20-Minute DIY Winter Manicure

Busy mamas generally just don’t have time for a couple hours at the salon, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have a fabulous winter-inspired mani anyway!

It’s not as difficult as Pinterest makes it seem — I promise. And you don’t need any fancy tools or anything.

I’m currently visiting my parents for the holidays and so all my tools, special brushes and expensive polishes are at home. I created this look with — are you ready? — a ballpoint pen, a crayon tip and some drugstore nail polishes. And even better, you can do it in about 20 minutes while your little one naps!

I chose to create a winter-inspired manicure with three different designs so you can mix and match and create something unique for yourself.

What you’ll need:

  • Some sort of dotting tool (a ball point pen, a crayon with a sharp tip or even a toothpick will work)
  • White polish
  • Black polish
  • Orange polish
  • Blue polish

Of course, feel free to substitute colors and designs or come up with something on your own.


  • First you’ll need to cut, file and shape your nails. (That’s probably the part of this mani that will take the longest!)

  • If you choose, apply a base coat to your nails. This is recommended if you plan on using a glitter polish, however, it is not necessary.
  • Paint your nails a solid white. This will take 2-3 coats of a white nail polish to achieve a solid, un-streaked look. White nail polish can be very frustrating, so if you can, I recommend spending the extra couple of bucks and getting a better brand of white polish, especially if you’re in a time crunch.

For the snowman:

You can do little snowman faces on all your nails or choose to do just one or two as accent nails. Frosty is creative and adorable!

  • Dab just a couple drops of your black polish on a hard surface. I usually use the bottom of an empty tissue box.

  • Using your pen, crayon or other dotting tool, dip the tip in the black color and immediately on your nail to create two black eyes. You’ll want to make the eyes a little bigger than the dots that you’ll use to create the mouth, so spread the black around in a circular motion just a little bit.
  • Re-dip your pen, and following the shape of a smile, make a few small dots for the mouth. These should be just a simple dot of your pen and should take less than 10 seconds. Remember that they don’t have to be perfectly round or perfectly spaced — real snowmen aren’t perfect either!

  • Wipe off the tip of your pen and dab some orange polish onto your hard surface. You’ll use this to create your snowman’s carrot nose.
  • Using the pen tip, simply draw a triangle pointing to the left on the center of your nail, where the snowman’s nose would go. Re-dip your pen and fill in the triangle.

For the snowflakes:

Get creative with the size, shape and placement of snowflakes on your nails. Change it up from nail to nail. While you can find tutorials online on how to make complicated, fancy snowflakes, I find that simpler is better when you have a baby in the house.

  • Dab a few drops of your blue polish onto a hard surface. Dip your pen into the polish and drag across your nail to create a thin, straight line.
  • Repeat, this time making an “x” over the first straight line.

  • Re-dip your pen and drop it on the ends of your straight lines, making little dots. Also dot the center of your “x.”
  • Finish the nail by making small blue dots elsewhere on your white nail.

Complete your winter mani look by using the blue polish to paint French tips on all of the remaining nails. Optionally, top it all off with a top-coat and voila! Enjoy all the compliments you’ll receive when you tell friends and family you did your own manicure design in just a few minutes!

What I used:

Base coat: Revlon Multi-Care 965
White: Essie Blanc
Black: Sinful Colors Black on Black
Blue: Maybelline Express Finish Glitter Rhythm & Blue
Orange: Wet n Wild, Wild Shine Sunny Side Up
Top Coat: Seche Vite

One Response to 20-Minute DIY Winter Manicure

  1. So cute!

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