Stamping 101

Nail stamps are the best way to add some art or a fun pattern to your nail when you’re not too confident with your free-hand nail art abilities. As with any other technique, however, stamping can turn out a lot better if you know a couple of tricks to make your life easier: if you want to become a master of the trade, you’re lucky we’re about to share a few tips with you.

The Stamper's Set

Before you start stamping, you’ll need to make sure your base coat is completely dry and that you’re satisfied with its coverage. You’ll have to press the stamper on your nail, so if your base coat is not completely dry it will smudge.

The first thing you need to do is pick a pattern or drawing from your stamping plate. Nowadays there is so much variety that, no matter your preferences, you can rest assured you’ll find one of your liking: the engraved images range from simple polka dot patterns to your childhood’s (or your child’s) favorite cartoon character, which means that all you need to do is start browsing for a design you like. Once you have done so, cover the stamp you chose in polish. It’s important that you use stamping polish so that your designs are as vivid and clear as they can be since it is usually thicker and carries more pigment than regular nail polish. If you do not have stamping polish on hand, maybe run a few trials with your regular polish before applying it to your nail.


Next, remove the extra polish from the plate. If you find it hard to keep track of your scraper and have a hard time finding it before the polish on the plate dries, you should give our scraper stand a try: it will save you time and, you know, precious stamping polish. Once your plate is clean and residual-free press your stamper on the design you have picked and, in order to apply it to your nail, roll the stamper over it side-to-side. The reason you can’t simply press the stamper on your nail is that, unless your nail is very flat, you will not get your design on the sides of your nail. If you’re satisfied with the outcome, wait a few seconds to make sure your stamped design is dry and apply your favorite clear topcoat.

To add your own little twist (and a pop of color) to stamps, you can give reverse stamping a try. The idea that gives reverse stamping its name is the fact that the dry polish is not the one on your nail, but rather the one on the stamper which will then be transferred on your sticky nail.


When you’re starting with reverse stamping your nails will still need to be dry: adding the color and waiting for it to dry requires some time, so you’ll want to add your last, sticky layer just before pressing on the design.

The first steps are the same as regular stamping. Once you have the design on your stamper, use a fine brush (or a dotting tool!) to color in however you please: keep the stamper perfectly still and elevated with the aid of a square stamper pal and fill your pattern with your favorite shades. To keep your workspace neat with the different brushes you used for the various colors, use a brush rest. Rather than dragging the color to fill in the designs, gently dab it on to avoid smudges in the original drawing. Applying the color this way means the layer of colored polish will be fairly thick, so it will take longer to dry – I’d suggest waiting about 20 to 30 minutes to be safe. The design on the stamper doesn’t have to be completely dry, and leaving it a little tacky might actually help when it comes to the application on the nail. When you think your stamp is ready to be transferred, apply another coat of nail polish on your nail and wait a few seconds for it to dry a little: it shouldn’t be too liquid, or the reverse stamp will not stick but rather ruin your polish. Once your fresh layer is sticky enough, roll the stamper on your nail just like you would for regular stamping. Stamping might get a little messy around your cuticles, but you can fix your manicure in no time with the help of an acetone-soaked cotton swab or a cuticle pusher.

You can always overlay different designs on your nails, so have some fun with it until you’re satisfied with the outcome. Once you’re done stamping and cleaning up your manicure, take some time to admire your nails and allow us to do the same by tagging us on Instagram!

27 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All