Nail Stamping Beginners Guide

To begin stamping you will need:

(Click Here for Tools & Kit)
1x Nail plate
1x Stamper
1x Scraper
Stamping nail polish
Nail polish remover
Protected hard surface

Nail plates come in a HUGE variety, although not often found in many shops on the high street. Your best bet is going online and searching to get an idea of the type of designs you can get in the packs. There are so many brands and variants that I find reading the reviews a great help and they can often be the deciding factor, along with the choice of designs. Generally I use Cheeky, Gals and Monster Bundle. Konad nail plates tend to be on the more expensive side so I only have a couple.

I would recommend a Konad starter kit from amazon/ebay as it will give you everything that you need to learn and practice. I’ve seen them appear in pound shops and although it’s a great cheap alternative, I’m not sure how good they are. The nail plate engraving may not be high enough quality or the stamping varnish (if provided) may not remove as it should from the plate. I’ve now got one to try out so I’ll be writing up a review soon.

Learning to stamp can be fiddly but once you’ve got the hang of it, it becomes a lot easier. No matter how experienced you are with them though you can still have problems if your nail plate is a dud or the polish you’re trying to use isn’t the right consistency. Environmental factors (heat) can also play a role in foiling attempts at the perfect stamp transfer.

The key to this process is speed. If you’re not quick then the varnish will dry in the plate and you will have to start over. The more you practice, the faster you get.

How To:

1. Take a square of cardboard to protect the surface. I line my tools up as shown in the picture.

2. Place a pad of cotton wool soaked in nail varnish remover directly next to the plate and tools so that as soon as you scrape, you can clean of the excess and grab the stamper.

3. Either put a line of varnish along the bottom of the stamp design on the plate, or fully cover the design in your chosen stamping varnish. It’s personal preference really but you waste less varnish if you just draw the one line and scrape up, but I like to be sure that it’s in all the gaps so I cover the whole thing.

4. Take the scraper, place it evenly along the base of the design and scrape away with even pressure towards the cotton wool. You can then drag the scraper into the cotton wool to clean it and lessen the chance of mess getting everywhere.

5. Grab the stamper and press directly down on the plate in the centre of the design with even pressure. You do not have to push hard the design with come off with light pressure.

6. There are three options when placing the stamp:

– Line up the stamp with the edge of your nail and roll from one side to another.
– Line up the top edge of the stamp with the top of your nail and carefully use a rolling motion down the nail to the cuticle.
– Or finally you can try to line up the central part of the nail with the design and stamp straight down.

I’ve found that rolling up from the cuticle to the tip often results in the stamp being wonky or out of place so I’d go for the other options, however, it really does depend on angle, personal preference and nail/cuticle shape.You do not need press hard onto your nail, if you’ve succeeded the stamp will come off with ease.

Speed is important here as if too long is taken on placing the stamp to the nail, it will dry and remain on the stamp.

7. Clean the excess from the stamper by rocking it in the cotton wool, then ‘screw’ it into the palm of your hand. I don’t know really why I do this but it seems to help remove excess acetone and help the next design to stick.

8. Make sure the design has had a chance to dry completely before finishing with a good top coat but be very careful with strong polishes or multiple strokes, they will drag and smudge the design.

9. Finally use the base side of the varnish remover soaked cotton to clean the plate and you’re ready to start the next nail!


 This image above is using the same stamping plate, but with silver polish instead of white (Star Gazer #232)

I hope this was helpful and made sense. It may not be the perfect way to do it but it works for me.

Ideally you should be using polish designed for stamping often called ‘special polish’ but you can get away with using thicker ‘normal’ polishes too. Finding out what works best is trial and error. Good luck!

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