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 an 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!

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51 thoughts on “DIY Dotting Tool

  1. Great idea! Thanks for sharing :] I would love to do cute dots on my nails but never knew how to, now I do :]

    -Melanie Gordon
    Independent Scentsy Consultant

  2. 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!

  3. […] tip, I just added polka dots using Ulta Snow White along the tips. I used the bobby pin from my DIY dotting tool post to make the […]

  4. […] used Ulta Snow White as my base and with the large dotting tool I made for my DIY Dotting Tool post, I used Snow White, OPI Perfectly Red and Sally Hansen Xtreme Wear Pacific Blue to layer large […]

  5. […] silver dots, I used Funky Fingers Edward’s Volvo and the bobby pin dotting tool a made for my DIY Dotting Tool post. Selena only had 3 dots on her nail, but I felt 4 looked better for my nail […]

  6. […] The first time I used Pixi Vivid Coral I didn’t love it. But, this manicure made me kind of love it. I applied 2 layers of Ulta Snow White before applying one layer of Pixi Vivid Coral. The white base made Vivid Coral really gorgeous! I didn’t want to do an entirely neon manicure so I left the pointer finger white and added polka dots using one my DIY dotting tools. […]

  7. what i do is get a toothpick and cut off the end and dip!and there you go!:D

  8. This is such a good idea! Thanks!

  9. […] as hard to get on your nail as you might think. Just use a large dotting tool (I used a DIY dotting tool) and make a large dot with the color. Let that color dry then make a smaller dot in white. Viola! […]

  10. […] To recreate this look I used Sally Hansen’s White On for my base and used my ORLY dotting tool for the dots using essie’s Black Licorice – my all time favorite black polish. It was very easy and fun and I really like Vollmer’s mani is so different from most other Olympians.  If you’d like to re-create this look, just grab your favorite black and white polishes and you can make your own dotting tool instead of buying one (DIY: Dotting Tool). […]

  11. 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! 🙂

  12. […] create the ruffles I used one the smaller dotting tools from my DIY Dotting Tool post. Starting with the lightest color, I made a row of connecting polka dots. I then did another row of […]

  13. […] get them totally uniform in size, but I’m working on it. The Daily Varnish has a great post on DIY dotting tools, if you want to check it […]

  14. […] use butter LONDON Royal Navy as a base color. Then I decided to add some white polka dots using a DIY dotting tool with Ulta Snow White (and yes, I really did buy a new bottle of Snow White!). Instead of making the […]

  15. […] a DIY dotting tool I added white polka dots to all the nails except my ring finger where I instead added polka dots […]

  16. 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!

  17. Only one p

  18. […] Turns out this was really easy to do. All you need is a nude and red polish and a dotting tool! If you don’t have a real dotting tool (I don’t!) you can make a DIY version very easily. Just check out this post. […]

  19. […] finish, while Ali’s Big Break is a lovely glittery jelly! While Alli has perfected the DIY dotting tool – I used my ORLY dotting tool that I picked up at ULTA about a year […]

  20. […] megalast Disturbia. I used Essie No Place Like Chrome on my ring finger then used the largest of my DIY dotting tools to make large purple polka dots with Disturbia. I then topped all the purple polish with Orly Fowl […]

  21. […] manicure. Emerald Sparkle wears incredibly well so I decided to use it as a base. I used one of my DIY dotting tools and added white and red polka dots with Ulta Snow White and JulieG Sunset […]

  22. […] of my other favorite DIY projects include my DIY dotting tools, DIY gold flake top coat and DIY nail polish […]

  23. […] as my main color and did an accent nail using OPI Italian Love Affair. The hearts I did using a DIY dotting tool and OPI OPI…Eurso […]

  24. Even though I have a set of dotting tools, this is by far genius Alli!

  25. […] For a base on all my nails I used China Glaze Dandy Lyin’ Around. I let that dry completely then with Sally Hansen Xtreme Wear Going Green I used the plastic wrap technique to give the nails a sort of textured look except on the ring finger where I added a small shamrock using a DIY dotting tool. […]

  26. […] one of my DIY dotting tools I added polka dots with Essie No Place Like […]

  27. […] Make Your Own Dotting Tool – Lots of nail art designs involve small and complex details that you need a steady hand for, but now you can make your life a little easier with this homemade dotting tool. […]

  28. […] dotting tool, which you can buy online or at beauty stores for less than $5, or a bobby pin or straight pin for a makeshift […]

  29. 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 😉

  30. […] tool, which you can buy online or at beauty stores for less than $5, or a bobby pin or straight pin for a makeshift […]

  31. 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!

  32. […] Make Your Own Dotting Tool – Lots of nail art designs involve small and complex details that you need a steady hand for, but now you can make your life a little easier with this homemade dotting tool. […]

  33. […] homemade nail dotting tool from the daily varnish is one of the favorites of most users because of its ease of use and consistency. You’ll need […]

  34. I use a tooth pick or skewer for a dotting tool

  35. […] Tot ce trebuie sa faceti este sa bagati boldul cu forma capului dorita in guma de sters a creionului si sa folositi capul boldului ca aplicator de oja. La fel si cu unul din capetele agrafei de par.Gasiti aici mai multe detalii si imagini: […]

  36. […] you don’t have dotting tools you can pick them up from Amazon or you can make your own. Also, if you don’t have a matte top coat you can DIY that as […]

  37. […] This all being said, if you’re in a jam and need a dotting tool ASAP you can make your own. […]

  38. 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.

What do you think?