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10 Fun, Colorful Summer Manicure Ideas for Short Nails

Because you don't need long nails to play around with color!
10 Fun, Colorful Summer Manicure Ideas for Short Nails
IMAGE (LEFT TO RIGHT) Instagram/gel.bymegan, Instagram/abbinail
Because you don't need long nails to play around with color!

It’s no secret that the perfect manicure can elevate any look. The thing is, when you search up nail art inspiration online, you’ll probably be faced with pictures of thousands of celebrities and influencers donning the acrylic nails trend. We totally understand if you’re not on-board with it—tons of factors such as your job and even just plain preference can keep you from committing to those extra inches. But who said nail length has anything to do with all the fun looks you can create?

That said, short nails shouldn’t get in the way of you getting playful and bold with your looks—in fact, it may just be the sunshine that you need! Ahead, we've compiled 10 fun, colorful nail art pegs that would look exceptional on short nails. Scroll on to see!

Playful Short Nail Manicures for Summer

1. Retro Chic

Don’t these colorful circles remind you of vivid, retro prints? Designs like these are super easy to recreate at home and are versatile enough to work with any color palette, which makes it a perfect go-to nail look! 

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PHOTO BY Instagram/peachinails

2. Bright and Smiley

Be the epitome of sunshine by donning bright smiles on your nails! It’s the perfect pick-me-up nail look that will have people grinning back at you. You can also opt to include smileys in different colors, such as ones in bright orange or green for an extra kick!

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PHOTO BY Instagram/kaddyfromthewest

3. Simple Bouquet

For the more dainty girls, a simple multicolored look with one or two statement nails would work wonders, such as adorable flowers on the pointer and middle fingers. Opt to create blooms in the same or similar hues as your other nails to keep the look tied together.

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PHOTO BY Instagram/pitu.son

4. Ocean Waves

Missing the refreshing waves of the beach? Wear these cool blue nails and it’ll be like your back on the sand! A tip for creating the wavy look is by using light layers of polish for every color. This will ensure smooth waves for every hue and that you won’t get that thick lump of polish on the nail we all hate.

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PHOTO BY Instagram/ashleylane_esthetics

5. Line Art

This one’s for the minimalists out there. Take two colors—these can be complementary or from the same color family—and thinly line your nail tips and along your cuticles. It’s a minimal design that can work for any outfit!

PHOTO BY Instagram/gel.bymegan
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6. Confetti

Got some left over art supplies? Use them on your nails! Grab some glitter confetti in multiple shapes to create a nail look that calls for a celebration. The great thing about this design is that you can pair any random colors or shapes together and it’ll still look super cute!

PHOTO BY Instagram/abbinail
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7. Cherries Jubilee

For an extra sweet look, paint some cherries over a nude base and watch your nails be the cherry on top of your OOTD! If you don’t have a dotting tool at home, a cotton bud can deliver the same effect—just make sure you don’t press too hard and risk getting cotton stuck onto your nails!

PHOTO BY Instagram/abbinail
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8. Colorful Checks

For a look that’s as smart as it is lively, create a classic checkerboard pattern in bright, bright colors! Make the look extra dynamic by opting to paint one finger a solid color—this will ensure the check pattern stays a statement without going overboard!

PHOTO BY Instagram/peachinails
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9. Glitter and Glam

The easiest way to make your nails look dazzling is by painting it in eye-catching glitter! For this look, we recommend using holographic glitter since it’ll give you a different vibe depending on how the light hits your fingertips.

PHOTO BY Instagram/lolo.nailedit

10. Half-Moons

Keep things simple but snazzy creating a sideways French tip. Paint the half-moons in varying shades of the same color for a look that’s minimal but fun!

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PHOTO BY Instagram/nailcessity_nailbar

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