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How To Use Nail Stamps

Lynsey loves trying out beauty tips and products. She often makes her own products and enjoys sharing any useful information that she finds!


Now that you have stopped biting your nails, and you know how to paint your nails properly, you can begin to look at nail art to give your manicure some originality and creativity.

There are many options available to you, such as foils, nail piercing, nail art pens, polka dot droppers, even simple french manicure sets for giving a contrasting tip.

Today, I will show you how to use nail stamps to create quick, simple, intricate designs on your nails using your existing nail polish and a cheap tool.

colours opposite each other contrast and work well for nail stamping

colours opposite each other contrast and work well for nail stamping

Lots of Choice

Choose Your Colours

You should think carefully about the colours available to you, and how they would transfer with this technique. You would use contrasting colours for a high impact effect, or you could simply use different shades of the same colour- i.e light pink base, hot pink stamp for a more subtle effect.

Keep in mind the nail polishes that you have access to- and if one colour is a quick dry, that should be used as your base, because the nail stamping tool doesn't work best with quick dry polishes- but I will talk more about that later.

Choose Your Stamps

You can get sets of 30 stamping plates on Amazon for very reasonable prices. They usually illustrate the designs on the listings, but you will generally find that there is a lot of variety, so I would recommend investing in a set if this is a technique you would like to use often.

I'm sure you can pay more for these if you choose to, and they may last a bit longer, but I think that as long as you keep them clean, a cheap and cheerful set should fare you well for a few years, at least.

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Using The Stamps

  1. First, you need to paint your nails a base colour- this will be the majority colour of the design, so choose something you like! Quick dry polishes are ideal for the base colour.
  2. Let the base colour dry thoroughly- this is important as you don't want smudging.
  3. Ensure the stamping equipment is clean- use acetone nail polish remover to clean- if there is any residual polish from previous applications, the designs will not be crisp.
  4. Paint stamp colour over chosen design on stamp plate- there are many plates to choose from, from floral fancies to french tip designs, chequered patterns and swirly circles.
  5. Scrape off excess nail polish using scraper tool, this will ensure the design is clear, and push any excess polish into the intricate detailed spots.
  6. Quickly roll stamp over design- design will transfer onto stamp.
  7. Then, roll stamp over nail surface to transfer onto nail. Use a singular rolling motion.
  8. Repeat stamping process (steps 3-7), ensuring you clean the equipment each time- this extra time put in now will save time in repainting the nails later.
  9. Once dry, apply top coat as normal.

A Few Tips

  • Always use a quick dry base colour with a not so quick dry stamp colour. This is for two reasons- firstly, you don't want to smudge the base during the process, and secondly, you want the stamp image to remain malleable while stamping. If it dries during the process, the image will not transfer onto the nail.
  • Less is more. There is no need to saturate the design with lots of polish- this will be scraped off anyway. Just enough to cover the majority of the design will do, as the rest is pushed into the smaller areas while scraping.
  • Practice makes perfect. Like anything, this may not work first time- especially if, like me, you aren't exactly ambidextrous, and have one stronger hand. You may also struggle with the positioning of the stamp being consistent in each nail- practice this, or use a stamping machine, which can be found cheaply online.
  • If it still doesn't work, even after practice, consider using a different nail varnish for the stamping- some varnishes are not acceptable- usually quick dry, or effect varnish. Keep it simple until you get used to it.
  • If you do have to re-do a nail, as annoying as it sounds, you should remove all varnish and start over from your base colour again. Trying to cut corners will result in a mess, unprofessional result.
  • Experiment and enjoy! Once you have found your signature stamp and got well practiced, you will be able to create professional, gorgeous looking nails in minutes. Plenty of time to enjoy the rest of the day.

© 2015 Lynsey Hart


Lynsey Hart (author) from Lanarkshire on December 15, 2015:

Me too Jasmeetk! I have actually found some new tips and tricks- ok mainly a new stamper lol- so I will be updating this hub as soon as I receive my delivery of nail stamping goodies! Can't wait!

Jasmeet Kaur from India on December 13, 2015:

I love stamping nail art...

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