Sponge Nail Art Technique

Sponge Nail Art Technique use method is a sponge, once you have learnt the Sponge nail art technique you will be able to wear it alone or combine it with other techniques. This is one of the easiest methods to learn. And the equipment used can be found around most homes – so you won’t have to buy anything special to do this.

Sponging Equipment

The main piece of equipment for this method is a sponge.  It doesn’t matter what kind of sponge. You could use any of the following:

1/ make-up

2/ kitchen

3/ Bathroom

4/ car

5/ face paint


Every sponge will create it’s own unique look. Sponges that are dense, like make-up ones are ideal for creating gradient looks. They have good coverage and make blending colors easy. While a sponge like bathroom or kitchen one will create blotchy patches. Which is perfect for galaxy or cloud designs.

The picture below shows four different sponges and the results they produce.


Sponge Types
Sponge Types

The first three are different types of make up sponges, the last one is a kitchen sponge

It’s best to play with different sponges to see what you like best. There is no right or wrong choice here.

If you are wanting to create a Gradient look, then depending on the method you use, you may need something to mix the polish with and a piece of plastic. A toothpick or wooden cuticle pusher with a sharp tip can be used for the tool for mixing. And for the plastic you could use an on fast food lid, a zip lock bag, a clear plastic folder (used to hold paper).

Gradient Nail Techniques

There is more than one way to achieve a gradient nail look.

 + Gradient Nails – Technique 1

+ Gradient Nails – Technique 2

Theres is no right or wrong way – so try all of them and then use the one that works best for you. Below are main steps that are done regardless of the technique you use.

Setting Up For Sponging

The set up for this method is simple.  You need to have a piece of sponge or two pre-cut.  The pieces of sponge should have one side that is flat. This is the side that you will use to apply the polish to your nail. So it needs be wide enough to cover your nail.

You will need at least two colors for a gradient. But you can use as many as will fit on your nail.

Setting The Stage With Your Main Color

Applying a main color over your nail is an optional step. I do this step as it takes less time to complete the mani if I already have full overage on my nails.

I usually make this one of the colors that I will be using later.

Gradient Nails – Technique 1 – The basic steps:

. Apply the main colour (optional)

. Apply two or more colors to a piece of plastic

. Lightly blend the colours

. Sponge your nail


Additional Equipment 

For this you will also need a tool for mixing the polish and a piece of plastic. A toothpick is good for mixing (and cheap). But you could also use an old cuticle pusher or a dotting tool.

The plastic will be what you use to paint your polish on. I use an old lid that comes with fast food, however, you can also use a zip lock bag or a clear plastic pocket (the kind that holds paper).

Line Up Your Polish On A Piece Of Plastic

On your piece of plastic, paint one stripe of polish. Then next to it paint another line of colour next to the 1st one. You want the lines of polish almost or just touching. Be generous with the amount of polish you use. (The sponge will soak a lot of it up)

Repeat this for as many colours as you want. If this is the first time you are trying this start with two or three.


Sponge Paint
Sponge Paint


Blur The Lines By Mixing Them

For this step you want to lightly mix the polishes together to blur the dividing line between them.  You are not mixing both colors together – just the dividing line to blend it.

A toothpick is perfect for this job (and cheap too). But I’ve also used an old cuticle pusher and even a dotting tool before.

You don’t need to be exact with this step. The sponge will blend the dividing lines even more so you don’t need to be perfect.

Mixed with a old cuticle pusher
Mixed with a old cuticle pusher
After mixing
After mixing


Dab With Your Sponge

Next, take your sponge and dab it into your polish. Then dab it onto a piece of plastic that has no polish on it. Doing this evens out the polish in the sponge. If you don’t you will end up with a blotchy look.

Then dab the sponge onto your nail. It’s almost like a bouncing action. If you need more coverage – let this coat of polish dry before adding another coat.

A word of warning – your sponge will eventually break down. If you find that it is sticking to your nail then it’s time for a new piece of sponge. Otherwise you’ll end up with small bits of sponge stuck to your nail.

This will look quite bumpy but it will smooth out when you have a topcoat on this.


Dab With Your Sponge
Dab With Your Sponge


And the final result after applying a topcoat. The lines between the colors are quite blended.

Are you wondering why there is a difference in the colors from the two pictures above to the one below.  It is because I used China Glaze Tranzitions. So the colors changed once I applied the topcoat.


Gradient Nails – Technique 2 – The Basic Steps

1/ Apply your main color (optional)

2/ Apply two or more lines of polish to your sponge

3/ Sponge nail

Additional Equipment

Something to dab the sponge on – you can use an old lid, zip lock bag, clear plastic pocket, saran wrap or even foil.

Apply Your Polish Directly To The Sponge

This technique differs from the first in that you apply your polish directly to the sponge. Paint your first color on your sponge, then paint your next color next to it.

You need to apply a fair amount of polish with this method. The sponge will soak a lot of it up.


Apply Your Polish Directly To The Sponge
Apply Your Polish Directly To The Sponge


Sponge The Polish Onto Your Nail

Just like the first method you even the polish out in the sponge by dabbing it a few times on a piece of plastic (or alternative).  Then dab (bounce) the sponge onto your nail. Repeating when the 1st coat is dry if you want more color.


Dab the sponge on a piece of plastic to even out the colour
Dab the sponge on a piece of plastic to even out the colour.
Then dab on your nail
Then dab on your nail.


I started with only a base coat on my nail for this method. So it took three coats for me to get enough coverage that I was happy with.


1st coat - 2nd coat - 3rd coat
1st coat – 2nd coat – 3rd coat

The picture below shows how much a topcoat evens the polish all out.  And like I mentioned earlier – the sponge nail art technique looks great by itself. However you can combine it with other things as well.  Like a glitter topcoat, or stamping or both!

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