30 Jaw-Dropping Broken-Glass Nail Designs

The hottest, latest trend in nail art, broken-glass nails, are so beautifully ornate that they are just perfect to help jazz up any outfit. You wear jewellery and other accessories to match your get-up so why wouldn’t you pay as much attention to detail when it comes to your hands?

Don’t panic though – broken-glass nails really aren’t as scary as they sound. You don’t need to actually affix pieces of broken glass to your hands. That would be dangerous (obviously!). Instead, the look focuses on using pieces of coloured and pearlescent cellophane to mimic the look of broken glass.

Just take a look at these 31 jaw-dropping broken-glass nail designs:

1.  BLACK & GREEN DESIGN

Instagram / allaboutcherryc

Instagram / allaboutcherryc

To get the maximum effect from your broken-glass nails, try piecing contrasting colours together. The green you can see here really stands out from the darker, black back-drop whether it’s on the full nail or just the tips. Black is such an easy colour to use so once you have that initial base coat, you could simple change the broken-glass effects to a different colour. Easy peasy!

2. BROKEN GLASS EFFECT NAILS

Instagram / nail_unistella

Instagram / nail_unistella

One of the easiest ways to change up the look with broken-glass nails is to layer up the pieces like you can see here. Simply keep piling on smaller chunks of the shiny cellophane until you have the desired look. Finish it off with a good top-coat to smooth things off.

3. PINK SPARKLY NAILS + ‘BARELY THERE’ SHATTERED GLASS

Instagram / remnant_nailist

Instagram / remnant_nailist

This is a nail design that doesn’t need to look too ‘out-there’ which makes it perfect for everyone. All the gems and nail foils aside that you can see here, paler and pastel colours of broken-glass look great on pink or barely-there nails. You’d need to look a little closer to get the full effect but if you want something subtle and beautiful, a look like this is the one to go for.

4. TOE NAIL DESIGN

Instagram / jkstarrr

Instagram / jkstarrr

That’s right – these nails are perfect for toe nails too! It can be quite fiddly to perfect this look on such a small surface area so why not copy this great idea and just make your biggest toe the feature nail and broken-glass away to your heart’s content!

5. HALF-MOON BROKEN GLASS NAILS

Instagram / adnileel

Instagram / adnileel

The half moon nail look has been popular for a while now and the good news is that it works perfectly with broken-glass nails too! It’s super easy to do too. Rather than using the forms to paint just the tips of your nails, turn them the other way and use them to cover a half-moon shape at the base of your nail. It will leave that part of the nail neutral, almost giving you a reverse manicure of sorts. Add your broken-glass on top and you’ve killed two massive looks in one!

6. BROKEN GLASS NAILS + LOTS OF JEWELLERY = PERFECT LOOK

Instagram / mlleleilou

Instagram / mlleleilou

While you’re making a statement, make a REAL statement! Pair your beautiful, shiny and eye-catching broken-glass nails with jewellery – the more the better. Rings are such a big thing right now so layer them up or just add really chunky pieces. A funky nail look calls for funky jewellery and it looks divine, just like you can see here!

7. GOLDEN NAIL DESIGN

Instagram / stephcheron

Instagram / stephcheron

We’ve focused a lot on using the broken-glass effect on painted nails, normally with a darker base coat. This look shows you how simple it really could be. The gold shards look so beautiful on top of the nude nails beneath. Plus, you won’t need to worry about the base coat then leaving it to dry before adding broken-glass, top coat and then leaving it to dry again. If you want the super-shiny look, just add a clear base-coat to your nude nails before applying the pieces.

8. BROKEN GLASS + NEGATIVE SPACE MANI

Instagram / unistella_edit

Instagram / unistella_edit

What do you think of this look? Negative space manicures have become increasingly popular over recent seasons and it appears to be going from strength to strength with new and unique ways to modify it popping up just like this broken-glass design.

Using tape or nail foils, simply tape off sections with straight lines like you can see here. Leaving part of the nail nude like this really adds a modern twist to otherwise boring nails. It also shows that you don’t need super long talons to achieve the latest hot nail designs!

9. CLASSY & ELEGANT DESIGN

Instagram / mvestudio_

Instagram / mvestudio_

Who said all your nails needed to match?

We’re a big fan of unique nails with different designs and this classy and elegant look shows you how to achieve just that. The simple addition of a nail gem at the base of the nude nails stops it from looking too dull and with the gold broken-glass shards added to random nails, people will be looking at your hands for all the right reasons.

10. MINIMAL DESIGN

Instagram / dingyun0402

Instagram / dingyun0402

If you’re not a fan of fussy nails, this is a great one for you – the gold nail gems are optional obviously!

You can achieve a ‘gem’ look with broken-glass as you can see on the thumb. There is a bigger piece in the centre of the nail followed up with smaller, thinner pieces around the edge. Alternatively, go for thin, triangular slithers. This will actually help to elongate your nail… Just saying.

11. ACCENT NAIL

Instagram / a_fistful_of_fingernails

Instagram / a_fistful_of_fingernails

If you want to try this great and unique look at home, why not focus on just one nail rather than all of them? Trying to get this design just-right when you’ve never attempted it before is going to be tricky – it’s like most things in life, practice makes perfect and all…

Pick one nail and just go a little crazy – add a few more pieces of the cellophane / broken-glass effect and experiment. You can always take it off and try again and because it’s only one nail, it doesn’t matter!

12. GOLDEN GLITTER + BROKEN GLASS MANI

Instagram / _dnixo

Instagram / _dnixo

If you can’t decide what look you want when you go to the salon, why not mix and match? You’ve got gold glitter to make the design instantly glamorous, and the broken-glass applied to a couple of the nails helps to add more of a dimension to the look.

As you can see, these are also quite short nails. By cutting the nail in half, so to speak, you have more options open to you, giving you the perfect opportunity to switch things up.

13. BROKEN GLASS & GOLDEN STUDS MANI

Instagram / unistella_edit

Instagram / unistella_edit

Nail embellishments are a really easy way to liven up any look and as you can see here, can help to add structure to otherwise random designs. Again, you don’t need to concentrate on every nail (it would get quite fussy!) but with the odd accent or feature nail, it looks perfect!

14. SO SHARP…

Instagram / unistella_edit

Instagram / unistella_edit

Broken-glass is… Well, sharp. So why not make your nails sharp? Cut your broken-glass into shards and slithers before applying them to your nail. Again, using foils or tape, you can add these asymmetrical designs where not all the nail is covered. It’s like a negative space but with a bit more flair!

15. PERFECT DESIGN FOR SHORT NAILS

Instagram / unistella_by_ek_lab

Instagram / unistella_by_ek_lab

What a great, simple and easy look! Simply use your black nail art pen (or regular black nail polish if you’ve got a steady hand) to create a black ‘tip’ and a black half-moon at the base. You could then apply your silvery / pearlescent broken-glass to the top of whatever colour you like. You could leave the nail base nude, or opt for a shimmery pink or pastel colour. Get experimental! Just remember to tag us in your social media posts with #StayGlam for a chance to be featured!

16. DARK BASE + GOLDEN GLASS

Instagram / mining_1021

Instagram / mining_1021

The best news about these broken-glass pieces, especially in the gold like this one, is that under different lights, you’ll get a completely different effect. In one light, this looks gold which goes great with the rich, dark colour beneath. In a different light, the shards look a greeny colour. This can change the entire look of your nail, especially if you put it together with a colour it doesn’t go with as your base coat. Check out your new mani in different lights to make sure it all works well.

17. THE GLASS PEDICURE

Instagram / unistella_edit

Instagram / unistella_edit

If you want to give all the nails on your tootsies the broken-glass treatment just remember to use really small pieces. You can always layer it up but if you start with a bigger chunk or piece, you won’t get the same effect. There are only two small ‘sections’ on these toes and it looks just as good as layered-up looks on larger nails.

18. MIX IT UP WITH SOLID POLISH

Instagram / remnant_nailist

Instagram / remnant_nailist

If you want something that stands out from the crowd, solid blocks of colour are always a great eye-catching choice. The different shades of green in this beautiful design really compliment the mermaid hair trend everyone’s been talking about and it’s actually a very simple look too. You could have either a really dark green or black colour behind the shards of broken-glass effect, and you could even add some glitter to the brighter green nails if you wanted a party look.

If you’re not quite brave enough for that fluorescent colour, substitute it for a pastel green instead. It’ll have the same effect.

19. BROKEN GLASS STILETTO NAILS

Instagram / designbyci

Instagram / designbyci

Stiletto nails are in. Broken-glass nails are in. What does that mean? Stiletto broken-glass nails of course!

If you want a super quick way to revitalise your nails or just don’t have time to head to the salon, use the glass-effect to cover the chips and dents! You’re covering up a multitude of sins technically so you can give yourself a little bit longer between salon-appointments too. Of course, if you need in-fills done on acrylic or gel nails, you could always go for the half-moon effect where you cover the space between the cuticle and the nail with the broken-glass cellophane pieces.

Smart, right?

20. JUST WOW… RIGHT?

Instagram / ruegembon

Instagram / ruegembon

This look is simply beautiful and not quite as confusing as it looks. It’s almost cosmic-looking and in order to copy it for yourself, you’ll need a blue-green broken-glass effect cellophane over the top of a shimmery blue/purple/black. If you’ve ever added a radiant to your nails by first applying the three or four colours (increasing in intensity/shade) with a sponge, do the same with the darker blues, greens and purples before applying the broken-glass over the top.

21. HALF BROKEN GLASS, HALF NEGATIVE SPACE

Instagram / surelyshirleyyyy

Instagram / surelyshirleyyyy

So you want some glass but you don’t want too much glass. Enter half broken glass, half negative space. Problem solved!

Do it diagonally, vertically, horizontally, whatever. Do it anyway you please. Use tape or nail foils to separate two sides of the nail, keeping one side nude and simple and adding a darker or brighter colour to the other section. Add the broken-glass effect over just the coloured part of your nails (optional – include the one lighter, feature nail) for maximum effect.

22. CUTE PINK DESIGN

Instagram / nailistayco

Instagram / nailistayco

If you’re in a girlie mood, pink is the obvious choice and you could add your own cute finish touch with these pale pink pearled broken-glass effect pieces. The gems are optional, and it’s down to you whether you go with one feature nail, two, or all of them. That’s the beauty about this design – it’s so versatile it can be done in five minutes or fifty minutes! You could even layer up the nails, adding just one nail at a time, when you have the time.

Smart, right?

23. BROKEN GLASS TRIANGLES

Instagram / mindy_sss

Instagram / mindy_sss

Well, why not? It’s great if you want a Christmas tree look with an edge! You could even add red gems if you wanted to. Just saying.

Keep things simple with a black base coat but on a couple of feature nails, go a little nuts. The thinner, longer triangle will help to elongate your nails.

24. BLUE & PURPLE MANI

Instagram / glitteringhues

Instagram / glitteringhues

Isn’t this the coolest look you’ve ever seen? Point off the edge of your nails rather than having square tips all the time, graduate the rich purple colour from the centre out, and add blue-purple shards of the broken-glass effect. Make sure you give it a good going over with top coat and let to dry completely before you attempt to do anything else.

This isn’t exactly a look you can complete in five minutes…

25. GREEN & SILVER GLITTER DESIGN

Instagram / blingbling_junge

Instagram / blingbling_junge

Another one great for the festive period, the green and light, white shimmer shades on these stunning green and silver glitter design nails reflect the light beautifully.

The shards of broken-glass are actually very subtle whilst still definitely standing out from the crowd, and it’s a great look for long nails and short nails alike.

26. SHINE BRIGHT LIKE A DIAMOND

Instagram / nail_unistella

Instagram / nail_unistella

Rather than waiting for him to put a diamond on your finger, put one on there yourself.

How’s this for a hint… Add the diamond-shaped broken-glass effect to just one nail – THE ring finger nail. It’ll keep catching his attention and all that looking at it… He’s going to start thinking. You know?

27. BLUE DESIGN

Instagram / missladyfinger

Instagram / missladyfinger

Simple yet very effective, this essie blue colour is simply perfect as a backdrop for the shards of broken-glass. Add the blue base coat on Thursday. Add the sparkly top effect on Friday – party day!

FriYay! 

28. POP OF GOLD

Instagram / bambinail

Instagram / bambinail

It looks more complicated than it is, giving you another reason why this effect on your nails is the hottest thing to do right now. Balmain released dresses that were BORN for these nails! We’ve all seen the Kardashian sisters’ closets and wished it were our own… Sigh.

Dark purple base coat (glitter and shimmer optional) plus super-shiny mercury-metal shards of broken-glass (gold nail balls optional).

Simple yet effective. Just what a busy girl needs.

29. COLORFUL BROKEN GLASS PEDI

Instagram / note__nail

Instagram / note__nail

If you like the look of stained-glass windows, why not recreate the same effect on your nails? It’s actually very a very simple idea – red, green, blue and yellow thin slithers of broken-glass effect cellophane over a black (or white) backdrop. Finish the look with plenty of top coat. It’s perfect for a pair of strappy sandals.

30. WHITE NEGATIVE SPACE NAILS + BROKEN GLASS ACCENT NAIL

Instagram / ricekitty

Instagram / ricekitty

We all fell in love with these nails here at StayGlam and we think you might do too! Nude base coat, gold foil strips, white polish, peachy/nude broken-glass effect pieces. It’s not a look we’d class as quick to achieve but if you have the time, it’s very modern and so on trend for right now.

31. GLASS ALMOND NAILS

Instagram / a_fistful_of_fingernails

Instagram / a_fistful_of_fingernails

These are beautiful! If you want something a bit subtler, more on the nude side, but with just the right amount of ‘pop’, these are the nails for you. You’ll want a very simple nude colour for your base coat, think more peachy than browny. You’ll want the most nude broken-glass effect pieces too. Just add them on randomly and keep them all in check with a decent top coat. Make sure you allow these nails to completely dry before you shoot off to do housework. If they’re not set yet, you run the risk of smearing that broken-glass everywhere. Broken glass isn’t meant to smear.

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