8 3D Nail Art Designs That'll Turn Your Manicures Into A Work Of Art

You can even try some at home.

These 3D nail art designs will turn your manicure into an actual work of art.
Getty Images/Mireya Acierto / Stringer

Nail designs can get pretty detailed, like nail bed-sized works of art. You can find everything from lifelike animal prints to florals, but 3D nail art is undoubtedly the most advanced kind of manicure you can get.

Besides just looking really cool (they are, in fact, 3-dimensional), 3D nail designs take flat manicures to a whole new level. Case in point: the bubbly glass nails Billie Eilish rocked in her video for "Lo Vas a Olvidar."

“3D art is raised on a nail that adds dimension, and it can vary in many different heights,” says salon owner and nail artist Lavette Cephus, who's done a range of these designs for New York Fashion Week. “Depending on how much dimension you want, 3D can be very simplistic or it can be very exaggerated.”

You can wear these multidimensional designs with acrylic, gel, or traditional nail polish, though Christine Doan, a Los Angeles-based nail artist, says using gel is the easiest to work with and will last the longest. And, as is the case with traditional nail art, 3D manicures can be anything you want — think jewels, gemstones, letters, and fabrics. Celebrity nail artist and owner of The Editorial Nail, Gracie J, says that "the bolder, the better." It is 3D, after all.

That said, though 3D nails are the definition of maximalist, if you're looking for a more subdued look, there’s still plenty of ways to play around with these raised mani designs. Here are eight bold 3D nail art looks to use as inspo the next time you go to the salon (or try out yourself at home).


Sweater Weather

Even though the holidays are over, you can still play around with sweater weather via your manicure. Doan says these are some of the most popular designs in the winter months. Regardless if you use gel or traditional nail polish, to get this look at home, make sure to first paint your base, main color, and top coat. After that's dry, Doan says the best way to achieve this is to draw your cable knit pattern with a thin brush, then cover it in at-home dip powder. Let it cure, then dust off the powder for the textured design.



Rock some sparkly accents by adding jewels, which is one of the most common 3D nail art techniques. Whether you use pearls or faux diamonds, it's an easy way to add some bling. “Flat stones are low-key, but still provide a little statement,” Gracie J says.

To achieve this type of look at home, Doan says the only special tool you'll need is a strong resin or nail glue to add the jewels to your nails.



Ever since Cardi B wore crystal nail art, Cephus says the design has become a huge hit. “There's literally no limit on how big a crystal can be on a nail," she tells Bustle.

If you want to go all out, the crystal trend is best replicated at the salon. Be it Swarovski or inexpensive rhinestones, this particular look guarantees a whole other layer of dimension.



Incorporating fabric onto your nails is another way to quite literally add texture to your 3D design. If you decide to go for something similar to this denim look, it’s best to get them done professionally.

A pro tip for designs like this? "You can't really wear this type of art for super long periods of time," Cephus tells Bustle.



Despite how intricate it looks, using charms and jewelry is a fairly easy way to experiment with 3D nails. Plus, if you use a removable charm, you can unclasp when you're doing things (like the dishes) with your hands.

Doan recommends buying charm trinkets on Amazon and gold clasps from craft stores. “I drill a little hole into the end of the nail and attach the findings to a clasp that [also lets me] remove my charm when I'm washing my hair or doing anything," she says. Of course, don't drill your nails at home — if you're going to DIY this style, stick with glueing on your charms.


Zodiac Sign

Are you constantly waiting for the chance to divulge your sun, moon, and rising sign? Try wearing your signs on your nails with a 3D design like this. Gracie J hand-painted this horned goat Capricorn symbol, but if you’re giving it a try at home for the first time, start by practicing with simpler patterns like 3D stripes.

After letting your base, color, and top coat dry, Cephus says to start by using a thin brush to create a few stripes. “Keep going over each stripe about five, six times, and it'll eventually start being raised,” Cephus says. She recommends skipping the top coat, so it doesn’t get rid of the 3D look. “The amount of pressure that you apply determines the width of your line,” she says. “If you apply very light pressure, you can get a very thin line, but the more pressure, the thicker line you get." After nailing simple patterns, test out some astrology-themed shapes.


Designer Logos

If a Gucci belt isn’t in your budget this year, try the next best thing: Wear the logo on your nails. According to Doan, designer logos is another popular 3D manicure design that is worth taking to the salon. Or, if you've got serious DIY mani skills, use a technique similar to the sweater pattern: Draw any logo on your nail, then use acrylic powder on top to give it some texture. You could also buy designer logo charms and attach them to the nail with resin.



Let your nails make an actual statement with 3D lettering. While Gracie J usually hand-paints all of her letters, you can try an easier tactic for home manicures. She recommends putting gel in alphabet resin molds, letting it cure, and then placing them on the nail with nail resin. Finish with a top coat to seal it in.