Watercolor Roses Tutorial

This is my first tutorial that I will be publishing, which is no surprise because tutorials take a rather large amount of patience and you have to focus that whole time. Not really my strong suit, focus.

So this is the tutorial for my “Watercolor rose nails” technique, which was posted as a guest post at FingerFood nails. It’s a really cool technique, and I’m very excited to show you, as I do not believe I have seen it done anywhere else.


I used the same colors here as I used in the originals, other than swapping out the blue base for a yellow base. You’ll also need a small brush and acetone. I do recommend sticking with dark roses on a light base, as I tried this technique with white roses on a navy base and it was atrocious. (I’ll show you at the end)


Step 1: Paint on a sloppy rose-ish shaped circle blob for the base of your roses. For whatever reason, I seem to like having my roses hanging over the edges of my nails, although they look nice anywhere. None of the painting of the roses needs to be precise or perfect, because you’re just going to mess it up with acetone anyway. However, do not put the paint on thick, or use a second coat (even if the first coat is streaky), as the final step will not work with too thick of a layer of rose-paint.

watercolor roses tutorial step 1

Step 2: Paint on the first set of rose lowlights in a slightly darker color. Little C-shapes all over, imitating the shape of petals although again, they do not have to be even close to perfect.

watercolor roses tutorial step 2

Step 3: Add more lowlights in black. You could probably get away with skipping step 2, I just have not yet verified that. Again, you’ll see that these are not perfect, and other than my ring finger, which magically decided to look great, they don’t really look like roses.

watercolor roses tutorial step 3

Step 4: Dip your small brush in acetone. It should be saturated, but it doesn’t need to be dripping. Small drips won’t hurt, though. You’re going to swirl that brush around on your roses in similar shapes to the shapes you were making with painting the lowlights, effectively removing some of the paint and relocating some. Try to create petal shapes outside of your original “rose blobs” during this step, as those semi-transparent edges help add some dimension to this manicure.

watercolor roses tutorial step 4

Step 5: Throw on some leaves and you have some really cool roses that look like you did them with watercolor paints!

watercolor roses tutorial final

Leaves are not my strong point. I recommend starting with really thin ones that you can always make wider, as that will help you get a pointy tip on the end if you paint a thin line first and thicken up the middle. What’s great about this manicure, is if you can see the brush strokes, or it they come out a little sloppy, it goes along with the effect.


And there you have it!


As promised, the failed white roses on navy. Not even watermarking these :P