How to Do Holly Nail Art

Co-authored by wikiHow Staff

Updated: November 27, 2019

Explore this Article Prepping Your Nails Creating the Holly Design Ask a Question Related Articles References

When the holidays are upon us, it’s time to bring out the seasonal home décor, the strings of lights, and the ugly holiday sweaters. It’s also time for a new, festive manicure! Holly nail art is perfect for the holidays, and it’s relatively simple to do. With a few nail tools, some red and green polish, and a little bit of practice, your nails will sparkle with Christmas spirit!

Prepping Your Nails

  1. 1
    Shape your nails. Before you start your manicure, you’ll want to smooth and shape the edges. Use a nail file to gently shape the tips of your nails, and remove any uneven or jagged edges. This nail art looks great with rounded or square tips, so file them however you prefer. [1]
  2. 2
    Apply a base coat. A base coat should be the foundation of every single manicure you do. A base coat creates a sticky base for your polish, helping your manicure to last as long as possible. It can also even out imperfections to create an even, smooth base. Finally, a base coat ensures that your polish won’t stain your nails. Apply your base coat to every nail, and allow it to dry fully before moving on.[2]
  3. 3
    Paint your nails. You’ll need to paint your nails a solid color before starting on the holly nail design. The design will be green and red, so choose another festive polish that will let your designs stand out. White and gold are both excellent choices, and the holly design will stand out against either color.
    • The best method for painting your nail is the trusty three-stroke method. Apply a stripe of your polish down the center of your nail. Then, apply two more stripes on either side. Your entire nail should be covered in polish, without using too much or too little.[3]

Creating the Holly Design

  1. 1
    Put a bead of green polish on a flat surface. The green polish you picked out for this nail art probably comes with your standard polish brush. Because the holly leaves are so small, you will need a smaller nail art brush to create them. Pick up a bit of green polish from the bottle using the normal polish brush, and put a little bead, or droplet of polish, onto a smooth surface.[4]
    • A nonporous surface like glass or metal is best for this, because it will not absorb your polish.
  2. 2
    Create your holly leaves using the thin nail art brush. Dip your small nail art brush into the green polish. Then, carefully create one stripe widthwise at the base of your nail. This stripe will be the body of the first leaf. Using your brush, carefully create spikes coming out of this leaf, slowly forming it into the shape of a holly leaf. It might not look perfect, but as long as you get the general shape, that’s all that matters![5]
    • After you’ve created one leaf along the base of your nail, create another leaf going in the opposite direction down the side of your nail. The two leaves will end up forming an L shape.
    • While you’re creating this leaf, it might be helpful to Google pictures of holly leaves. That will give you an idea of what yours should look like.
  3. 3
    Put a bead of red polish on the flat surface. Your holly berries, like the leaves, are much too small to create with a standard polish brush. Instead, use your brush to put a drop of polish on your surface. You will be using a dotting tool to create your berries.[6]
  4. 4
    Use your dotting tool to add the holly berries. Dip your dotting tool into the droplet of red polish. Then, carefully dot it between the two leaves you’ve created on your nail. You can add as many “berries” as you like using this technique. Just make sure they are touching the leaves that you’ve created.[7]
  5. 5
    Apply a topcoat. This step is crucial to protect your carefully created design. Once your holly has dried completely, apply a clear topcoat over the entire nail. Not only will this create a beautiful shine on your nail, but it will help keep your polish from chipping.[8]
    • If you notice your manicure start to lose its shine, you can always apply another coat of topcoat to bring it back to life!

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    What You’ll Need

    • Nail file
    • Base coat
    • White or gold nail polish for base
    • Red and green polish for design
    • Thin nail art brush
    • Dotting tool
    • Clear topcoat

    Article Info


    This article was co-authored by our trained team of editors and researchers who validated it for accuracy and comprehensiveness. Together, they cited information from 8 references.

    Categories: Featured Articles | Holiday Nail Art | Plant Life Nail Art

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