Saran Wrap Tutorial

Earlier today I posted my first ‘saran wrap’ manicure.

I wanted to try my best to put together a little photo-tutorial for you, as this technique is sooo easy, quick and relatively mess free.  Sponged gradient manicures as well as the saran-wrap manicure have become sooo popular lately, and I am one of the many caught up in the hype.  I combined both of these techniques (in a way).

What you will need:

* At least two shades of polish (I used three.  You can make them complimentary shades or contrasting shades depending on the look you wish to achieve)

* A plastic sandwich bag (or any other non-absorbing surface: piece of aluminum foil, back of a stamping plate etc)

* A piece of saran wrap rolled/scrunched up into a ball

1. Paint your nails with a base coat.  For this look I only applied a base coat on my nails, but if you have staining on your nails, or would like a more colorful backdrop for your manicure you may paint your whole nail any color you wish.  Make sure your base coat/base color is fully dry!

2. Choose the colors you wish to dab on and paint a small section of your plastic bag with them (haphazardly)

3. While this polish ‘blob’ is still wet, press your saran wrap ball firmly into the polish and lift up.  This is what your plastic bag will look like after you pressed the saran wrap into it:

The ‘missing’ polish is now on your ball of saran wrap:

4. Working one nail at a time and while the polish is still wet (so work fast) on the saran wrap, dab it firmly directly down onto your nail.  If you dab this ball of polish once, you will get a splatter-like effect (with some of the base color still visible.  In my case, you’d be able to see some of the ‘naked’ nail beneath).  If you dab it over and over (pressing onto the nail, lifting, shifting a tiny bit, dabbing again, etc) you will get more of a water-color like effect.

5. Repeat steps 1-4 on all of the nails.  You can always go back with all (or only some of the shades) and re-dab the saran wrap to create the look/effect you desire.

(I concentrated the dabbing on the ‘tips’/top half of my nail, but you could press the saran wrap onto the entire surface of your nail as well)

6. Topcoat.  TIP, I applied a topcoat onto the polish while it was still semi-wet, and that created more of a smudged watered-down look.  If you wait for the dabbed on color to dry fully before applying topcoat you will get more of a splattered/splotchy look.

So how does this technique compare to a sponged gradient manicure?

In many ways these two are the same, but with the gradient manicure you are aiming to get a smooth/gradual transition.  Many times that requires dabbing each nail once or twice over to get the gradient saturated.  This saran wrap method will give you more of a ‘jagged’ result.  Kind of like a less-messy version of the splatter manicure 😉

I hope you found this little photo-tutorial helpful.

If you try it, I’d love to see so feel free to provide a link!


  • emlangille

    So helpful, I am definitely going to try this!

    • Hi emlangille,
      I’m so glad you found this helpful. I know some ladies paint their base shade, let it dry, paint their second color on top and then dabb the saran wrap onto the drying polish… this is another way of achieving this look BUT it doesn’t allow for multiple shade combos 😉

  • Åsa Larsson

    Fun! I have to try this sometime!

    • Hi Asa Larsson,
      I hope you do try it 😀 Let me know how it works out for you please 😀

  • Lacqueerisa Says

    love the combinations and i love how you do it! and they absolutely gorgeous! gonna have to put saran wrapping into one my to do list. 😉 thanks for sharing!

    • Hi Lacqueerisa Says,
      Thank you! I am so glad that you received this post so positively. If you do give it a try feel free to provide a link below… I’d love to see your version of this technique 😀

  • Oh what a lovely wrapping. I need to try this.

    • Hi Nailart-Addict,
      I hope you do play around with this method. I have another post using this technique comming tomorrow 😉

  • I really your take on the trend, especially with it combining with gradientstyle nails!

    • Hi Deborah,
      Thank you! 😀 I may have used this very technique for the guest post also 😉 … I’m on a roll… tomorrow’s post features this technique as well… lol

      • When a good technique is discovered it must be used as much as possible right :D?

  • AHH!!! So awesome!! I’ve been wanting to do this technique for a while now 😀 I think i’ll attempt it tonight for my Tutorial Tuesday post!! Thanks Marta!

    • Hi Winnie @ RRRawrr//NAILed,
      I’m so glad that you found this helpful!!!! 😀 I had been putting this technique off because I didn’t want to dab the saran on fresh polish on my nail… but this side baggie technique really worked well for me. I have another post featuring this technique scheduled for tomorrow 😀

  • I’m really digging what you did here! I have saran wrapped once, but I did it by painting polish onto my nail and then using the saran wrap to dab some off! I’m going to have to try it this way 🙂

    • Hi Stephanie,
      I have seen the tutorial for the on-the-nail saran wrap tutorial… I will say however that I have this odd phobia of messing with wet polish on the surface of my nail… I don’t know why but I do… so this allowed the wetness to stay on the baggie… rather than my nail;) lol

  • THANK YOU for this tutorial, this is a great addition to my nail-art-I-have-try-asap list 😉 I’m already thinking how to use this in some bold, Dracula colors. 😀

    • Hi Nusa,
      OOOOH, this would look so sharp with a base of white with red and black and gold saran wrap accents 😉 Please let me know if you tried it and how you fared 😉

  • Oh my! I checked out the link and your manicure turned out AWESOME!!!! Thank you for sharing it here. Love the colors you chose (black, white and gold play sooo well together in this technique) 😉