How to Apply Acrylic Liquid & Powder

Written by sandra rousseau
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How to Apply Acrylic Liquid & Powder
With a little patience and practice, you can apply your own acrylic nails. (Fingernageldesign French White image by TOBB-Shop from

While most women who wear acrylic fingernails pay to have them professionally applied, it is possible to do it yourself. Applying the acrylic liquid and powder can be the trickiest part of the process. While it takes time to learn, it is well worth the effort. Invest in a few tools and supplies -- then muster up a little patience -- and you'll be on your way to beautiful acrylic nails.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Nail polish remover
  • Cotton balls
  • Soap
  • Fingernail scrub brush
  • Towel
  • Cuticle pusher
  • Fingernail clipper
  • Acrylic filing block
  • Acrylic nail tip glue
  • Acrylic fingernail tips
  • Acrylic nail trimmer
  • 2 small bowls
  • Acrylic applicator brush

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  1. 1

    Remove any polish on your nails with nail polish remover and a cotton ball.

  2. 2

    Wash your hands thoroughly with soap, and clean your nails thoroughly with the nail scrub brush. Rinse well and dry.

  3. 3

    Push your cuticles back gently, clearing the nail surface of all skin.

  4. 4

    Clip your nails, so that they extend just over your fingertips. File the edges until smooth.

  5. 5

    Wipe one of the finer sides of the filing block over the surface of your nails. The purpose here is to slightly roughen the surface, so the acrylic products will adhere better. Do not file the nail extensively or apply too much pressure. Use the towel to wipe away any nail dust.

  1. 1

    Put a drop of nail glue on the tip of your fingernail. Carefully place a nail tip on the glue dot and press gently for about 5 seconds. Make sure to match the width of the nail tip to the width of your natural nail as closely as possible. Repeat this step on all of your fingernails.

  2. 2

    Trim the acrylic tips to your desired length, and file the ends smooth.

  3. 3

    Apply a thin coat of primer to the part of your nails that is not covered by a nail tip. Primer brushes on in a fashion similar to nail polish. Let the primer dry until it has a chalky, white appearance.

  4. 4

    Put a bit of acrylic powder in one bowl, and a bit of acrylic liquid in the other bowl. Dip the application brush first into the liquid, then into the powder. A small ball will form at the tip of the brush. The trick here is for the ball not to be too wet or too dry. This will get easier with experience.

  5. 5

    Place the ball onto your fingernail, at the seam where your natural nail and the nail tip meet. Quickly, and without entirely flattening the ball, smooth it out over the nail. This will make a small mound that will thicken your nails and cover the seam. Avoid getting the acrylic mixture on your cuticles. This is another step that will get easier with practice. Repeat on all of your fingernails.

  6. 6

    Polish your acrylic nails with the nail polish of your choice.

Tips and warnings

  • Practice makes perfect, and this technique takes time and patience.
  • Depending upon the specific acrylic products you purchase, the manufacturer's instructions may differ from those here. Read and follow all manufacturer's instructions.

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