Firstly the beloved dotting tool! Now yes Ok you can pick these up fairly cheaply on eBay or Amazon but if you are just starting out or the inspiration suddenly hits what are you to do?? Get up and go to your dresser drawer or being honest in my case the bottom of your purse and you will find your saviour! The bug basic Bobby Pin will do the trick perfectly. Take the open end and pull them apart so it seperates and Bobs yours uncle you have something that will do doticures and pick up rhinestones perfectly!
If you pop nail art brushes into Google you will be greeted with a vast variety of types and sets but if you are just after a couple to being with get yourself down to a craft or model shop. They sell brushes indivually and cheaper than you will get online for a set that you are only ever going to use 1 or 2 of. The other thing that you can do with these is cutomise them to suit your need. A sharp pair of scissors or a pair of cuticle nippers (yes not their intended use but who can honestly say they have never reached for them in a time of need to nip a thread here or there!) Simply and carefully trim the bristles to the desired shape or length.
While on the topic of brushes they key to a long life of many manicures is care. These brushes will take more of a battering than your make brushes so they will require just as much attention. Their main enemy will be the acetone in nail polish remover to get the polish out of them from your latest masterpiece. Once I am complete and they are free of nail polish I rinse them in warm soapy water, taking care not to get any in the ferrel (the metal part holding on the bristles). Once I have done that I will squeeze any remaining water out, reshape and dry flat.
If all else fails and you are stuck with a design in mind and no means of getting it from there onto your nails there is one final thing that will double up as a dotting tool and brush in a pinch. It is the humble yet versitile tooth pick! They will make lovely dots by simply placing them in the colour of choice and dabbing onto your nail. To use them as a brush load them up with polish and quickly dot them into the shape required. It make take a couple of goes to get the opqueness you want but the lines will be just as good as if done by a brush!