Nail the Look: Short Summer Gel Nails Shades & Designs

Do your nails match the summer vibe? As we get rid of thick clothes for flowy and light ones, our nails should also be ready to go with a splash. You don’t need long nails to make a statement. Even short summer gel nails work as a canvas to show off bold designs — from simple white accents to bright pastel splashes. What colors or patterns will bring out that summer feeling while keeping it simple yet chic? Let’s explore unique manicures that you can recreate easily and have you flaunting them like there’s no tomorrow!

The Sophisticated French

Ah, the French tip—a classic beauty look loved by many but only doable on a certain nail shape. However, we believe everyone should be able to rock every style! This design plays with the typical white and natural colors and adds in some fun geometry that’s like a sea breeze on your fingertips.

Nail the Look: Short Summer Gel Nails Shades & Designs
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  • Maybelline’s Super Stay Base Coat
  • OPI’s Alpine Snow White Polish
  • Essie’s Gel Setter Topcoat
  • Striping tape for clean lines

If you want those crisp lines, invest in a thin brush. The right tool can make even the shakiest hand an expert!

After prepping your nail (cleaning it, buffing it up), apply the base coat and wait for it to dry. Place your striping tape wherever you want on your nails and paint that bad boy white. The key is to take off the tape while the polish is still wet so you don’t ruin any lines. Finally, slap on a layer of topcoat and viola! You’ve got yourself an easy, chic set of nails!

Pastel Pink Perfection

Witness the soft spoken whispers of this pink. It’s both shy and bold. This manicure is a simply elegant with small golden decorations that catch the light as if they were rays of dawn. The almond shape will give your fingers a feminine touch without needing excess length, and the single eye design on your ring finger gives you an easy starter for conversations.

Nail the Look: Short Summer Gel Nails Shades & Designs
Photo credit by: @mannacured
  • Pale pink polish: Essie’s Muchi, Muchi
  • Gold studs
  • Tiny brushes for detail work
  • A matte topcoat for a varied texture

When working with these embellishments, keep it simple. Less is more when it comes to your everyday mani.

Paint two coats of your chosen pastel pink onto all of your nails. Add the golden stud at the base of each nail while the second coat is still wet. For the eye design use a fine brush to draw out the outline and then fill it in with blue and black polishes. Then finish it off by sealing it with a matte top coat for that chic look.

Whimsical White with Blue Accents

There’s something special about these nails… I can’t put my finger on it, but it might be the playful blue hearts that are scattered all over a white base. They were made for someone who wanted to add some fun into their manicure. The designs are random and basic, yet they say so much about the person wearing them— youthful.

Nail the Look: Short Summer Gel Nails Shades & Designs
Photo credit by: @mur.nails.ekaterina
  • White polish: Sally Hansen’s White On
  • Blue polish: CND’s Creekside
  • A fine-tipped dotting tool or toothpick

Keep things simple by sticking with one theme. Although all of the hearts are blue, none of them are in the same spot on each nail. This creates an amazing balance that is pleasing to look at.

Paint your nails entirely white and let it dry completely before moving onto the next step. Dip your tool or toothpick into some blue polish and gently press onto your nail to create heart shapes. Make sure you mix up sizes and direction for a spontaneous design that speaks volumes about you.. Once you’re done, apply a glossy topcoat for shine and durability.

Green French with a Twist

This manicure is a twist on the classic French. The green tips bring new life to the traditional look. The green is also great for summer, and it will have you thinking about lush gardens.

Nail the Look: Short Summer Gel Nails Shades & Designs
Photo credit by: @gellybeannails
  • Base polish: OPI Bubble Bath
  • Green polish: Essie Off Tropic
  • Top coat: Seche Vite Fast Dry Top Coat

Customize your nails by playing with the thickness of the green tip.

After applying a base layer, draw a crescent along your nail using the green polish. Use a brush dipped in remover to clean up any mistakes. Finish off with a top coat if you want an extra glossy look.

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Nail the Look: Short Summer Gel Nails Shades & Designs

Confetti Celebration

Looking to get creative with your nails? Look no further. This design is a burst of joy with its colorful specks. If you’re feeling a little playful, then this nail art is the way to go! Let your imagination run wild with this one-of-a-kind design. The random dots and strokes in pastel and bright colors give a party vibe, perfect for any summer holiday or just to brighten an ordinary day.

Nail the Look: Short Summer Gel Nails Shades & Designs
Photo credit by: @adilen.nails
  • Base polish: OPI’s Put it in Neutral
  • Various polish colors for the dots
  • A dotting tool or the head of a pin

Be patient, sometimes these things take time. Wait for each color to dry slightly before starting the next, otherwise you’ll be left with some smudged lines.

Apply a natural base color. Once dry, dip your dotting tool into various polish hues and apply to the nail in a random fashion. The trick is not to overthink it – the more spontaneous, the better. Seal with a top coat.

Red Almond French with Starry Accent

So you want a design that’ll make heads turn huh? We’ve got just the thing for you. This manicure is for those who choose to live on the edge, it combines a deep red with a natural simple base, and tops it off with delicate star accents. It’s a classy yet simple look with an almond shape that’ll never go out of style.

Nail the Look: Short Summer Gel Nails Shades & Designs
Photo credit by: @elica.nails
  • Base polish: Essie’s Ballet Slippers
  • Red polish: OPI’s Big Apple Red
  • Star decals or stickers

Use a detailing brush if you’re painting the stars by hand, it allows for more delicate work so you can get precise with your art.

Start with a pale pink base. Once dry, paint the tips with your red polish. Add the star decals or use a fine brush to draw them on. Finish with a top coat to secure your design.

Botanical Bliss on Short Nails

The art found here is a real depiction of a garden in it’s most delicate state. The nail art is simple, yet intricate and perfect for the summer. Each nail is like a mini canvas, with some having only one branch and others showing off leaves with pastel colors. It’s a genius work of art.

Nail the Look: Short Summer Gel Nails Shades & Designs
Photo credit by: @mur.nails.ekaterina
  • Base polish: CND’s Shellac in Cream Puff
  • Art polishes: A variety of green and orange shades to depict different branches and leaves
  • Top coat: OPI’s Top Coat for shine and strength

Use a very fine brush for the small details on the branches and leaves. Take your time when painting, and let every stroke speak.

After you finish applying your base coat, use your fine-tipped brush to add the botanical designs. Begin with the stems, then paint on the leaves after those dry which should be followed by the orange buds. Make sure each element has dried before adding another layer. Once you finish painting everything you want, seal it all in with some top coat.

Natural Look: Sheer and Glossy

For those with elegant taste, this manicure is for you. These nails are simply and beautifully done with a sheer gloss finish on top. It’s an effortless style that speaks sophistication. The gloss enhances the natural beauty of the nails making it perfect for any occasion or look.

Nail the Look: Short Summer Gel Nails Shades & Designs
Photo credit by: @sokolovskaia.nail
  • Base polish: Essie’s Mademoiselle
  • Top coat: Sally Hansen’s Miracle Gel Top Coat

Natural looks come from healthy lifestyles. Take care of your nails and the polish will do its job in showing off its strength.

After using a good base coat, apply one layer of sheer polish. Wait for it to dry then finish off with a glossy top coat to give it that glass-like shine.

Summer Fruit Frenzy

Get ready to dive into summer with this fun and colorful design that’s as vibrant as a strawberry smoothie. It’s a playful twist on the typical fruit pattern you see in the summer, with each strawberry having its own character and set against a backdrop of sky blue and pastel pink.

Nail the Look: Short Summer Gel Nails Shades & Designs
Photo credit by: @koba_nails_studio
  • Base polish: OPI Alpine Snow
  • Art polishes: Shades for the strawberries and leaves
  • Top coat: Seche Vite Dry Fast Top Coat

A professional nail artist shared their advice, saying “Don’t worry about making each strawberry look perfect! In fact, it’s better if they all look different from one another. That’s where the magic lies.”

  1. Here are the step-by-step DIY instructions:
  2. Apply your base color.
  3. When dry, paint your strawberries.
  4. Add tiny seeds using a dotting tool.
  5. Finish by painting your leaves green.
  6. Remember to have fun with it and try not to make them too perfect!
  7. Seal the deal with a top coat to keep everything in place!

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Nail the Look: Short Summer Gel Nails Shades & Designs

Tropical Escape in Bloom

Step into your own wild jungle with this design. The bright red and green hues of the intricate floral pattern will stretch across your blank canvas, making each nail a statement of untamed summer art.

Nail the Look: Short Summer Gel Nails Shades & Designs
Photo credit by: @davi.nail
  • Base polish: Essie’s Blanc
  • Art polishes: Acrylic paints in red and green for more control and pigmentation
  • Top coat: Seche Vite Dry Fast Top Coat

Acrylic paints can offer more precision for detailed work like this, and they won’t run or smear when a top coat is applied.

Start with a clean white base. Use a fine brush to outline the shape you want for your flowers, then fill them in with color. Begin light and work toward dark. Once dry, seal it off with a top coat to keep it safe

Abstract Greens: Marble and Mystery

This design takes on the appearance of a marble swirl, with its bold and hypnotic green waves. When paired with simple outfits they’ll sure to make a statement.

Nail the Look: Short Summer Gel Nails Shades & Designs
Photo credit by: @emilygilmour.nails
  • Base polish: Pastel Green
  • Art polishes: Deeper shades of green for marbling effect

Top coat: Gel finish for glassy look
Use a small dotting tool to drag the polish while wet to create a marble-like effect. Work as swiftly but deliberate as possible.

Start by applying your pastel base color, then add dark shades of green while it’s still wet. Take a small dotting tool and blend them together using pressure in quick circular motions. After this, cure under light or air dry and apply top coat if needed.

Summer Meadow: Delicate Florals and Buzzing Bees

This is a summer manicure in its purest form. The pastel pink backdrop of the finger canvas contrasts and complements the wildflowers’ simple elegance, not to mention the bee that was added as a cute touch. This design is for those who love nature and want their nails to reflect that beauty while also showing off holiday cheer.

Nail the Look: Short Summer Gel Nails Shades & Designs
Photo credit by:
  • Base polish: OPI’s Mod About You
  • Art polishes: Various colors for the floral details
  • Top coat: A long-lasting top coat to keep everything in place

If flowers are something you’re painting on your nails be sure to work gradually. Start with basic outlines then add detail after each layer dries.

Start by painting your entire nail with pastel pink polish as the base color. Once it has dried use a fine brush to paint on the flowers, starting with their outline then following up with other details. To make the bee, mix yellow and black polishes together until you like how it looks, then use a dotting tool for its wings. Once all of that has dried apply a layer of top coat over everything so nothing smudges or chips easily.

Perfectly Pink: Classic Chic

Simplicity meets beauty with this pink. Short nails paired with it are truly a love to timeless style. The gloss finish helps catch the light, making it shine bright and easy to wear for a holiday or even just every day.

Nail the Look: Short Summer Gel Nails Shades & Designs
Photo credit by: @wandergelofficial
  • Base polish: Essie’s Muchi, Muchi
  • Top coat: Glossy Gel Top Coat for shine and endurance

When going for a classic look, be sure your nails are well shaped and cuticles are taken care of to make the polish really pop.

After shaping your nails and tending to your cuticles, simply apply two coats of pink. Let each coat dry completely before applying the next one. Finish off by adding a gel top coat for that last touch of shine that’ll keep it going all day!

Edgy Icon: Bold Black and White Accents

This nail art is a loud statement, a talk starter, and a piece of modern art all at the same time. The black and white design features playful icons and marble-like swirls that give the pink base a graphic edge, making it perfect for those who want to bring out their edgy side.

Nail the Look: Short Summer Gel Nails Shades & Designs
Photo credit by: @popbeautynorwich
  • Base polish: A soft pink as background
  • Art polishes: Black and white to add details and accents
  • Top coat: A matte one to finish off with a contemporary touch

Test your designs on paper first so you can get comfortable with the brush and see how the polish flows.

Start by applying your pink base. Then get your fine brush and create your designs in black and white. If you’re aiming for perfect circles, consider using dotting tools. And if clean lines are what you’re trying to achieve then use a striping brush. Lastly, seal it all off with a matte top coat for an ultra-modern feel.

Sprinkles of Joy: Confetti Dot Mani

This playful design uses translucent nails that are reminiscent of sprinkles on a cake. It’s a whimsical yet stylish design that is perfect for holidays or summer time manicures.

Nail the Look: Short Summer Gel Nails Shades & Designs
Photo credit by: @gellybeannails
  • Base polish: A see-through natural color
  • Art polishes: Multiple colors for the confetti dots
  • Top coat: A highly glossy finish to seal in the design

Use the tip of a toothpick or small dotting tool for even, consistent dots.

Start with a natural base coat. Once dry, dot on your colorful confetti with the tool of your choice. Vary the sizes and colors of your dots for a playful effect – bigger doesn’t always mean better! Allow it to dry then top it off with a top coat to protect all your hard work.

Modern Minimalism: Nude with Bold Outline

This design sums up the modern minimal look perfectly. A pale base followed by a strong black outline creates a simple yet elegant feel. You can wear this to brunch or the boardroom.

Nail the Look: Short Summer Gel Nails Shades & Designs
Photo credit by: @__nee__manaha
  • Base color: cream that goes well with your skin
  • Black polish for creating the edges
  • Top coat: clear shiny layer for sealing and protection

Grab a super thin brush or nail art pen if you want precise outlines.

Prep your nails with a base coat, then paint on two coats of the nude shade. After drying, gently trace along the sides of your nails with black polish. Finish things off with top coat for extra shine and strength.

Animated Fun: Character-Inspired Art

For people that fancy a playful and colorful manicure, these work of art nails bring delight and whimsy to your fingertips. It’s a upbeat and fun way to show off your favorite animated characters with vibrant colors and precise detail.

Nail the Look: Short Summer Gel Nails Shades & Designs
Photo credit by: @andreeatimofte.naildesigner
  • Base varnish: A crisp white to make the hues burst
  • Art polishes: Various shades needed for your chosen characters
  • Top coat: A tough top coat to shield the art

Don’t rush the little details, and consider utilizing a magnifying glass for a clearer vision.

Start off with a white base coat. Sketch out the character outlines using a slim brush, then color them in layer by layer. Be sure to let each layer dry before adding another one. Lastly, end it with the top coat to protect your masterpiece.

Peachy Keen: Soft Matte Elegance

Effortlessly elegant, this matte, soft peach shade is perfect for any summer day. It’s a simple color that’s perfect for anyone looking for subtlety and sophistication in their nails.

Nail the Look: Short Summer Gel Nails Shades & Designs
Photo credit by: @andreeatimofte.naildesigner
  • Peach gel polish: Provides a long lasting wear
  • Matte top coat: Gives the nails a velvety finish

Make sure your first layer of polish is completely smooth with no bumps or bubbles before applying the matte top coat.

Paint your nails with your peach polish. If you’re using gel, cure under lamp. Next, apply one more coat of peach polish and let it dry completely. Once dry, apply a matte top coat and let it dry again until you achieve that chic, frosted look.

Elegant Simplicity Meets Playful Patterns

Contrast was the goal with this one. It’s all about going from a soft pink to a colorful, patterned nail. The difference is meant to reflect what we all have inside of us — peace and energy.

Nail the Look: Short Summer Gel Nails Shades & Designs
Photo credit by: @andreeatimofte.naildesigner
  • Base polish: A pink gel polish that’ll last you awhile and leave your nails looking smooth.
  • Pattern polish: A bright pink gel polish with some kick.
  • Top coat: A shiny top coat that keeps your new design looking fresh for longer.

Use nail vinyls or stencils to achieve precise patterns on the accent nails.

Use the soft pink on all the nails except for one or two. Apply the stencil and fill it in with the brighter color on those few nails. Finally, put on some top coat to keep everything sealed up and looking shiny.

Graphic Delight with Geometric Precision

The pale pink base with clean, geometric lines is a design that’s equal parts sharp and delicate. Only those who can appreciate the small things in life will like it.

Nail the Look: Short Summer Gel Nails Shades & Designs
Photo credit by: @anastaciabeauty
  • Base polish: To make the foundation you’ll need a very light colored polish.
  • Art polish: Use this white polish to draw the geometrical shapes.
  • Top coat: Depending on your preference you can choose either glossy or matte.

Use striping tape for that crispy sharp look of your designs. Apply it while the paint is wet and remove it once you’re done painting.

Start by applying your pale pink base. When dry, use striping tape to mark out where you want to place your design, apply the white polish, then remove the tape before it dries for the sharpest lines possible. Finish with top coat.

Wild and Bold: Animal Print Charm

Some say animal print nails are timeless. Some say they’re bold. I think they’re both. Take this design for example: a flaming pink base that screams “here I am” meets a ferocious leopard print and, boy does it work.

Nail the Look: Short Summer Gel Nails Shades & Designs
Photo credit by: @master_nailsworld
  • Base polish: A more-than-hot pink to make sure whoever sees them knows you mean business.
  • Art polish: A yin yang of black and white is necessary here.
  • Top coat: Keep the art around longer than your last relationship with this must-have fixer-upper.

Don’t worry about perfection on the leopard spots. It’s part of their charm, along with the ring of chaos they bring.

Start with your hot pink, once it dries begin dabbing irregular white spots all over the nail. Now, using a thin brush, fill in half the outline of each spot with black paint to get that jaguar look. Finally, coat in topcoat to seal the deal.

Paisley and Pastel Perfection

This look has an indie, boho vibe. It’s great for summer festivals and low-key beach days.

Nail the Look: Short Summer Gel Nails Shades & Designs
Photo credit by: @na.nailsartist
  • A pastel base coat
  • Black polish for the paisley design
  • Various colors of polish for the details
  • Glossy top coat to seal in your work

Use a fine brush to get tight control over the paisley design. And remember, patience is key!

Start by painting on a base color and let it dry completely. Then use a fine brush to paint on the paisley designs. Fill them with small polka dots or other tiny color details. When you’re done, seal your work with a glossy top coat.

Marbleized Magic

The dizzying design of marbles on a blank canvas is a bewildering take on an ordinary manicure. The streaming patterns make it seem like they’re constantly moving, while the black and white scheme keeps it classy and stylish.

Nail the Look: Short Summer Gel Nails Shades & Designs
Photo credit by: @totallypolishedbyffion
  • Basic coat: A neutral or pastel color for a subtle backdrop
  • Marbling coat: White or some other pale hue to create a contrast
  • Top sealant: Pick a matte finish for an up-to-date look or a glossy one for an old school shine

Use a small precise tool that has dots on each end to gently stir the marbling polish into the basic coat while it’s still damp to get that genuine marble effect.

Put the basic coat on first, then add drops of your marbling polish while the base is still wet. Stir slowly with your dotting tool, then let everything dry before finally applying your chosen top sealant.

Geometric Lines on Matte Blue

This design is all about precision and a sleek look. The blue has a modern, velvety texture and serves as the perfect background for some sharp lines.

Nail the Look: Short Summer Gel Nails Shades & Designs
Photo credit by:
  • Base polish: A matte blue
  • Art polish: White or black for the geometric lines
  • Top coat: Matte finish to maintain the texture

Striping tape can help you create straight lines with ease.

  1. Apply a layer of matte blue as your base.
  2. Use striping tape to mark off your desired patterns.
  3. Paint over the tape with your art polish color.
  4. Remove the tape while the polish is still wet.
  5. Let your design dry fully before applying a top coat.

Abstract Expression

This manicure is a brushstroke of abstract expressionism. The colorful swirls and flowers seem so playful until you really focus on the complexity of their design. This design is perfect for someone who loves to make a bold statement with their art.

Nail the Look: Short Summer Gel Nails Shades & Designs
Photo credit by: @nailsbylydiette
  • Clear or light pink polish
  • Vibrant colored polishes
  • A shiny top coat
  • Professional Tip: Abstract art has no rules, let your brush strokes be free.

Begin by painting your nails with a base coat. A clear or light pink color will work best to keep things neutral.

Grab some vibrant colors and start dabbing them onto your nail in no particular pattern. Using a fine brush, mix colors up by swirling them together.

Once you’ve got your swirls down pat, add some flowers into the mix for that extra jazz touch

Finish everything off with a glossy top coat for that final fabulous look!

Pop Art Pink

These nails are influenced by the pop art movement. They have bold, bright colors and patterns that stand out against the soft pink background. This style will make your nails a focal point of your summer style.

Nail the Look: Short Summer Gel Nails Shades & Designs
Photo credit by: @sunflowers_gelnails
  • Base polish: A soft pink color to contrast with the bright designs.
  • Art polishes: Bright blue, yellow, and pink for the pop art elements.
  • Top coat: You can use a glossy or matte finish depending on what you prefer.
  • Pro Tip: Use a dotting tool for perfect dots and a thin brush for clean lines.

First apply the pink base. Then use your tools to create pop art designs like color blocks, dots, and abstract shapes. Have fun mixing and layering the colors. Finally, finish with a top coat to protect your design.

Sleek and Chic Lines

This luxurious manicure is a graceful nod to edgy, modern fashion. A deep forest green polish serves as the base color and creates a lavish backdrop for the chic white lines that give it that sharp tailored finish you’d find on a blazer or custom dress.

Nail the Look: Short Summer Gel Nails Shades & Designs
Photo credit by: @all.that.nails
  • Base Polish: Eye-catching for its rich elegance
  • Polish for Art: The striking white lines will make this design scream
  • Top Polish: Gloss it up and bring out your inner chicness
  • Professional Recommendation: Straight and clean lines are key. Use striping tape to achieve them.

Apply the green base color to your nails. Once it’s dry, place striping tape where you want the lines to be and apply the white polish. Take off the tap while still wet, then let it sit before applying top coat gloss for that finished look.


Q: Can I achieve complex nail art designs on short nails?

A: Absolutely! Short nails provide a perfect petite canvas for a variety of designs, from intricate patterns to bold, simple statements. The key is to scale down the design to fit the size of the nail.

Q: How long does gel nail polish last on short nails?

A: Gel polish can last on short nails for up to two weeks or more with proper application and aftercare. Shorter nails often mean less risk of chipping, too.

Q: Is it possible to make my short nails look longer with nail art?

A: Yes, certain designs can elongate the appearance of your nails, such as vertical stripes or French tips that draw the eye outward.

Q: How do I prevent my gel nails from peeling or lifting?

A: To prevent peeling or lifting, make sure your nails are clean and dry before application. Avoid getting gel on your cuticles, and be sure to seal the edges of your nails with the top coat.

Q: Do I need to take a break from gel polishes to let my nails “breathe”?

A: Nails don’t technically need to breathe, but it’s beneficial to give them a break now and then to prevent any potential weakening or damage from prolonged polish wear.

Q: Can I remove gel polish at home?

A: While it is possible to remove gel polish at home by soaking your nails in acetone and gently scraping the polish off, it’s usually best to have it removed professionally to minimize damage to the nail.

Q: What’s the best way to care for my cuticles if I regularly get gel manicures?

A: Regularly apply cuticle oil to keep your cuticles and nails hydrated, especially after the use of acetone, which can be drying.

Q: How can I make sure my gel nail art lasts as long as possible?

A: Avoid using your nails as tools, wear gloves when cleaning, and apply a thin layer of top coat every few days to keep your nails protected.

Q: What should I do if I notice lifting or peeling of my gel polish?

A: If you notice lifting or peeling, it’s best to have it fixed by a professional to prevent water from getting trapped and potentially causing nail fungus.

Q: Are there any designs that are particularly trending this season for short nails?

A: Trending designs for short nails this season include abstract art, minimalist lines, floral patterns, and pastel shades with matte or glossy finishes.

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Nail the Look: Short Summer Gel Nails Shades & Designs

Zavalko Ekaterina

🌟 Ekaterina Zavalko is a distinguished fashion writer and stylist with a sharp eye for emerging trends and timeless elegance. With years of experience in the fashion industry, Ekaterina brings a wealth of knowledge and a unique perspective to her writing. She has a passion for exploring the intersections of culture and fashion, and her work illuminates the ways style can express identity and influence the world around us. 💬 Join Ekaterina as she delves into the art of fashion, offering insights that inspire and guide those looking to refine their personal style. Whether it's through her insightful articles or curated looks, Ekaterina is here to help you navigate the ever-evolving world of fashion.

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