How to Create a DIY Negative Space Manicure (No Fancy Nail Salon Required)

At home, we tend to stick with the one-color manicure, leaving the more intricate designs and patterns to the pros. But a product has caught our eye that changes everything. Liquid Palisade ($14, Kiesque) allowed us to try a negative space manicure, and even with our sometimes shaky hands, the result was fabulous.


Liquid Palisade is like Painter's Tape, protecting the areas you don't want to get any nail polish on. It works for the sides and cuticle area, but you can also perfect a French mani or create shapes and designs.

It comes in an easy-to-use wand that is very much like my favorite liquid eyeliner. You paint it on and it becomes like a putty of sorts, similar to the sticky, tacky stuff that keeps perfume samples in magazines. 

After scouring the web for ideas (and seeing so many I want to try), I decided to go with a negative space manicure. The tools I needed were:

  • Liquid Palisade
  • Base coat
  • Nail polish of choice
  • Top coat
  • Tweezers
  • Manicure stick (toothpick works in a bind)
  • Patience 

Step 1: Start with clean nails. Apply base coat and allow to dry completely.


Step 2: Paint on the design of your choice with Liquid Palisade, covering the spots you don't want any polish on. I had to do this a couple of times to get used to it, as it wipes off very easily.

I started with a thin line but then thickened it once I was happy with how it looked. Extend the line onto your skin so you can pull it off easy later. There needs to be a thick coat for it to work and a tab of sorts so you can peel it off well. It goes on a light pink and darkens as it dries to a clear/deep purple.

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liquid for negative space mani

Step 3: Use the manicure stick to shape Liquid Palisade to your liking.


Step 4: Once Liquid Palisade is dry, paint your nails the color of your choice. You will paint the full nail, right over Liquid Palisade. For the nails I just painted tips, I only painted to the line.  


Step 5: Before the nail polish is dry, use the tweezers to peel off Liquid Palisade.

It might not be perfect the first time, which is why patience is key. This took me two tries. I even added some dots with the end of the manicure stick to my thumbnail. I also added a hint of gold polish at the base of the thumbnail, too.


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Step 6: Once dry, paint on a top coat. I used two layers of top coat to protect the manicure.

liquid palisade

I'm obsessed! I'm thinking I'm going to do more chevron patterns for my next DIY mani. Love.

negative space manicure

Liquid Palisade retails for $14. It's sold at Kiesque's site, as well as Sephora, Beauty Bar, and Amazon.


Images via So Nailicious; Michele Zipp

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