Become a Nail Stamping Superstar using these Tips and Tricks
Ahh nail stamping. One of the quickest and most effective types of nail art there is, yet it is also the most frustrating and anger inducing one of them. I’m not exaggerating when I tell you that it took me several, several tries to finally get the hang of this gosh darn’d technique, but I am so glad that I persevered and finally mastered the art of nail stamping…if I do say so myself.
So if you would like to become a nail stamping superstar, keep on reading…
Things are more than likely going to get a little messy, so make sure you have a clear workspace with a mat or surface that you don’t mind getting polish on. I used my Beauty Big Bang silicone mat in the previous post, and you will probably keep spying it throughout the series. It is a super handy tool to have, and I would highly recommend any budding nail art enthusiast to invest in one. They don’t cost the Earth, perhaps about a tenner, and I’m sure that when I bought mine I got a free stamp head and scraper too. I also have a discount code for purchases through Beauty Big Bang which I will leave at the end of this post.
Step 1 - The Base
Step one will always be the base coat. Not only can it prevent any staining to the nail plate and prolong the wear of your manicure, it will create a nice and smooth canvas to work from - like applying a primer before foundation.
Nine times out of ten I will use my tried, tested and much loved Leighton Denny One for All polish. This can be used as a base coat, top coat, treatment and perfect for making decals (more of this further into the series…).
When applying your base coat, remember to wrap it over the nail tip - as we learnt in the last post, this will help to prolong your manicure also.
Step 2 - Add Some Colour
Before getting ready to stamp, it’s important to choose your colours wisely. You need to think about what colour you are going to be stamping with, and what colour it will show up best over.
For example, if you decide to stamp with a black polish, it’s going to show up more over a lighter base. Similarly, if you are stamping with a white polish, in most cases it’s going to look more effective over a darker base.
I want to show you examples using both a black polish and a white in today’s post, so I’ve chosen the most neutral, softest, lightest polish going as my base colour - and it just happens to be one of my favourite colours too. It is Marshmallow by Cienna Rose.
Once your base coat is dry, apply the first coat of your chosen base colour, wrapping the nail tips as you go. Allow to dry and apply another. Even though you are going to be stamping over the top of this, it’s nice to have a full and even canvas to create an overall smooth and polished design.
To help speed up the process, here is where I add a cheeky layer of fast drying top coat.
I still let the colour dry by itself for a little while first, but to prevent any damage when pressing the stamp head over it, I like to give it a nice firm cover. My choice for today is by Glisten and Glow, but another that I highly recommend is by Seche Vite.
Wait a little while now and let your nails dry properly.
Once you are happy that they are ready for the next step, you can gather your stamping equipment. You will need nail polish remover, cotton rounds, a stamping plate, a scraper, a stamper, and a stamping polish. As you venture further into your nail stamping journey, you will soon discover regular nail polishes that might work when stamping too - however, if you are new to this I recommend picking up an actual stamping polish to help the process along with minimal stress until you get a bit more confident with the technique.
You can pick stamping polishes up from most nail polish websites - Beauty Big Bang, Born Pretty Store, Nail Artisan by Alex etc.. along with the rest of your stamping accessories. The polishes that I’m going to be using today are by Born Pretty.
TOP TIP: The stamper that I’m using is by Beauty Big Bang and is probably the one that I would recommend to anybody starting out, I like to use a clear stamper to make placement on the nail nice and easy. It also didn’t need any prepping, some stampers may require a bit of light buffing over first or a quick wipe over with acetone if they don’t seem to be picking up images fully or at all. It’s important to do this light handedly though to prevent any tearing to the silicone head.
Step 3 - Time to Stamp
OK, let’s give this a go. Don’t be disheartened if it doesn’t go perfectly at first, practise is definitely key here, the more you try the better you will get. I always tell people that if I can do it - anybody can! Don’t give up, it will be worth it I promise.
Firstly, place your stamping plate in front of you on a mat or surface that you don’t mind getting polish on. Make sure your scraper is handy along with some polish remover and cotton rounds.
TOP TIP: It’s important to work as fast as possible whilst stamping. If the polish begins to dry it won’t pick up properly onto your stamper or transfer fully onto the nail.
Grab your stamping polish and apply a generous amount over the edge of the design you wish to use. I’m using the Beauty Big Bang XL - 022 plate.
Now use your scraper and firmly swipe the polish over the whole image, this removes any excess.
Next, firmly but not too heavy handedly roll the stamper from the top to bottom of the image. The design should now be on the stamp head ready to transfer onto the nail.
TOP TIP: I find that rolling the stamper over the image rather than pressing and lifting has a higher chance of a flawless image pick up. Same goes for when transferring the image onto the nail. Roll not press!
Still working as quickly as possible, use the clear stamper to help you place the picked up design onto the nail. I like to work from cuticle to the nail tip - gently roll that design on, making sure that every part of the nail has been covered. Don't worry about any mess on the fingers, that can be cleaned up later.
Repeat this process over each nail you wish to have a design on. You could go the whole nine yards and do every nail, you could even just do one or two accent nails. Get creative, make the design your own.
Top Tip: If you do decide to stamp over more than one nail, make sure you clean the scraper, plate and stamper between each use for optimal results. I use acetone and a cotton round for the plate and scraper, and a lint roller for the stamper (you know, the ones you use to gets bits off your clothes). If I can get away with not using acetone on the silicone head I will, this will hopefully mean that it’ll stay in good shape for longer.
Above shows nail stamping with both black and white polishes, this was just to give you an idea of what each option looks like.
Step 4 - The Clean Up
As I mentioned in the previous post, you can buy liquid latex cuticle barriers or peel off jackets. If you were to use these you would ideally make this your very first step.
I actually find using these peel off methods fiddly, and prefer to use a brush and acetone.
As there is quite a bit of clean up required here, I tend to use a cotton bud for the outer most mess, then switch to a brush for closer to the cuticles.
You can find the bottle of pure acetone on Amazon, and the brush I bought from Beauty Big Bang.
Step 5 - Seal it all in and Moisturise
When you are happy with the clean up, and once the stamping has had a little time to dry, you can seal the deal by adding the same top coat as before. Be careful not to add too much pressure as you swipe the brush across the nail as this may drag the design slightly, especially if you haven’t given it enough time to dry. For the final time for this manicure, wrap the topcoat around the nail tips whilst you apply.
Once dry, you can go ahead and pop on a cuticle oil or cream - I enjoy using The Elixir by Cienna Rose.
TOP TIP: If you struggle to keep a manicure on the nails, if you find that the polish peels off easier than it should, you could try using a cuticle cream rather than oil. Some people have naturally oily nails which does affect the longevity of wear.
Let’s take a look at the finished result..
What do you think? Are you ready to give it a go? Did you find the tips and step by step useful?
It may take a few tries before you’re satisfied with your new found stamping skills, but once you nail it there will be no stopping you! You will be a nail stamping superstar in no time.
As promised here is the Beauty Big Bang discount code to save 10% off your shopping: LEANNE
In the next Nail Art Masterclass instalment I will be taking things a little further and diving into reverse stamping/decal making. Remember that I’m always open to suggestions, so if there is a topic you would like me to cover, please don’t hesitate to contact me, either by simply leaving a comment below, or by email - email@example.com
Thank you for reading,
Love, Leanne Xx