nail.

nails-with-tape-stripsStep 5. Once completed, you will want to cut off the excess tape strips. I used a nail clipper to get as close to the nail as possible (I don’t recommend using scissors unless you’re super coordinated).

Step 6. You’re ready for clean up. Use the acetone and a q-tip or paintbrush or whatever you use to clean up your nails on the excess strips of tape on your nails. The acetone dissolves the tape and removes it. Throw a top coat on it, and you’re good to go!

chevron-nail-finishedI chose to only do one chevron nail as an accent nail but feel free to do all of them! This design looks great when all the nails have the pattern.

9 thoughts on “DIY Chevron Nails – How To

    1. You paint on the smooth side of the tape. That way, once it’s dry and you’re placing the strips on your nail, you’ll also have the sticky part of the tape to help grip the nail.

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