DIY Dotting Tool

Fairly often I post nail art designs that involve polka dots even though I don’t own a dotting tool. I’ve mentioned in several of my posts I use a bobby pin or other homemade dotting tool and on several occasions I’ve gotten questions about it. So, I thought doing a post on how to make a dotting tool from things you probably already have around your house would be beneficial. Plus, making your own dotting tool is easy and cheap!

Most nail art designs only require a single dotting tool. But there are ways to make different size dotting tools.

For step by step instructions check below the jump!

What you need: A bobby pin OR a straight pin and pencil with anย eraser.

To make a dotting tool out of a bobby pin all you have to do is pull the bobby pin apart. I like to use old bobby pins that are already stretched out for this, but a new one will work as well.

To make a dotting tool using a straight pin just push the into the eraser of a pencil. There are endless types of straight pins, I had 3 different types just around my house. Each makes a slightly different sized dot.

And that’s it! Two different, equally simple ways to make a dotting tool. If you have any other DIY dotting tool methods leave it in a comment below so I can give it a try. A girl can never have too many dotting tools!


  1. My only dotting tool is a used wine bottle cork with a straight pin stuck in one end and a straightened paperclip stuck in the other. I unfolded one side of the paperclip and twisted and bent it until it broke off, and then stuck the broken end into the cork. The construction is similar to the pencil eraser above, but the wider, shorter grip is similar to holding a nail polish bottle brush, and the cork’s soft material is comfy. I don’t actually do a lot of dotting, but the tiny end of the paperclip is my favorite clean-up tool! I can usually just gently scrape flakes of stray polish away. I think I’ll try using a pencil, though; the longer grip might be more comfortable for my writing hand, and it would be easy to add one of those rubber grip cushions, too!

      1. All great ideas….thank you all so much for the great tips,I will definitely be using hair pins,straight pins and toothpicks!๐Ÿ˜Ž๐Ÿ˜‰

  2. Great ideas! I’ve used bobby pins before, but I must need to work on my technique.

    Also, I think it’s hilarious that you have Kate Spade pencils…or that they even exist! ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. They’re the cutest pencils ever! Sadly I just never use pencils so I decided to use them to make my dotting tools ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. I’m sure you already know this one, but I use a toothpick. I don’t use it for dotting so much as that I use it to paint around dots to make cheetah print. It’s great for making lines and dots too! It’s a multipurpose tool!

  4. I am gonna try using ball point pens as tools….it’s an idea …though haven’t gotten around to trying it. Fine tips n round tips ๐Ÿ˜‰

  5. Can you tell me what the 3rd pin is? Not the regular straight pin and not the rounded too one but the other one. Thank you!

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  8. I use a Qtip for a dotting tool. Of course you have to take off the cotton tip but it works great for flowers on your toes to painted rock dots. I also use a toothpick which is great for tiny dots or you can cut tip for a larger of a dot.

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