Tutorial: Roses (with a toothpick!)

Also known as “vintage roses” these little flowers are extremely easy and are done with a common kitchen object: a toothpick. For this tutorial I’ll be doing the roses on a simple background, but some people do variations like putting them on stripes or in a combination with dots.


  • Nail polish in at least 4 colors. You’ll want a green for the leaves, at least 2 pinks or reds for the flower, and a base color. I am using Ciate ‘Ferris Wheel’ and ‘Kiss Chase’, LA Colors Art Deco in pink, Deborah Lippmann ‘I Kissed A Girl’ and Sally Hansen ‘Green with Envy’,
  • A toothpick or two or three
  • Clear top coat (not required but highly encouraged)
image by me (no I didn't steal the tester one I promise)

image by me (no I didn’t steal the tester one I promise)

Let’s Begin!!!

Step 1: Prep. File and shape your nails so they’re all one length. You can buff but I don’t recommend it because it can make your nails brittle and weak which is not good. You can also use a basecoat which a lot of people recommend, I don’t use it but skipping the basecoat can increase the chances of your nails being stained by the nail polish, so it’s up to you if you want to use it or not.

Step 2: Take your base color and apply as many coats as it takes to become opaque. Let that dry completely.

Step 3: Choose a color for the base of the flower. Dab a blob wherever you want onto the nail that you’re working on. It doesn’t have to be a perfect circle; more of an abnormally shaped thing.

Step 4: On a small piece of paper or a post-it, drop a small puddle of each of your pink/red polishes. Take a toothpick and dip it into one of the puddles. With a steady hand, make comma-like shapes around the edges of the blob. You’ll want to leave some open areas, or it just looks weird. Continue making c-shapes around the parameters of the blob with your different pinks and/or reds.

Image by me

Step 5: For the leaves, take your green and make another puddle. With a toothpick, make two triangle shapes on the outside of the flower. You can also take a darker green and outline the leaf.

Image by me

Image by me

Step 6: Put a top coat on if you want and Boom! You’re done!

Image by me

Image by me

If you want, you can paint stripes or dots in another color before you start the flowers.

Please comment if you have any other variations on this style or any questions about this tutorial!


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