How to do acrylic nails on yourself

Acrylic nails are a type of fake nail applied to your own natural nails. Acrylic nails still have a natural look and are strong and long lasting. You can easily do your own acrylic nails, but it will take time to perfect the technique. Professionals at nail salons are trained in applying acrylic nails, so it may take a few tries to get yours looking as professional. Once you nail the technique, however, you'll be able to save time and money by doing your own acrylic nails.

Remove any polish or acrylic from your nails. Clean your nails using the nail brush. Trim your natural nails just back to the skin. You want your natural nails to be trimmed, so that a broken acrylic nail won't rip off your natural nail. Use the nail file to smooth any rough areas and slough off dead skin.

Place a small dab of glue on the tip of the acrylic nails. The glue goes along the centre of the nail, from the bottom to the top edge that lines up with your natural nail. Apply the acrylic nails to your natural nails.

Trim the nail with a file and smooth it out to the length you want.

Place the liquid acrylic in a small dish. Dip your acrylic brush into the liquid acrylic, then wipe it on the side of the bowl. You only need a little liquid acrylic on the brush. Next, touch the tip of the brush to the acrylic powder to create a small acrylic ball.

Brush along the edge of your natural nail and the acrylic nail. Work quickly to smooth out the acrylic but don't flatten it.

Repeat the application of wet and dry acrylic to create a natural curve to the nail. You'll want to apply one coat to the tip of the acrylic nail for an even look but use a thin coat on the tip.

Let the acrylic dry (about 10 minutes) then file and shape the acrylic nail to a natural look. Use the filing block to smooth out the nail as well and the nail brush to sweep away the filings.

Apply moisturising nail oil to your cuticle area. The acrylic and filing tends to dry out nails, so the oil helps moisturise the nail and nail bed.


If you put a nail on incorrectly, soak your nail in water immediately to remove it


Work in an open and well-ventilated space when using acrylics as the smell is very potent.

Things You'll Need

  • Polish remover
  • Nail brush
  • Nail clipper
  • Nail file and block
  • Nail glue
  • Artificial nail tips (that fit your nail)
  • Powder acrylic
  • Liquid acrylic
  • Small dish or bowl
  • Acrylic brush
  • Nail moisturising oil
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About the Author

Melissa Hamilton began writing professionally in 2007. She has enjoyed cooking creatively in the kitchen from a young age. In addition to writing cooking articles for various publications, she currently works in the restaurant industry as a food and beverage trainer.