Tutorial: Black and White Negative Space Nails

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negative space nailsnails at kye spring 2015Negative space manicures aren’t new to nail art enthusiasts but it seems like they’ve finally made their big entrance into the fashion world. At the recent New York Fashion Week approximately 1/3 of all the nail designs were negative space nails. The 2 other main looks were gradients and various types of French manicure. That means negative space nails will be a huge trend in 2015! No wonder, this type of chic geometric nail design adds an interesting twist to any beauty look.

One of the most interesting negative space nail designs was at the Kye Spring 2015 show – black and white with the mismatched geometric shapes. The nail design was created by Rose Velez-Miggins for INM Nails. Today we’re showing how to re-create this high fashion nail art at home! Just follow our step-by-step tutorial below.


  • Black and white opaque nail polish
  • A ridge filling base
  • A glossy top coat
  • A matte topcoat
  • Striping tape


negative space nail art tutorial

  1. Start by prepping your nails. With negative space nails the condition and colour of your nails are particularly important. So first apply your usual nail strengthener and follow up with a ridge filler base to ensure flawlessly smooth and evenly coloured nail plate.
  2. Once the base is is dry, apply nail art tape* in graphic shapes as pictured on all nails.
  3. Paint over each nail with one coat of either black or white nail polish.
  4. Now work one nail at a time. Apply second coat of either black or white polish (depending with each finger you start this step) and accurately remove the tape. Repeat on all fingers.
  5. Accurately clean up around cuticle.
  6. Apply a glossy top coat over all finger nails, except for the middle finger – use a matte top coat over it.

*Note 1: bright striping tape may stain your base leaving bright marks along the negative space edge, so it’s better to use some lightly coloured (silver or clear) tape and definitely not the red one, like we did.

*Note 2: if you’re good with a nail art brush, ditch the tape and simply paint your nails leaving the geometric areas unpainted. It’s much easier and faster that way.

black and white negative space nail art tutorialblack and white negative space nails

Used: Orly Nailtrition and Essie Ridge Filler as a base, Sea Siren Leucosia (white) and Midnight Moves (black), Essie Matte About You and Sally Hansen Big Shiny top coat. Wearing Sportsgirl ring throughout.

Are you a fan of negative space nails? Will you be trying it anytime soon?

– Maria, xx

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  • Wow! Love a tutorial! I even post it on my Facebook timeline. Maria, you are genius! ;)

  • I am going to try this for sure, because I love the effect of the negative space in a black and white combination!

  • I love how this look is just black and white, super classic!
    Squeaky Q recently posted…Review – Northern Star: Cuticle Oil in Twisted PoppyMy Profile

    • Thank you lovely! Yes, indeed, it’s such a great look – chic yet grown up enough for anyone to wear! Wish I knew who to credit for it. Sadly, I could not find any information about manicurist/s who worked on Kye show.

  • I think this might be the best solution I’ve seen for my constant urge to only wear black or white polish these days. Very scandinavian and cool! :D

  • I did these nails for the KYE show! This is my third season working with Kathleen Kye! Your interpretation looks great Maria!!!! I am flattered ;)
    <3 Rose

    • Wow! So nice to e-meet you, Rose and what a great, great design! So glad to hear you like my re-creation. This design is so versatile, even on my super short nails it still looks great. Great job, Rose! xx

  • Betty

    I love this design! So edgy and classy at the same time! :)

  • Love this look, really clean but chic!

  • Julieta

    How did you do the ring finger? The placement of the striping tape should have left some negative space lines, did you fill them in later?

  • I don’t understand how you did you third finger with the negative space on the middle ! so weird, but stunning result ! xoxo from France

  • Very good nails design :)

  • Stylish as hell! Damn, I can’t wait to try this out, looks amazing. Really appreciate the tutorial. :)

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