You don't need to spend the day at the salon to get an artfully designed set of nails. Instead of shelling out big bucks to have someone else paint decorative designs on your fingers, you can do your own nail art at home using polish and toothpicks. Even a novice nail artist can get creative and use picks as polish applicators, making simple polka dot patterns or striped designs. More accomplished artsy types can go for a complex type of nail decor and draw on small-sized thematic shapes such as Valentine's Day hearts or summer sunshines.
Choose a main or background color for your nails. Paint your nails with the base color. Allow your polished nails to dry completely before moving on.
Cover a paper plate with kitchen foil to make a palette for your secondary nail colors. Pick a pattern or design -- such as polka dots, stripes, zig-zags or hearts -- for your nails. Pour dime-sized pools of the the colors that you need for the design onto the foil-covered plate.
Dip one end of the toothpick into the polish pool. Wipe the excess off onto the foil. Draw your design onto your nails with the toothpick. Dot the toothpick over your nails to create a polka-dotted look, or drag it up and down to make stripes. Use the pick as a drawing tool to make hearts, diamonds or other shapes similar to how you would draw with a pencil. Wait for the polish to dry before you add to your design.
Add another color if you want a multi-hued look. Dip a new toothpick into a second, or third, color of nail polish. Repeat the drawing and design step to add to your overall nail look. Let your nails dry completely.
Paint on a clear top coat to seal in your polish and add shine to your color.