DIY Nails: A How To Guide

The most important thing to remember when doing your own nails, especially repeatedly, is to make sure you have the everything you need to keep the damage to your natural nails minimal.

Correct removal and application of fake nails is key to achieving the best look you can at the least out of pocket cost possible.


My favorite tool to remove nails is…

drumroll please…

Plackers dental flossers!

Use the pointed end of it to break free the edges of the nail. You can then either continue to use the end to gently scrape the glue away, or you can slide the actual floss between your nail and the artificial one, breaking the bond between them as you do so.

If the nail doesn’t want to come free, do not, for any reason, force the nail to break free. This will only cause ripping, thinning, or some other damage to your nail. Also, it hurts.

If you can’t get it to break free, use an emery board to scratch up the surface of the nail, and then soak that nail in an acetone based nail polish remover. It should dissolve fairly quickly, because the outer shell of the nail has been scuffed, and the seal around the edges of the nail has already been broken.

Once you have all the nails off, use a file to scuff the natural nail, and remove any excess glue that remains. When finished, wash your hands and clean the nail thoroughly.

If you are going to apply a nail that is “painted”, then stop here and move on to the application process.

If you are applying a nail that is “clear”, you should go ahead and smooth, buff, and shine the nail as well. It looks better and the glue adheres better visually. When finished, wash your hands and clean the nail thoroughly.


Every time I open a new box of nails, I first sort the nails by size 0-12 or 0-13, depending on the brand. Then size them out, putting aside the set you are going to use. Then I put the rest away in my magical box of nails.

**This is how I get the best bang for my buck! After awhile, you will have enough nails that were the extras, that you can assemble your own sets of nails, mixing and matching from all the previous boxes you’ve purchased. If you’re really feeling frugal, you can even file down the sides of any nails that are too big to fit any of your nails, and then absolutely none of them will ever go to waste!**

When applying, put the glue directly onto your natural nail. Press firmly enough to remove any air bubbles, but not so hard that glue is oozing from the edges.

First, start with the pinky on your non dominate hand, following with your ring finger, then middle finger. Do not apply to your thumb or index finger yet.

Now, move on to your dominate hand.

**By having not done your index finger or thumb on your non dominate hand yet, you’ll have better control to apply to your dominate hand**

Start with your pinky, ending with your thumb.

Now apply the nails to your index finger and thumb of your other hand.

If the nails are too long, you should invest in one of these bad boys!

It will cut the entire nail at one time, evenly. This one only cost me about $3 at Target.

You can use traditional nail clippers, but because they can’t cut the entire nail at once, you will be more likely have the nail crack or split.

Now go ahead and file to your desired shape, and ta-da!!!

All finished!