Believe me when I say that nail stamping is amazing. Have you ever wanted to create perfect, gorgeous and professional nail designs (beyond your wildest dreams) at a fraction of the time and money? With these secret nail stamping tips, tricks and tutorial, you are going to learn how to create fine and detailed designs on your nails that will leave your friends screaming with envy.
You will create these beautiful nail stamping designs at the comfort of your home without going to the expensive nail salon (and it only takes a few minutes to achieve). I have been trying to write this guide for long but been putting it off to finish watching “The 100 TV series”. Ya, I love “The 100”, I have just finished season one. Even though I have the CD for “The 100 season 2”, I have decided to put it aside so that I can finish this stamping nail art tutorial.
1.1 Why this nail stamping guide was written
1.2 What you will learn
2.0 Nail stamping, what is it?
2.1 Why is nail stamping important?
3.0 Stamping supplies (Tools for successful nail stamping)
4.0 7 secrets before You Buy stamping tools.
5.0 The Famous 8 Steps Nail Stamping tutorial: How to do nail stamping successfully
5.1 Nail stamping Tips and Tricks from a veteran stamper
6.O External links
1.1 Why have I written this nail stamping guide?
I am writing this guide to make sure that if you want to learn how to do nail stamping, you will get all the stamping tips, tricks and secrets, have the right checklist of the best and right nail stamping supplies for creating great nail art and ensure that you do not get ripped off by sellers of nail stamping kits, and salons that charge exorbitant prices to do designs on your nails which you can do yourself quickly and even better.
I call myself a nail stamping addict, besides other nail designs that I occasionally do, I mostly wear art that has been created using nail stickers/ appliques or by stamping. So along the way, I have mastered the stamping technique, I have worked with the best and worst supplies/brands and I believe that is what has compelled me to write this guide, which I hope will spare you the .pain and the frustration I went through. I may even save you some money in the process.
1.2 What will you learn from this guide?
I will provide a list of the best kits I have used (plus reviews and where to buy them if possible), I will teach you step by step how to do nail stamping successfully, and I will include video tutorials if you prefer watching as it is being done, and I will mix in my secret tips I have learned along the way. So tighten your seat belt for a wonderful ride.
2.0 What is nail stamping?
This is a nail art technique which involves transferring designs in nail polish to your nails using a metal plate which already has these designs and then a stamp to put these pre-designed designs on your nails.
In simple terms: You have a metal image plate with the designs you want, you put nail polish onto this plate so that we transfer the designs to the polish, then you transfer the designs made on the polish to the stamper and finally you use the stamper to apply the designs on your nails.
2.1 Why is nail stamping important?
This technique gives fine, delicate and detailed designs which you cannot possibly achieve with hand painting. With nail stamping, you can design your nails for any occasion or just for fun and at your disposal, you can hundreds of image plates and thousands of different designs to choose from. This is an easy technique, which, if you follow this guide with patience and determination, you can master in a few hours. The beauty of nail stamping versus hand nail painting is that you can change the designs whenever you feel like, whether weekly, daily or as many times as you want. And you can do this from anywhere: at home, at a friend’s house. Hahahaha, at one time I traveled with the kit and applied the designs in the washroom.
3.0 Tools for successful nail stamping (Stamping supplies)
There are many brands and retailers of stamping supplies. In most cases, nail stamping systems come in a set or kit which contains all the tools you will need to successfully apply adorable nail manicure using this technique. However, as you horn your stamping skills, sometimes you will find yourself buying the tools individually because some sets are just starter kits and inadequate in supplies. Some of the suppliers you can choose your stamping equipment from are: Konad, Bundle Monster, Salon Express, Red Angel, Mash Born Pretty, Cheeky, and Gals Cosmetics. The list is endless depending on where you live. Below is a list of the tools you will need:
I discuss some of these stamping tools in detail in in section 6 of this guide. But first the list.
- Nail Stamp: a Nail stamp, also known as a stamper is used to transfer the designs made on the image plate on-to your nails.
- Image plate: This is a metallic plate, in different sizes, on which the images/designs are engraved.
- Scraper: You will be using this to scrape off any excess nail polish on the image plate.
- Nail polish (for base color, and for stamping).
- Special topcoat. You will have to buy this separately because successful stamping needs special topcoat.
- Nail wipes. These will be used to clean the image plate between stampings.
- Q-tips (cotton bud)
- Nail art brush. Used for applying the coats.
- Nail polish remover (preferably Acetone)
4.0 7 Secret things you should know before you buy stamping tools.
Secret # 1 and 2: Know the size of your nails before you purchase any plate. Also know the size of images on the plates.
It is possible that you have read a nail stamping blog or watched a video and been told that you need plates (which is true). However, it is not a matter of “one size fits all”. There are many manufacturers of nail stamping plates. Even the peoples’ favorite (Konad), which is one of the oldest in the field, makes plates of different sizes. So you will be surprised if you order plates and they arrive when they are either small of bigger for your nails. So the best practice is to measure the size (length and width) of your finger nails, record them so that you can purchase plates with full nail designs which will cover your entire nail in a single stamping.
When I measured mine longtime ago, I used the industry standard metric tape measure. You can even order bigger sizes if you grow your nails longer, but never order smaller sizes, even though you can later correct the designs using the advanced “double stamping” techniques, which is a little complicated especially if you are just starting out. You can always find the sizing information on the plate manufacturer’s website. If they do not have them, always try to ask before you purchase. I have not measured the different design sizes from the many image plate manufacturers, but I here is a table of sizes by Nails of Aquarius
|Bundle Monster Original 2010||1.4cm||1.1cm|
|Bundle Monster 2011||1.6cm||1.3cm|
|Bundle Monster 2010 Revised, 2012, 2013, Holiday||1.7cm||1.3cm|
|Cheeky Jumbo XL||2.0cm||1.5cm|
|Dashica Big SdP||1.9cm||1.3cm|
|Messy Mansion (MM series)||2.2cm||1.7cm|
|MoYou London Regular||1.5cm||1.2cm|
|MoYou London XL||2.0cm||1.5cm|
|Pueen Love Elements||1.8cm||1.4cm|
Table source: >Nails of Aquarius
Secret # 3: It is easier to stamp some designs compared to other designs. There are three categories of designs, one of which you may end up buying. These are the full nail designs, smaller images or French tip designs. In my opinion, of the three designs, full nail designs are the easiest to use. If you followed secret # 1 and chose the proper image size, you just simply roll the stamper over your nails, without worrying over the precise placement of the design.
You can even just press your nails into the stamper to transfer the image designs. Smaller images are more complicated to use and need some practice to be able to place the design in the exact intended location on your nail. If you have not used them before, these are usually small images like flowers, animals etc., which are intended to be placed on a specific spot on your nail. The French tip designs are then even more challenging to use compared to the above two.
Secret # 4: Mind about the quality of the plates you are purchasing.
Yes, the nail art industry is becoming very profitable every day and thus many entrepreneurs want this piece of the pie. There are many manufacturers of stamping plates, each fighting for your attention with special deals on your purchase. Be sure to do some research, and read the reviews for any plates you may want to purchase, and know that you always “get what you pay for”. You may want to save a dollar through that deal you have seen on eBay, but they may arrive when they are defective in one way or another.
In my years of using several plates, I have come to appreciate the fact that some brands are more reliable than others. For example, Bundle monster image plates have had a history of quality issues, which they have kept on improving with every edition. For example, while bundle monster 2011 and 2012 collections provide better quality than the 2010 collection whose full size images are very tiny. In addition, bundle monster plates are reasonably priced, so if you are to go for the reasonable price, always test all the designs on delivery. Konad stamping plates, plus Pueen, MoYou London, Winstonia, UberChic, Dashica Beauty big SDP plates, Messy Mansion and Emily de Molly plates have always proven reliable and give quality stamping. Some friends of mine also say that The Cheeky 2013 jumbo plates and XL jumbo plates are good.
Secret # 5: Avoid scrapers with metal blades. The types of scrapers can ruin your metal plates through scratching. When my plastic Konad scraper which was working fine broke down, I experimented with a laminated card and I have since used that. You can purchase thin, flexible cards made just for this purpose which are being sold by many retailers, or use any membership card, credit card, gift card or pan scrapers.
Secret #6: There are as many different types of nail stamps and it is not a case of “one size fits all”. The stamper you chose will make or break your stamping. Many people recommend the Konad stamper that it picks up the images from stamping plates a lot better and easily. However, some people will swear by the XL Squishy stamper (such as the one from magno nails) or other brands such as Julia.
I have used the Konad Double Sided Stamper but I found the application process with this stamper to be a little tricky and the stamp wasn’t pressing hard enough – I think this is due to its firmness. I have found the Squishy XL stamper to be best for me because it just contours around my nails, thus incredibly easy to cover the entire nail. There are also the soft and sticky Marshmallow stampers with Marshmallow stamper heads, the rectangle shaped stampers and many more.
However, as you juggle through the different stampers, you will discover your preferences. The one tip I can give you in this regard is to always read the description of the stamper you desire to purchase to find the level that best matches your nail type. You can also read my review titled “My best nail stamps”
Secret #7: If you can, try to use the special stamping polish. Though you can use any polish for stamping, I have always had the best results achieved easily when I use the real special polishes specifically formulated for stamping. Polishes such as the Konad special nail polish, M polish, Mundo de Unas, Rica, etc. When you are stamping using your ordinary nail, you need to be very fast as they dry fast. But the stamping polishes are formulated to dry slower, they are broader in colors and unlike with ordinary polishes, you can easily remove a mistake made with stamping polish. You simply need a piece of tape or a lint roller to remove. So always have real stamping polish around.
5.0 Famous 8 Steps Nail Stamping tutorial: How to do nail stamping successfully.
The most critical element during stamping is speed. You have to do the entire image stamping steps very quickly to ensure that the polish does not which will lead to the image not properly transferring to your nails. Even though you are using the special stamping polish which I have said dries slowly, speed is still important.
Below are the steps you will follow to successfully do nail stamping using the equipment listed earlier.
1: Prepare your work station. You can do stamping from anywhere, put the best nail station setup is for you to have your image plate on top of a paper towel and the stamp and scraper within easy reach. Having them within easy reach means you will not have difficulty accessing them when you need them. Remember we said speed is important. Also the paper towel will help you in cleaning the scraper after you have removed the polish off the image. Also have the nail polish remover (preferably Acetone) and a Q-Tip (cotton bud) within easy reach.
2: Thoroughly Wash and dry your hands.
3: If there is any old nail polish, have it removed using nail polish remover.
4: Make your nails uniform by trimming and filing them if necessary. You can use an electric nail file for easy filing
5: Now apply the base coat and leave it to dry completely.
6: Apply the main base color that your stamp will go over. It is recommended to start with a dry base color and let it dry completely.
7: Now paint your nails with a clear topcoat over your main base color and leave it to dry completely. Though this step is not mandatory, I recommend that you do it (Applying clear top coat) because it will make it easier for you to correct any stamping errors you may experience ahead. For example, if you do not like the designs you’ve made, you can remove them with a piece of tape or q-tip or lint roller and do it again without having to remove and re-apply your main base color. As you can see, you will also need plenty of clear topcoat at hand for such emergencies. The topcoat should be completely dry before you stamp on it. Also make sure that it does not dry with any oily residue as such oils will prevent the image from properly transferring to the nails.
8: Now the stamping begins:
- Pick the plate with the image or pattern you want
- Paint a thick layer of the special nail polish across the patter than you desire. (A single plate will have many images / patterns, so chose the image you want for this step)with practice, you will discover that you can apply the special polish to one side of the image and drag it with a scraper to cover the whole image. This saves on polish. But if you are just starting out, it is wise to just paint the whole image with the thick layer.
- Get your scraper, position it 45% angle to the design, and pull it firmly across the painted image to scrape off any excess polish, so that the only polish left is the pattern. You have to do these actions (2, 3 and the ones below) as fast as possible as the polish dries fast.
- Put the stamper on the image and firm press it over the plate in a rolling motion so that it picks up the polish on the image. Remember to work very fast and if the full design does not transfer to the nail stamp, then wipe it off with nail wipes and repeat the step again until you get it right.
- Transfer the image from the stamper to the nail by lining up the edges of the image and the nail, firmly pressing the stamper (the design) across your nail in a rolling motion (left to right).
- Clean up your nail cuticles using q-tip and nail polish remover.
- Protect your image by applying a top coat over it.
There you have it. That is our famous 8 steps nail stamping tutorial you should follow to create stunning nail art.
Here are three Video tutorials to to better explain the whole process
- Nail stamping Video Tutorial 1
- Video Tutorial 2: How to Fail at Stamping
5.1 Nail stamping Tips and Tricks from a veteran stamper.
- You are not restricted to one polish color on the image. You can add different colors to the plate at action 2 of step 8 in our famous 8 steps stamping tutorial. This will give you a multi colored design.
- You should think about the direction you will be scraping the polish when positioning you image plate. A person who scrapes from left to right should have the design on the right hand side so that the excess polish is scraped off the side of the image.
- Though it is highly recommended, it is not mandatory that you only restrict yourself to the special stamping polish. They are special because they are thick, very, very opaque and dry slower. But any polish that goes on opaque with one coat, such as Sally Hansen Nail FX, some china glaze polishes, etc should work fine for you.
- Always apply a topcoat before you start stamping. This will make it easier for you to correct any image errors later ass discussed earlier.
- If your scraper is damaged, you can successfully use a gift card, credit card, etc.
- I discovered (after lots of frustrations) that for squishy or sticky stampers, it is works best to push your nail straight into the image instead of rolling it over your nail.
- Always work fast especially when you start on step 8 of our famous 8 steps nail stamping tutorial.
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