Rainbow Gradient Tutorial

With the new film Noah, starring Russell Crowe, Emma Watson and Jennifer Connelly, out in cinemas this week, I thought I’d share a rainbow gradient tutorial.


The story of Noah and the great flood ends with the creation of the first rainbow and a conversation between God and Noah:

‘And God said, “I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth.  Whenever I bring clouds over the earth and the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will remember my covenant between me and you and all living creatures of every kind. Never again will the waters become a flood to destroy all life.”’
(Genesis 9:13-15)

A rainbow is a symbol that God is always faithful and that he keeps his promises.


Photo by Blaowphoto


For this design, in addition to your base and top coat, you will need a cosmetic sponge, a dotting tool, and white, red, yellow, light blue, dark blue and pink nail varnishes. I used White on White by Revlon and then I used acrylic paints by folkArt for the other colours but nail varnish will work just as well. I just find that acrylic paints dry faster (see here for more tips on working with acrylic paints).


1. Apply your base coat, followed by two coats of your white nail varnish. This will make your colours much more vibrant so is strongly advised.

2. Next, on a palette, mix a bit of your red and yellow nail varnish, a bit of your yellow and light blue, and a bit of your dark blue and pink so what you have is an orange, a green and a purple. (If you already have orange, green and purple nail varnishes then this stage isn’t needed.)

3. Taking your cosmetic sponge, apply thick layers of coloured stripes in the following order: red, orange, yellow, green, light blue, dark blue, purple.

4. Gently dab the sponge on each of your nails in turn.  Top up the sponge with more layers of stripes as necessary, remembering to use the same order as before.

5. Repeat this process three or four times so that the colours appear rich on your fingers.

6. Once you are happy with the gradients, pour out some white nail varnish or acrylic paint onto a palette and, taking your dotting tool, dot zig-zag shapes horizontally onto each of your nails. If this step is too fiddly then you could use a nailart pen.  Or if you have the patience to wait for your nails to dry then you could apply chevron guides to help you.

7. Finally apply your top coat and clear up around your nails using a Q-tip soaked in nail varnish remover.  If you have used acrylic paint then you may need a couple of coats of top coat to seal in your design safely.

There you have it!  Enjoy your colourful, summery nails!  Let me know if you decide to try them.



5 thoughts on “Rainbow Gradient Tutorial

  1. Pingback: Why Use Acrylic Paints for Nailart? | tillynailart

  2. Pingback: The Easiest Nailart Technique | tillynailart

  3. Pingback: Friday Faves – Episode 14 | tillynailart

  4. Pingback: I’m Ready to Try Nailart | tillynailart

  5. Pingback: Ombre Seaside Nailart Tutorial | tillynailart

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s