Nail Art Tutorial: Cupcake Nails

Cupcake Nail Polish Nail Art TutorialHope you all enjoyed your Easter and your yummy chocolate bunnies!

Here’s the Cupcake Nail Art I wore over the holiday. Warning: it’ll probably give you cavities. Hands down the girliest manicure I’ve ever done.

When I saw missglamorazzi’s nail tutorial on YouTube last month, I wanted to try it. But it was only when a Swatch And Learn reader, Alaeis, posted pretty swatches on her blog that really made me want to try my hand at it.

I decided to put my own spin on cupcake nails by using hearts instead of the ‘cherry’. Also, I wanted my frosting to look like it was drippy and gooey.

This was my first time creating this look and my first time using a dotting tool or nail sequins. I had so much fun!

Keep reading – I’ll show you how to recreate the look – it’s easier than you think. I’ve included step-by-step written instructions and photo aids to help you follow along. (I’ve also included a link to missglamorazzi’s video and Alaeis’ swatches at the bottom of the post.)

Cupcake Nail Swatches

(Click on any of the links for reviews & swatches where applicable.)

All swatches have:

Colors used:

Cupcake Nail Polish Nail Art Tutorial


Cupcake Nail Tutorial & Pictures


How to Cupcake Nail Tutorial


Cupcake Manicure


Cupcake Manicure Swatches


Cupcake Nails Swatches

Natural Light

Cupcake Nail Art Swatch


Cupcake Nail Tutorial & Pictures


Cupcake Nails Daylight

Natural Light

Cupcake Nail Tutorial

Step 1: Choose Your Colors, Sequins & Dotting Tool

Cupcake Nail Tutorial

  1. China Glaze For Audrey
  2. Nicole by OPI Daffy Dill
  3. OPI Lucky Lucky Lavender
  4. Cinapro Dazzle Decorations Kit
  5. OPI Do You Lilac It?
  6. Orly Spark
  7. OPI Alpine Snow
  8. Dotting tool (generic brand)

You’ll need 5 different base colors (1 for each nail) and a good white creme nail polish.

Don’t have a dotting tool? Using a toothpick gets the job done.

And if you don’t have nail sequins handy, consider picking out a shimmery red nail polish – you can just draw on the heart freehand. Or you could do what missglamorazzi did and paint on a circle for a ‘cherry’.

Step 2: Paint Nails

Cupcake Nails Tutorial

Make sure you prep your nails with a good base coat. Then apply what you’ve chosen for the base colors. I used 2 coats for each color, but use as many as you need to get an opaque finish.

Step 3: Paint the Frosting

Cupcake Nail Art Tutorial

I didn’t paint the frosting on the same way as missglamorazzi because I wanted my frosting to look like it was dripping.

To make the frosting like I did, it’s easy peasy:

  • Using your white polish, paint a straight stroke in the center of the nail 2/3 down the nail to the tip
  • Paint one curved stroke on either side to meet the first stroke at the tip of the nail

You can fill in the area in between the 3 strokes to make the frosting more ‘drippy’ and sloppy like I did.

If your white isn’t that opaque, I suggest going over the frosting a second time. You really want this to be as white and as bright as possible so that the sprinkles will show up better.

Step 4: Apply Sequins, Paint on Cherry, or Paint on Heart

Cupcake Nail-Art Tutorial

This is the first time I’ve ever applied nail sequins, so it may not be right, but this is what I did and it worked.

  • Lightly cover dotting tool tip with clear top coat
  • Dab a tiny dot onto the middle of each nail where you want to place the sequin
  • Apply more top coat to the dotting tool tip
  • Pick up sequin with sticky tip
  • Gently place sequin onto the dot you made earlier & press it down so it lies as close to the nail as possible

If your nails are curved like mine, don’t worry about getting the sequin perfectly flat. As long as you anchor it with top coat and ‘glue’ it there, you’ll be good to go.

Step 5: Get Dotty with Your Sprinkles

Tutorial for Cupcake Manicure

Tip: Instead of dipping your dotting tool in the nail-polish bottle, I suggest grabbing a piece of plastic wrap, a plastic bag, or a piece of aluminum foil. Use it as your polish palette. (You really only need a tiny amount. Even what I used above was more than enough.)

Create your dots by dipping your dotting tool into the polish and covering each nail’s frosting. Put the colors in a random location on each nail – it just makes it look cuter.

Cupcake Nails Pictures

Step 6: Apply Your Favorite Top Coat

I used Seche Vite Dry Fast Top Coat because I hate waiting for polish to dry, and also because I like how shiny it makes my nails.

It’s vital to use a top coat at this point because you want to ‘cement’ your sequins in place for maximum wear.

Cupcake Nail Swatches

Step 7: Don’t Bite Your Nails No Matter How Delicious They Look!

So there you have it. It wasn’t hard at all. This was the first time I’ve ever done nail art with freehand painting (i.e. no nail stamping like Konad or Bundle Monster)! So, if I say it’s easy and I can do it, you’ll be able to do it easily, too!

Want to see how missglamorazzi did it? Check out her cupcake nail tutorial here!

Also, check out how Alaeis’ cupcake nails turned out! So cute!

What manicure did you wear for the Easter holiday? Would you try recreating these cupcake nails? What was your favorite nail art that you ever did yourself? Please share!


18 thoughts on “Nail Art Tutorial: Cupcake Nails

  1. Morgan

    This is soooo cute!! I really want to try this sometime 🙂 I love the color combos too – they are perfect for spring and easter – Great job!! 🙂

    1. Mary Post author

      Hi Morgan,

      Thanks! 🙂

      When you try it, please come back and share it – I’d love to see where your creativity takes you! That’s the beauty of a DIY manicure – everyone puts their unique stamp on it so they don’t look identical.

      Is there any specific nail art that you’d like to see me try on Swatch And Learn?

    1. Mary Post author

      Hi Alaeis,

      Thank you for showing me the lovely manicure you came up with. 🙂 I may have forgotten that I wanted to try this otherwise.

      Are you planning to do any other nail art? Have you seen any cool new nail tutorials?

      I’ve got a few more nail-art ideas for upcoming manicures, but I’ll need to buy nail-art brushes first and test it out on a few nails.

        1. Mary Post author

          Oh, those sound like something I’d want to try. Also am interested in doing watermelon nails and maybe little fish on each nail.

    1. Mary Post author

      Hey Amber,

      I had red round sequins, but thought I’d go all out with hearts. 🙂 Thank you for commenting! Although Fiona and I blog because we really enjoy sharing our opinions with everyone, we really appreciate feedback from our readers! It makes blogging really fun and engaging. Love to hear what others think, whether it’s good or bad. Kinda steers us in the right direction.

      Are you going to try this cupcake manicure? Or do you have any suggestions for future nail art I should try? I’m always willing to try new things especially in the name of Swatch And Learn! Hehehe

    1. Mary Post author

      Hey Steph,

      Wow – thanks for stopping by! I’ve followed Steph’s Closet for mannnny years. You have cute-as-a-button nails, and I don’t think I’ve ever seen a color you couldn’t pull off. Your encouragement really means a lot. 😀

    1. Mary Post author

      Hey mellinail,

      Thanks! 🙂 I had a blast doing it, and it was hard when I went to remove it because I enjoyed having cupcakes on my nails so much.

      The double-ended dotting tool was from a beauty-supply store called Fernanda’s. They have a website (, but I bought this at that Mississauga store. It was only $1.99 CAD! (The handle is made of wood. I’d prefer plastic so I can clean it.)

      Not sure if you shop at nail etailers, but I know that offers a few different dotting tools. You can find them under the Nail Art Colors & Stickers category and then click on Brushes & Tools. (I’ve had my eye on the Daniel Stone 5-Piece Pink Marble Dotting Tool Set for a long time, so the next time I order polishes, I’m going to throw that in.)

      Hope that helps!

    1. Mary Post author

      So glad that you enjoyed my cupcake nail art! 😀

      Please stop by again and let me know when you post swatches on your blog. I’d love to see your version of this! 🙂


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