Elegant Floating Manicure – Tutorial

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Floating negative space manicure tutorial

If you love edgy designs, this elegant Floating manicure is for you! Party season just around the corner and this chic nail design can be done in any colour combination so it’s perfect for any special occasion. This floating design was inspired by the negative space nail trend but there is one major differnce. Traditional negative space manicures expose only a small area of your nail, the floating manicure however has only a small area of nail polish so the majority of your nail is kept bare.

It may look impressive but this nail design is really easy to do. You will need striping tape, 2 different nail polishes and a plan for the layout of the geometric shapes. The shapes and colours are up to you! Try painting the shapes using different textures for even more variety. Use your imagination, this manicure has so much potential for experimentation! Just remember to allow enough time for this design, (at least 1 hour) because each coat must be completely dry before you put striping tape on it.


  • Sheer nude, metallic and dark textured nail polish
  • A base coat
  • A matte topcoat
  • Striping tape

Floating negative space manicure tutorialHOW TO:

  1. Paint base in sheer nude or, if your nails are not stained, just apply a base coat. Next apply 1 layer of a matte top coat and allow your nails to dry completely.
  2. Attach striping tape as pictured. Make sure the tape is attached to the nail properly to ensure the clean lines.
  3. Now work one nail at a time. Paint the geometric shapes in a metallic colour, then carefully remove the striping tape with tweezers. Repeat this step on all nails. Let dry completely.
  4. Use striping tape to make smaller geometric shapes over the metallic ones.
  5. Now paint small geometric shapes with dark textured nail polish and accurately remove the tape.
  6. No need for a final top coat. Just ensure you allow enough time for your last layer to dry and you’re ready to go!

Floating negative space manicure tutorialFloating negative space manicure tutorial

Used: Orly Bonder base coat, OPI You Callin’ Me a Lyre?, China Glaze 2030, Essence Here’s My Number and OPI Matte top coat.

I’m really happy with how this nail design turned out, the negative space trend was on my to-do list for a long time. What do you think of this Floating Manicure? Keen to give it a try?

As always, if you create a nail art inspired by this tutorial, make sure you show us! Tweet or Instagram us a photo with a tag #sonailicious we’d love to see your work!

– Elina/NailScope, xx

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