Sweater Nails Are the Cozy Winter Trend We Didn’t See Coming

Don’t get us wrong, we love rocking a simple coat of our favorite shade. But anytime we can spice things up and dive into the nail art world we’re all for it. The latest trend to hit our radar happens to be an homage to our favorite winter staple—sweaters. Meet sweater nails, also called “cable-knit nails,” for its patterned texture.

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Reminiscent of a classic J.Crew pullover (or the iconic white number that Chris Evans wore in Knives Out), it’s a chic design that works with any color polish and nail length. Which is probably why the textured print is all over social media these days.

Here’s how to recreate sweater nails yourself so that you can rock wear it the look all winter long.

As mentioned above, this style can be worn in any color or nail length you desire. (Fans of the crocodile print that was trending in 2020, might enjoy the 3D nature of this design, too.) The main goal of sweater nails is to make your nails look like they’ve been woven and bundled into cozy fabric, which is done using a layering technique.

First, you’ll need a matte nail polish, a thin detailed brush (you can also use a dotting tool) and a top coat. Once your tools are ready, you can follow the five steps outlined below:

  1. Prep your nails by cleaning and filing them for the next steps.
  2. Apply your base color of choice. Matte polishes are preferred to really get the knitted effect. (Don’t have matte polish? No problem. One TikToker found an easy hack to get the same look using clear acrylic and gel polish.) You’ll want to apply two coats and allow for plenty of drying time in between layers.
  3. Using the nail art brush, draw two parallel lines starting at your cuticle and extending toward the tip of your nail. This technique will create three columns (with the center being the largest section).
  4. Now the fun part begins. Using the same brush, it’s time to create “stitches.” Paint short diagonal lines across the nail and leave room for shorter curvier lines in the center.
  5. Once you’re satisfied with your sweater print, apply top coat to set it in place. For a more 3D look, you can dip your nails into acrylic powder and brush away the excess product.

Don’t be discouraged if it takes some practice to get the print just right—especially if you want to dive into other styles like hearts and zig-zags. And if you’re looking for some references to try yourself (or show your nail tech), we’ve got you covered. Check out five sweater nail styles below.

1. The Accent Nail

Pick a nail and dress it up in a sweater pattern. Then, try complementary designs on the other fingers.

2. French Tips

If you’re a sucker for a French tip, combine the two designs for a doubly chic style.

3. Color-blocking

One shade is great, but adding two more? A colorful masterpiece.

4. Matte And Gel Combo

FYI, there are no rules when it comes to nail art. Apply matte and shiny gel polish to add contrasting texture to your sweater print.

5. Freestyle

Once you start getting the hang of painting sweater nails, experiment with patterns. Maybe a heart or snowflake is in your future?

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Associate Editor, Ultimate Fangirl, Aspiring Beauty Guru

Chelsea Candelario is an Associate Editor at PureWow. She has been covering beauty, culture, fashion and entertainment for over a decade. You'll find her searching the internet...