The cheapest ever nail art & permanently perfect nails

At the weekend I went shopping for a few office supplies and amongst my basket of envelopes, parcel bags and pencils was a pack of chunky permanent marker pens. Now, I spend a lot of time on Pinterest, (I’ve just been invited to join this nail art bloggers group eek my nails are nothing compared to these!) and have seen lots of pins advertising metallic Sharpie pens for use for nail art. And my next thought was ‘why not use normal market pens then?’. Could this be the cheapest nail art yet? I got a pack of 4 pens in different colours for 99p! So I thought I’d try out the marker-pen method with my fresh new pens and see how easy it was, how long it lasted and whether it stained my nails eek! And here are the results:

cassiefairy beauty tips - nail art pattern using permanent marker pens

I found that the application process was super-easy because basically you’re just drawing on your nails. As long as you’ve got a steady hand, you’ll be fine drawing on stripes, a pattern or this season’s bright french manicure. Obviously, I found it a lot more fiddly with the hand I don’t normally use, so maybe get a pal to help, or only use an easy pattern such as the spots. I found that the marker pen gave different colour results depending on the base polish, and the blue pen had a purply-sheen (like you sometimes get from writing with biros). I liked how this looked with my turquoise Missguided polish in ‘Misstique’ (always use a base coat with this dark polish – it does stain!). 

A bonus is that the pattern dries almost instantly and stays put – I washed and rubbed my nails straight away after drawing the patterns and they didn’t budge. BUT you can’t use a clear top-coat: if you sweep the brush of clear polish over your pattern you’ll find that the brush picks up some of the pen ink and smudges it around – not good. So the nail art will only last as long as the polish you use as your main colour would usually last. It would be very irresponsible of me to recommend permanent market pens to you without checking how well it can be removed from your nails, so I’ve just whipped off my nail art with normal nail polish remover and it hasn’t stained my nails at all. Obviously, I can only vouch for my particular pack of pens, so if you give this a go, I’d recommend that you paint one nail, leave it for a bit and then take it off to see if has any negative effect on your nails underneath. I’d used 2 pretty thick layers of polish, so the pen ink was actually pretty far away from my nails! The Sharpie idea has been promoted all over the internet, so I guess they are pretty safe too, and you can get loads more colours – but I’m going for the thrifty method and using my pack-of-four-for-a-pound bargains to get this funky nail art look.

cassiefairy beauty tips - nail art pattern using permanent marker pens tutorial


Please take care, stay safe and use common sense when following the advice, projects, recipes or ideas from Your use of any information or materials on this website is entirely at your own risk. Please read our Terms and Conditions, our Privacy Policy and Disclosure for more information. Thanks!


If my DIY projects or money-saving articles have helped you please consider supporting the 'My Thrifty Life' blog to enable me to create new content. I really appreciate every donation and it allows me to continue helping readers to live a lovely life on a budget 🙂

Posted by

Cassie is a freelance writer with a Masters degree in lifestyle promotion studies. She loves to 'get the look for less' so regularly shares thrifty fashion posts, DIY interior design ideas and low-cost recipes on her blog.

One thought on “The cheapest ever nail art & permanently perfect nails

Share your comments, tips and ideas...

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.