If you’ve ever attempted nail stamping, you’ll know that it’s not necessarily as easy right off the bat as some of your favorite nail artists make it look. But never fear because Amy McG, expert stamper behind Polish Etc. (@mcpolish) is here to share all the secrets that will make you a pro in no time.
1. Look for a good stamping polish. Usually polishes that will cover your nail with one coat will stamp well. Metallic polishes and some matte polishes work very well.
2. Clean the stamping image after before each use with pure acetone. This will get all of little bits of old polish out and ensure a crisp image.
3. When using a squishy or sticky stamper, pushing your nail straight into the image instead of rolling it over your nail works the best.
4. To quickly clean your stamper without damaging it, use a piece of packing tape to pick up all the left over polish bits.
5. You can use the scraper that comes with your stamper, but I prefer an old gift card/credit card. Hold it at a 45-degree angle to the plate and scrape lightly.
6. If you are using an image with a large open space to stamp, trying scraping the image both left to right and up and down. This will spread the polish around the large space more evenly.
7. When you are starting out with your stamping adventures, make it easy and just do an accent nail.
8. Using an image that is more abstract and free form. Avoid straight lines and single images, as it is harder to line these stamps up straight on your nail when you just learning to stamp.
9. Mix and match abstract stamps on each nail of your manicure. Try turning the stamper in different ways on each nail to make it look unique. Mistakes are much less noticeable when each nail is different.
10. Elevate your manicure by stamping multiple colors of the same stamp on each nail for a layered effect.
11. Reverse stamping is a fun way to get even more colors onto your nails. It works well for small images. When reverse stamping, color in your image right on the stamper. Once it dries, apply a tiny bit of top coat to your painted nail. (Like dry brushing). Then stamp the colored-in image right on your nail and seal it in with top coat.
Creating your own stamped decals
12. For larger images, making polish decals works well. Create a polish decal by painting a square of clear polish onto a sandwich bag. Once it is dry, stamp your image onto the clear polish and color it in. Once that is dry, you can gently peel the decal off of the plastic
13. I recommend trimming the decal down so there is not a ton of extra polish you will need to clean away.
14. Apply a tiny amount of clear polish to your pained nail and lay the decal onto it. Press it firmly down and smooth out the decal to the edges of your nail. This small bit of clear polish and smoothing out will prevent air bubbles from becoming trapped under the decal.
15. I prefer to clean up the overhanging bits of decal before applying top coat. Otherwise, sometimes the extra decal folds over onto the top coat and ruins your design.
16. When using large images for decals, you can cut them in half and use them on even more nails. Again, random placement makes it easy to hide imperfections.
17. To prevent smearing your design with top coat, wait until the stamping has dried and float a large amount of top coat on the nail with as few strokes as possible. I will stamp all 10 nails, then clean up all ten and once that is done they will be dry enough for top coat.