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Want to Know How to Apply Nail Decals? Help is Here

How to Apply Nail Decals
Applying nail polish and manicures are two ways to spruce up your fingernails. But using nail art decals or stickers are also useful for decorating nails, especially for different and unique looks. Read on to learn how to use decals on your nails.
NailArtMag Staff
Last Updated: Feb 23, 2018
In the world of decorating and design, temporary art is as important as permanent designs. For example, tattoos are a permanent and rather painful way to get one's skin designed. And you cannot get rid of the design easily nor can you alter it easily. So what if you want a tattoo, just not a permanent one? You could try tattoo stickers or decals, where tattoos are imprinted as stickers, so you slide them off the backing paper and fix them on your skin. They are temporary in effect, you can remove them and experiment with various patterns as you like.

Decals are also used by government agencies to mark official vehicles such as police cars and fire engines. You can use a reflective decal on a helmet for better road safety or use decorative decals to personalize just about any solid surface, such as guitars, laptops, walls, cell phones and even your skin and nails. While tattoos are just one form of skin-related decals, you can even use decals or stickers for decorating your fingernails. With nail decals, you can bling up your nails with rhinestones and diamonds or use complex patterns like flowers and batik prints, that are normally too complicated to paint on.

How to Apply Water Based Nail Art Decals

Water based or water slide nail decals are readymade nail art designs that will stick on your nails, once their backing paper is removed with a bit of water. These decals need to be moved into place and will not stick immediately.
  1. First apply nail polish on your nails. Nail art stickers do not stick well to natural unpolished nails. This rule applies to acrylic or gel fake nails as well.
  2. If you want the decal to be on a naked uncoated nail, then use nail varnish instead of nail polish to paint your nails.
  3. Apply one coat of varnish or polish and let your nails dry completely.
  4. Onto to the decals. Cut around the design or pattern as close to it as possible but leave a little border of the backing paper.
  5. Now soak this cut pattern in a bowl of water. Do not soak the cut-out decals for too long in water, as the backing paper could come off while being soaked.
  6. Alternately you can turn the design over, such that its backing is facing you. Use a cotton bud soaked in water and dab the backing.
  7. Wait for a few seconds, then using tweezers, hold the pattern and slide the backing off.
  8. Fix the pattern onto your nail. While it's still wet, you can maneuver and arrange the pattern as you wish.
  9. Once you have decided on its location, press the pattern down firmly to fix it in place.
  10. Use small cloth or tissue to blot out excess water.
  11. If you wish to apply more decals to that nail, do so in a similar manner.
  12. Most nail decal kits come with a top coat or sealer, you can also use clear nail polish.
  13. Once the design has dried and you have completed decorating that nail, apply 2 layers of top coat. This will seal the decal in place, so it will not come off. Let your nails dry.
If you want to preserve the decal art on your nail, try recoating it with clear nail polish or top coat polish, after 1 week of use. Water nail art decals last for approximately 2-3 weeks.

How to Use Rub-on Nail Decals

Non water-based decals are stickers either with an acrylic or silicone backing. They can be easily slid off but once affixed, they cannot be moved.
  1. Paint your nails with 1 coat of nail varnish or nail base. Let your nails dry.
  2. Paint one nail with nail polish color of your choice. Let this nail dry.
  3. Use tweezers to lift off the design from the backing sheet. If the design is large and needs to be draped on your nail, then cut out the design and then peel the backing paper off.
  4. Place the design on your nail, move it on your nail and then use a cotton bud to firmly press it down.
  5. Rub the cotton bud or use your finger to press the entire design on your nail. If it is a large design, press from the center of design towards edges, so that no air bubbles are formed.
  6. Coat the nail with top coat polish and seal the decal in place. Let your nail dry completely.
Along with knowing how to apply nail decals, one must know how to remove them as well. You can use nail polish remover or acetone to remove nail decals. Do not try to scratch off the decal. Those with latex allergies, should avoid using nail decals, as these products contain latex and can cause an allergic reaction.
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