Mastering Coffin Nails: Shape Guide and Techniques

Coffin nails, also known as ballerina nails, are a trendy and chic nail shape characterized by their tapered square tips, resembling the shape of a coffin or a ballerina’s pointe shoes. This shape has gained popularity for its stylish and edgy appearance.

Understanding Coffin Nails

Coffin nails feature a straight and tapered free edge that forms a squared-off tip, reminiscent of a coffin shape. The sides of coffin nails are straight and parallel until they sharply taper towards the tip, creating a sleek and elongated look. This shape is versatile and complements various nail lengths and styles.

Achieving the Perfect Coffin Shape

To achieve the perfect coffin shape, start with a square nail foundation to ensure straight side walls and a well-defined apex. Sculpt the nail with a focus on creating a squared-off tip that maintains a sleek and symmetrical appearance. Use precise filing techniques to refine the shape, ensuring the tapering towards the tip is gradual and elegant.

Maintaining Structural Integrity

Maintain a seamless cuticle blend and position the apex approximately one-third of the way from the cuticle to the free edge. This supports the structural integrity of coffin nails, ensuring they withstand daily wear while maintaining their distinctive shape. The C-Curve should be subtle yet consistent, contributing to the nail’s strength and durability.

Nail Art Inspiration

Coffin nails offer a canvas for creativity, from minimalist designs to elaborate nail art. Experiment with different colors, textures, and patterns to showcase the sleek lines and tapered tip of coffin nails, making a statement with your manicure.


Mastering coffin nails requires precision and attention to detail, focusing on creating a shape that combines elegance with a modern edge. Whether you’re a nail technician or a nail art enthusiast, our guide provides essential insights and techniques to achieve stunning coffin nails that elevate your manicure style.

Enrol in our self-guided online Shapes workshop here.