10 Abstract Nail Art Ideas That Look Like Mini Masterpieces

Embrace your inner artist.

If you’re not particularly gifted in the art department, it can be hard enough to draw with a pencil and paper, let alone on a canvas as tiny as your nail bed. That’s why abstract nail art is so great — it gives even the most inept artists the opportunity to wear and create works of art on their fingertips.

“I absolutely love the freeness that I have creatively while doing abstract designs,” Riyah Martin, editorial nail artist and color mixologist at ORLY Color Labs, tells Bustle. “I love just flowing in the art.” Martin also appreciates that abstract designs allow her to create a unique, personalized look for each client, showcasing their individuality.

Abstract nail art is also DIY-friendly. According to celebrity nail artist and founder of Nails of LA Brittney Boyce, “a good striper brush and some practice are really all you need.” You can create nail designs using dots, swirls, or geometric shapes with neutral tones or bold shades. Whether you want to experiment with squiggles or play around with different color combinations, there’s no wrong or right way to go. “If it doesn't look nice, just remove it and try again,” says Boyce.

There’s a sea of designs out there. To narrow your search, here are 10 abstract nail art ideas to get your creative juices flowing.

Green Geometric Tips

Martin loves incorporating green shades in abstract nail designs. Scroll through her Instagram and you’ll see her love for the shade. This retro design is a standout.

Black & White Squiggles

Who said your right hand had to match your left? If you’re going to rock abstract nail art, take it to the next level and switch it up with two different colors or designs.

Sage & White Waves

Sage and white are an unexpected color combo that will elevate your manicure. Not to mention complement tons of ‘fits in your closet.

Iridescent Drip

Colorful French tips have been having a major moment for some time now, so change it up by adding an iridescent shade on the bottom half of your nails for a fresh spin.

Minimalist Negative Space

White nails are a tried-and-true classic. Work the shade into a negative space design for a look that Boyce says is a “very clean take on the abstract trend.” No time for the salon? Nail wraps are a great shortcut.

Playful Negative Space

For the more modern art take, Boyce notes that primary shades like true reds, blues, and yellows make a vibrant trifecta.

Bronzed Swirls

Gold nail lovers, this is the design for you. Bronze hues look great in abstract designs like this one, especially with a subtle pop of white.

Tangerine Dream

Tangerine is a beautiful accent color to introduce on your digits. If you need ideas for color combos, Boyce says to look for shades that are close together on the color wheel. One example: “A peach with an orange, or a milk-tea beige with a darker brown.”


Boyce says this kaleidoscopic design is a “sub-style within the overall abstract theme, and it works so well as it pairs unexpected colors together in ways that make sense.” Pucci-inspired designs look great on shorter nails, too, so you don’t need tips when you take this design for a whirl.

Grecian Hues

If you can’t go to Greece, bring the country to you with this blue and white abstract manicure. The breezy design will channel the breeze off the Mediterranean.