Matte About You: A DIY Valentine’s Manicure

What goes perfectly with a romantic date with your special someone? A sassy DIY Valentine’s manicure. Buuut — let’s kick it up a notch from your typical glitter/shimmer/accent finger manicure. Or, rather than kicking it up, let’s take it down a notch. Let’s go for subtlety. Let’s go matte.

Though I’m a sucker for a super glossy polish, sometimes I want something a little more understated. At those moments, a matte topcoat is my best friend. For this DIY Valentine’s manicure, I wanted to combine a gorgeous shiny red color with a matte topcoat, and add the bonus of a cutout shape: a sweet little heart. 

This isn’t an in-your-face kind of manicure. At a quick glance, most people probably won’t catch how boss your nails look. But I kinda like it that way. Chic is all about being too cool to be flashy.


Step 1

 Open GalleryI love Butter London — their basecoat and nail lacquer have enabled me to have a 14-day DIY manicure. Not an easy feat for someone who pretty much trashes her hands with tools and projects. Here you see the base coat, as well as their nail lacquer in Come to Bed Red. (It’s Valentine’s Day — totally appropriate.) Butter London also has a matte top coat, but so far, I haven’t been able to get my hands on it. But I did find the essie version, called Matte About You.

Step 2

 Open GalleryThe first step of any DIY manicure is creating a clean canvas. Wash your hands and then prep your nails by giving them a once-over with nail polish remover to remove any oils or debris.

Step 3

 Open GalleryNext up, your base coat. This further gives the polish/lacquer a nice, smooth surface to adhere to and protects your nails from becoming discolored by dark polish colors.

Step 4

 Open GalleryGive your nails two coats of your polish color and allow to dry completely.

Step 5

 Open GalleryTo create the heart shaped cutout, I used a couple of pieces of washi tape. I cut out a tiny heart as a template, traced it ten times over and then used my craft knife to cut them out.

Step 6

 Open GalleryMaking sure your nails are COMPLETELY DRY, apply the washi tape hearts. Smooth gently to get out air pockets and secure edges.

Step 7

 Open GalleryNow go over the exposed area with your matte top coat. Give each nail a few seconds to turn opaque and start to dry, but peel off washi hearts while the matte topcoat is still wet. If there are any nicks to your “shiny” hearts, touch up with your polish. Ta-dah!


  • Base coat
  • Nail polish or lacquer
  • Matte top coat
  • Washi tape


  • Craft knife
About Ellen Foord 


A tight budget has never stopped Ellen Foord from creating a beautiful, modern, creative home and treating every day as one of life's smaller celebrations. A freelance writer and ...

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