Learn How To Reverse Stamp and Create Your Own Decals

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In the last masterclass we learnt about the stamping technique as well as some of my top tips and tricks for the method. Today I thought we could take things a little further, and look into reverse stamping and creating your very own decals.

Nail stamping is a super quick and easy way to give your manicure a glow-up (once you know how!), but the images you’re transferring onto the nails might look more lively when coloured in. Now some super talented so and so’s might be able to neatly colour in after the image has been placed onto the nail, but unfortunately I’m not one of them. But that doesn’t mean that I can’t have a beautifully multicoloured design on my nails, keep on reading to see how…

Before getting started it might be easier to get your workspace set up, place a mat down and grab your supplies -

What You Will Need

  • Silicone Mat or something to protect your worktop from polish

  • Base Coat

  • A choice of colours

  • A black stamping polish

  • A stamper, scraper and your choice of stamping plate

  • Small detailed nail art brushes or small dotting tools

  • Cleanup nail brush

  • Acetone or nail polish remover

  • Cotton rounds

  • Topcoat

  • Cuticle oil and hand cream

Base Coat

Step 1 - The Base

Here we are again! Whatever your favourite base coat is, pop a layer on and allow to dry. Of course I’m using the Leighton Denny One For All polish. We should be able to breeze on past this step this far into the series, but if you would like to learn more about why using a base coat is important, please take a quick look at my previous instalments.

Step 2 - Add Some Colour

Just like when you are doing a ‘simple stamped’ design, it’s important to choose your colours wisely. When reverse stamping I have a tendency to pick a light base colour, maybe even just white, this will make the polishes you use to colour in really pop and stand out.

That doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice on colour though, what I usually do is paint my thumb, pointer and pinky fingers one colour, then the lighter/white base colour on the middle two. However you can switch it up if you would prefer to stamp on different nails, this is just my own default method.

Once you’ve chosen your colours, apply two coats of each allowing each to dry. Remember to wrap the tips for a longer lasting manicure. For todays look I’m using the new Barry M Molten Metal shades Fuchsia Kiss and Ice Queen.

Add some colour

Step 3 - Pick up your Chosen Image onto the Stamper

Here is where we start to get a bit technical! More times than not when reverse stamping, I like to pick up my chosen image with a black stamping polish. I find that it gives a much more bold, finished look.

I swap out my trusty clear stamper seen in the last post for a regular one, this makes the colouring in process easier for me because now I have an opaque canvas.

As I did in step 1, I shall breeze past this step to keep the post from being too long, but if you would like to see my top tips and tricks for picking an image up with your stamper please click here.

Stamped image

Step 4 - Time to Colour in

Now that we have an image sat waiting on the stamp head to be brought to life, it’s time to get colouring in using a small detailed nail brush or dotting tool. Instead of working straight from the bottle, pour a little of your polish onto the mat/surface and work from there.

I am only using one colour , but if you are going to be using more, remember to clean your detail brush/dotting tool before moving onto another colour.

Think about leaving some room for your base colour to peek through, for example, I’m only adding colour to every other heart in this design, meaning that the finished nail will have a mix of white, pink and black.

When you are happy with how it all looks, leave it to dry a little.

Reverse Stamping
Reverse Stamping

Once the image has dried a little, use a clear coat and paint over the whole of it, and allow to dry fully. Again I’m using the Leighton Denny One For All polish, it is the best polish for this method in my opinion.

TOP TIP: Use a clear polish or a thin, non-fast drying topcoat. Using a thinner polish will create a more flexible decal, making it easier to place whilst also disguising any edges when transferring onto the nail and sealing in with a final topcoat.

You now have a design that can be transferred straight onto the nail, or carefully peeled off and placed on clear backing paper (or something similar) to be used as a decal at a later date.

Reverse Stamping
Reverse Stamping

Here is where I need to fess up, and share that I completely messed up the design I originally intended to create. But that’s OK, mistakes happen, and sometimes its best to just go with the flow. If you make a mistake, take a deep breath, keep what can be saved and remove the rest.

For example, I was going to use the same image on both middle fingers, however I misplaced one of the images onto one of the nails and because I hadn’t let it dry down enough (someone needs to follow their own advice aha!), it stuck in places and tore when I attempted to remove it.

So what to do now?

All I did was completely remove all polish from that nail, and started over. Only this time I chose to use a different image from the same plate I was using, the Born Pretty BP-11 plate, and to be honest, I actually prefer it this way!

Step 5 - Clean up, Seal in and Moisturise

Maybe your decal is a little larger than your nail? Maybe you got a little polish onto a cuticle or two earlier? Now’s the time to get your cleanup brush and acetone/polish remover and have a quick tidy up.

Cleanup Brush

Once happy, seal in your posh new manicure with a topcoat, as always I love to use either my Seche Vite or Glisten and Glow, then allow to dry.

Pop on a cuticle oil or cream and moisturise the hands. I’m still working my way through Cienna Rose’s The Elixir, and have also been trying out the Filorga Hand-Absolute Cream.

Here’s the end result -

What do you think? Are you ready to give this method of nail art a go?

I love the end result, it looks like you’ve spent much longer creating the look than you actually have, and people always comment on them too.

Hopefully you have found this post helpful, I’m thinking for the next instalment I could dive into a bit of watermarbling, would that be of interest to you? Leave a comment below and let me know, if you have any other suggestions they are welcome also!

Thank you for reading,

Love, Leanne Xx