How to Do Acrylic Nails at Home

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PART 1 : Buy Acrylic Nails Supplies

This is not just a quick tutorial but a very comprehensive detailed step by step guide for how to do acrylic nails yourself at home.

We will cover every tiny detail you need to know to do your own acrylic nails without the need of any professional guiding you. After you finish going through, you will find yourself having the same knowledge as an expert and may even want to offer the same service to your friends. No i am not joking, I mean what i just said!

This guide will be divided into different parts. First we need to collect all the supplies required to do acrylic nails at home.

OPTION 1 : Acrylic Nails Starter Kit (yes Optional not recommended)

Best acrylic nails starter kit

This is the best kit you can buy if you want to. Look for no other. 

Why not recommended? It will be a good bargain than buying all supplies separately. So only if you are low on budget then I would recommend going for starter kit but please notice that the quality of the products is not very good in these starter kits.

If you do not want to compromise with quality, please stay away from the starter kits and instead spend some more money to buy the best quality acrylics nails supplies separately. In the long run, they will be much better, healthy and also cheaper.

I have done a deep research to find the best nail supplies you can buy without giving a second thought. My recommendations are backed with hundreds of reviews by happy customers and these are the best brands you can get at fair pricing.

Here goes the complete list of all supplies you need before we get started:

Recommended Best Acrylic Nails Supplies

1. Acrylic Nail Tips

Acrylic Nails Tips

These are white tips, you can go for natural color, pink or any other you want. There are plenty of colors and designs. Just click on above image and you will find lots to choose from. Select as per your desire.

2. Nail Glue

Nail Glue

Yes this one is the best glue for applying tips on your nails. Don’t go with the cheap ones if you want your acrylics to stick on your nails for a long time.

3. Acrylic Nail Clipper

Nail Clipper for Acrylic Nails

Certainly one of the best nail clippers out there for your acrylic nails related jobs.

4. Nail File

OPI Nail File

This is a pretty good file that does it job really well. You may want to consider an electric file kit if you want a faster alternative. Look at the 6th option.

5. Nail Buffer

Nail Buffer

This is a good one you want to have for all your nail buffering requirements. Again if you want, buy an electric kit instead which does both filing and buffer. Look at the next option.

6. Electric File Buffer Kit (Recommended)

Nail Drill

This is a good quality electric nail kit for filing and buffering. This is really good product for the beginners. Complete value for money.

7. Acrylic Liquid

Mia Secrets Acrylic Liquid Monomer

You may want to buy bigger volume to get true value for money. Regarding quality, do not worry as this product has stood the test of time.

8. Acrylic Powder

Acrylic Nail Powder

No this isn’t something too expensive but also not some cheap quality. This is the most popular acrylic nail powder which you can’t go wrong with.

9. Acrylic Dish

Glass Dish

I simply love this one. Its so lovely and elegant. This ain’t not very costly as well, just go and buy few of them.

10. Acrylic Brush

Nail Brush

You must buy a good quality nail brush for accurate application. This is one of the most popular product and fail proof.

11. Acetone Nail Polish Remover

Acetone Polish Remover

Comes from a trusted brand. Nothing more is needed to be said for this amazing nail polish remover. Its recommended to use acetone based remover only. Regular removers do not work for this job.

12. Nail Primer

Nail Primer

Their products are always high quality. Quality is second to none. Just go for it, you won’t regret.

13. Cuticle Stick

Cuticle Stick

This cuticle stick is pretty good product. It has a rubber edge and is really long lasting. I suggest buying one. You will get true value for every penny spent on it.

14. Nail Dust Remover

Nail Dust Remover

Looks too cute, isn’t it? Yes you would want to clean your nail again & again with this soft brush.

15. Lint free Cotton Pads

Cotton pads

These cotton pads are really awesome to be honest. Hundreds of reviews vouch for the quality. You can use other soft cotton cloth or other stuff too. But if you want to buy then these are the best option.

Phew!! Finally, if you have all the above supplies with you, your arsenal for doing acrylic nails at your home should be fully equipped. You can buy them at your local store also but i have hand picked the best and tested supplies which always work up to expectations.

Let’s move on to the next part of this tutorial.

PART 2 : Preparing the Nails

STEP 1 : Removing old Nail Paint

  • First you need to clean your nails properly. Wash your hands with soap and water thoroughly.
  • Cover the surface with a waste cloth or paper towel.
  • Now use the nail polish remover to take off the old nail paint you have on your nails.
    • TIP : Its suggested to use round circular moves to take off the paint, its much easier that way.
    • NOTE : I highly recommend to use a acetone based nail polish remover to make sure you get complete clean nail bed otherwise its going to give trouble at later stage.
    • If you already have acrylics nails, then you must follow the proper method to remove them first. Please follow our tutorial here: How to Remove Acrylic Nails at Home

STEP 2 : Trim & File

  • Now its time to do some trimming. Take a good quality nail clipper to trim your nails shorter but not too short that you cant manage them. You can use nail scissors also for the task.
  • Then you want to file them using a soft file (not coarse), this is to be done so that the surface becomes more rough and sticky. It helps the acrylics to stick much stronger to your nails.

STEP 3 : Working with Cuticles

  • Now apply cuticle remover on your cuticles. Its highly recommended. It do comes along with starter kit too or you can buy the one suggested above.
  • Take a cuticle stick or pusher and push all the 10 cuticles one by one backwards.
  • Remove any dead tissue you see otherwise they will act as blockage while applying acrylics.
    • WARNING: Do not try to trim living tissue as that may lead to septic and usually they grow back and even more thicker which may just be another problem. That is why you should use cuticle remover.
    • TIP: Before applying cuticle remover, you may want to dip your nails in hot water as that makes them more soft to work with and almost painless process.
How to prepare nails for acrylics

STEP 4 : Use Nail Primer

  • The next step is to make your nails dry and removes any oil left on your nails. This helps the acrylics to stick better otherwise oil won’t let it get in contact with the nail bed the way we want.
  • You need to use recommended nail primer only for this purpose.
  • Apply nail primer with the help of cotton bud on your nail and rub it.
    • WARNING: Do not let your skin come in contact with nail primer because it is acidic and may cause burns. If you are using the one recommended by me, that is acid free.
    • TIP: Do not overuse it.
how to apply primer on nails

That’s it, we are done with the second stage of doing acrylic nails at home. Now, let’s proceed to third stage!

PART 3 : How to Apply the Acrylics

STEP 1 : Clean the filings

  • If you purchased the kit, you must be having a nail cleanser too along with a lint free wipe.
  • Apply some cleaner on your nail with the help of the wipe. This helps to ensure that there isn’t any residue left on the nail.
    • TIP: If your kit does not contain the cleanser, you can use the substitute “Pure Acetone” as well. Do not use acetone based polish remover as that won’t help here.

STEP 2 : Selecting the Tips

  • You need to find the right size of tips for your nails. What exactly is the right size?
    • The tips which fits perfectly on both sides of your nail is the right size but definitely ready made tips won’t perfectly fit you.
    • You will find the tips which are either short or little extra in size. Which one to choose?
      • Always go with the one which is bigger than your nail width and then file it to the correct size using a nail filer and buffer.
      • You must not forcefully fit the shorter tip on your nail as it may then lift up later and will continue pinching you.

STEP 3 : Apply Glue & Tip

  • Now apply some glue on the tip (not on the nail bed).
  • Then gently slip the tip down your nail till halfway. Keep it in place holding it for about 30 to 45 seconds.
    • TIP: When you slip the tip then hold your nail at an angle of 45 degrees to make sure glue doesn’t flow down on your finger as it will be then very difficult to remove the dried glue after tip is fixed.
    • TIP: If any glue flows around the nail, gently wipe it using the soft nail wipe.
    • TIP: If your tip crooked while applying, then wash the nail with warm water to make the tip soft and then remove it. Reapply the fresh tip.
How to apply acrylics

STEP 4 : Preparing Acrylics

  • Now take two separate dishes or one with 2 divisions. Take the acrylic liquid in one and acrylic powder in another dish.
    • TIP: You definitely want to take the liquid in separate dish as directly dipping the brush in the liquid bottle will spoil the whole container and make it unusable for next time.
How to apply acrylic on nails
  • Gently dip the tip of the brush into the liquid to make it wet and pull it back sliding it across the dish edge to remove excess liquid.
  • Quickly dip the moistened tip into the powder and pull it back without taking too much powder.
  • Repeat this step 4-5 times to have an even mixture of liquid and powder on the tip of brush making a small round ball looking like a bead.
    • Making a perfect bead is an art at which you keep getting better the more you practice.
    • The ratio of liquid and powder should be 40 : 60 respectively. Its just an approximate ratio but our main purpose is to form neither  too wet nor too dry bead.
    • If the bead is quite wet then use paper towel to remove the excess liquid.

STEP 5 : Application of Mixture on Nails

  • We need to apply the mixture on the complete nail divided into 3 zones.
  • First zone starts from down the smile line till the halfway. Take the bead and apply the acrylic along the smile line and then move the brush in straight motion upwards.
How to fill acrylic nails


  • Then apply acrylic in zone 2 i.e. from halfway till the end of natural nail gently.
  • Finally apply the acrylic in zone 3 i.e. the tip beyond the length of natural nail. You may want to apply more acrylic on the edge of the tip where it is glued on the nail in such a manner that edge transforms into a gentle slope.
    • TIP: You need to apply acrylic quickly as it dries out very fast.
    • TAKE CARE: Do not apply acrylic on your skin or cuticle. To achieve this, you should leave the first few mm from the cuticle untouched.
    • TIP: While applying if the acrylic isn’t spreading freely then dip the brush in liquid again to make it wet and then try.
  • Finally apply the last coat down from the smile line towards end of  the tip to form smooth acrylic coating.
    • TIP: Try to keep the acrylic coat thicker around the smile line as zone 1 receives the maximum pressure.

STEP 6 : Let the acrylic dry

  • Finally, leave your hand still for next 8-10 minutes so acrylic  sets and harden.
  • Try to test by tapping the brush end on the nail. If all went well, then you should hear a knocking sound.
    • TIP: Do not just leave the brush after you are done. Clean it well with acrylic liquid if you plan to use it the next time or its ruined!

That’s it, the hardest part is over. Now just a little finishing touch is required which is covered in the next and final part of this tutorial.

PART 4 : Finishing Touch for the Acrylic Nails

STEP 1 : Shaping the Nails

  • Trim: First trim down the acrylic nails if required using a fine nail clipper.
  • File: Use a coarse (not soft this time) nail file to give the desired shape to your new acrylic nails.
  • Buffer: Use a good nail buffer to buff the nail surface and make it shiny and butter smooth.
    • WARNING: Do not buffer too close to the cuticle, you may hurt yourself and yes it hurts a lot!
    • If you feel burning sensation during buffering then simply move to the other areas to keep it cool.
    • Don’t be too rough while filing your new nails. You don’t want them to break.
finishing acrylic nails

STEP 2 : Time to Paint

  • Yes get your favorite nail paint and apply more than a few layers on your beautiful acrylic nails.
  • Give them a very shiny and smooth surface that those without acrylics feel like killing you out of jealousy. ha ha just kidding!
    • TIP: Before you apply the nail paint, make sure you clean the nails and remove the leftover dust due to filing with the help of nail duster.

STEP 3 : Are we not done already?

Oh yes, we are. 🙂

You will need to maintain the nails regularly as they will grow in around 14-16 days then you can remove the acrylics or you can apply more acrylics as you wish.

Please don’t feel sad if you didn’t get them right after your first try. Remember every first success is preceded by a failed attempt.

If you need any further help or want to ask anything about acrylic nails, feel free to contact us or simply leave your comment here.

Sources: google, amazon

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12 thoughts on “How to Do Acrylic Nails at Home”

    • Definitely yes. You can use any brand you like. Above are some of the suggestions which have been tried and tested for their quality so you can go with them without second thought.

  1. I don’t want false nails, I just want to put acrylic over my normal nails to strengthen them. Can that be done and do I need special varnish?
    Many thanks,

  2. Is it best to use a glass bowl for the acrylic liquid? I’ve used plastic but it gets sludgy..I clean my brush between each application but it seems I always end up contaminating or getting too much powder in my this bc I’m not using a glass bowl? Or should I just be putting the liquid in the bowl little by little instead of pouring the full amount needed for full set? Every tip helps!


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