How To Do Acrylic Nails At Home? Safe And Complete Guide For You

If you’re a fan of perfectly polished nails, you’ve probably considered trying acrylics. These long-lasting, durable nails can be a great choice for special occasions or just everyday wear. 

But if you’re new to acrylics, the process can seem daunting. That’s where this blog comes in! I’ll show you step-by-step how to do acrylic nails at home, so you can achieve a flawless, salon-quality look without breaking the bank.

To do your acrylic nails, start with cleaning and shaping your nails, then apply a primer and a base coat. Next, dip the brush into the acrylic powder, and apply it to your nails. Finally, file and buff your nails, and apply a top coat to seal in color.

I’ve been doing my own acrylics for years, and I’ve learned a lot along the way. From choosing the right products to perfecting my technique and had pretty great successes!

Through trial and error, I’ve figured out what works and what doesn’t, and I’m excited to share my tips and tricks with you.

In this blog, I’ll cover everything you need to know for putting on acrylic nails. I’ll start with the basics, including what supplies you’ll need and how to prepare your nails. 

Then, I’ll walk you through the application process, from shaping and priming to sculpting and filing. Finally, I’ll share some tips for maintenance and removal, so you can keep your acrylics looking great for weeks to come. So, let’s get started!

How To Do Acrylic Nails Step By Step? For Beginners

To put on your acrylic nails, you will need essential supplies. Although you can buy an acrylic nail kit that consists of all these products and tools, it is still crucial to know the use of each substance and equipment if it’s your first time. 

What do you need to do with acrylic nails? Here is a list below:

  • Acrylic Nail Tips

Acrylic nail tips are available in various shapes and sizes. They are attached to the natural nails with the help of nail glue to create the desired nail shape and length. However, you can do acrylic nails without these tips too.

  • Acrylic Nail Powder

Acrylic powder is a mixture of polymer and monomer, which is used to create the acrylic nail overlay. The powder is usually available in clear, pink, or white colors.

  • Liquid Monomer

Liquid monomer is a vital component of the acrylic nail system. It is used to mix with acrylic powder to produce a thick paste that is applied to the nail bed. There are many substitutes for acrylic liquid monomer if you want to try it.

  • Nail Forms

Nail forms are used to shape acrylic nails. These forms are typically placed under the nail tips to help guide the shaping process.

  • Nail Primer

Nail primer is used to prepare the natural nail bed for acrylic application. It helps to remove any natural oils and prepares the nail bed to receive the acrylic.

  • Nail Brush

A nail brush is used to apply the acrylic mixture onto the nail bed. It can also be used to shape and smooth acrylic. Some people also use paintbrushes for acrylic nails.

  • Nail File

A nail file is used to shape and smooth the acrylic after it has been applied to the nail bed. A coarse-grit file is used to shape the nails, while a fine-grit file is used to smooth them.

  • Cuticle Oil

Cuticle oil is used to moisturise and soften the cuticles after the acrylic nails have been applied.

  • Nail Glue

Nail glue is used to attach the acrylic nail tips to the natural nails.

  • Dappen Dish

A dapper dish is used to hold the liquid monomer during the acrylic nail application process.

  • UV Lamp

A UV lamp is used to cure and dry the acrylic nails after they have been applied.

  • Nail Polish

Nail polish is an optional supply that can be used to add color or design to acrylic nails. I’ve seen women using acrylic paint for nails and tried it myself as well.

Phase 1: Preparing Nails 

Before applying acrylic nails, it is essential to prepare the natural nails properly. It ensures that the acrylic nails adhere well to the natural nails, creating a long-lasting and durable finish. Here is how to prepare the nails for acrylic application:

Step 1: Clean Your Nails

Start by removing any existing nail polish and debris from the nails. Use a non-acetone nail polish remover to remove any polish. Then, wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water to remove any dirt and oil from the nails.

Step 2: Shape The Nails

Using a nail file, shape the nails to the desired length and shape. Be careful not to file the nails too much, as this can weaken them and cause breakage.

Step 3: Push Back The Cuticles

Use a cuticle pusher to gently push back the cuticles. Avoid cutting or trimming the cuticles, as this can lead to infection.

Step 4: Buff The Nails

Use a nail buffer to gently buff the surface of the nails. This helps to remove any oils and create a rough surface for the acrylic to adhere to.

Step 5: Apply Nail Primer

Using a brush, apply a thin layer of nail primer to the natural nails. This helps the acrylic to adhere to the nails better.


  • Cutting the cuticles can cause infection, so it is advised to push them back softly using a cuticle pusher.
  • Overfilling the nails can weaken them and cause cracks. File the nails to the desired length and shape, but do not overdo it.
  • Acetone can be harsh on the nails and skin, so it is recommended to use a non-acetone nail polish remover to get rid of any polish.
  • When buffing the nails, use gentle pressure to avoid harming the natural nails.
  • When using nail primer or acrylic, ensure that the room is well-ventilated. Acrylic fumes can be harmful if inhaled, so it is best to work in a well-ventilated area.

Phase 2: Apply Acrylic Nail  

After preparing the natural nails, the next phase is to apply the acrylic nails. Here is a step-by-step guide to applying acrylic nails:

Step 1: Apply Nail Tips (Optional Step)

If you want longer nails, you can apply acrylic nail tips using nail glue. Apply a small amount of glue to the tip and place it onto the natural nail. Hold it in place for a few seconds until the glue dries.

Step 2: Pour Liquid Monomer Into a Dappen Dish

Pour a small amount of liquid monomer into a dapper dish. Dip the brush into the monomer and wipe off any excess on the edge of the dish.

Step 3: Dip The Brush Into Acrylic Powder

Now, dip the same brush into the acrylic powder and tap off any excess powder.

Step 4: Apply The Mixture To The Nails

Next, starting at the base of the nail, apply the acrylic mixture onto the nail bed. Use the brush to spread the mixture evenly and smoothly over the nail. 

One thing to consider while putting on artificial nails is choosing the best sized acrylic nail brush.

I really like the pink and white combination for my acrylic nails, and if you want to know and learn about this, it’s really simple. I’ve overviewed it below.

Basic Pink And White Acrylic Nails (Overview)
Pink and white acrylic nails are a classic and elegant look that is perfect for any occasion. If you are looking to try your hand at creating this beautiful nail art, here is an overview.

To start building your pink and white acrylic nails. Dip your nail brush into the acrylic liquid and then into the white powder.

Apply the white acrylic to the tips of your nails, blending it seamlessly into the natural color of your nails. This is the most crucial part of the process, so take your time and ensure that the white acrylic is smooth and even.

Once the white acrylic has dried, repeat the process with the pink acrylic powder, applying it to the base of your nails and blending it into the white. You can create a French manicure look by applying the pink acrylic in a curved shape, leaving the tips white.


  • The acrylic mixture dries fast, so it is important to work quickly and efficiently.
  • Try to avoid getting the acrylic mixture on the skin, as this can cause irritation.
  • Biting or picking at the nails can damage the acrylic and skin around the nail, especially the cuticle.

Phase 3: Shaping Your New Acrylic Nails

Once you have applied for your new nail extensions, it is time to give them a proper look, so there’s a need to reshape them. Here is how to shape acrylic tips after they have been applied:

Step 1: File The Nails

Use a nail file to shape the tips to the desired length and shape. Start by filing the sides of the nail tip to create the required width and shape. 

File the tips straight across, or create a more rounded or pointed shape, depending on your preference. Read acrylic nail shape ideas below.

Step 2: Buff The Nails

After shaping the tips, use a buffer to smooth the surface of the acrylic. Buff the nails in a back-and-forth motion using a light touch. The buffer will remove any rough edges left from filing and create a smooth surface.

Step 3: Fine Grit Filing

Next, use a finer grit file to further smooth the surface of the nails. This will remove any remaining imperfections and create a polished finish.

Acrylic Nail Shape Ideas

If you’re new and really don’t know how you can shape your nails, I gonna give you an overview of giving a unique and creative look to your nails. Here are some ideas.

(If you’re not interested to learn nail shaping, you can skip this section and read nail polishing.)

  • Square

This shape is characterised by straight sides and a flat top. It’s a classic look that’s easy to maintain and works well for those who prefer a simple, understated style.

  • Oval

This shape has a rounded tip and slightly tapered sides. It’s a more feminine look that can make fingers appear longer and more slender.

  • Almond

This shape is similar to the oval but with a more pronounced taper at the tip, creating a shape reminiscent of almond. It’s a popular choice for those who want a more dramatic look.

  • Stiletto

This shape features a pointed tip that’s elongated and narrow. It’s a bold, edgy look that’s popular among trendsetters.

  • Coffin/Ballerina

This shape is similar to the stiletto but with a squared-off tip. It’s a modern and fashionable look that’s often seen in celebrities and influencers.

  • Round

This shape features curved sides and a rounded tip. It’s a softer, more natural look that’s easy to wear and maintain.

  • Flare

This shape is a combination of the square and stiletto, with straight sides that flare out at the tip. It’s a unique and eye-catching look that’s great for special occasions.

In Short:  The best acrylic nail shape is the one that makes you feel confident and beautiful. Experiment with different shapes to find the one that works best for you.

Phase 4: Nail Polishing 

Your whole effort is dry without coloring your acrylic nails. It can add a pop of color or a touch of glamour to your new nails. Additionally, it also helps to protect the acrylic from chipping or breaking.

Moreover, nail polish can make acrylic nails look more natural by covering any imperfections or bumps.

Please Note: When selecting nail polish for acrylic nails, it is crucial to select a formula that is compatible with the acrylic material. Some nail polish formulas can cause acrylic nail lifting or break down, so I advise you to choose a high-quality, long-lasting polish that will not hurt the nails.

Here is how to do coloured acrylic nails and apply nail polish to newly applied fake nails:

Step 1: Clean Your Nails

Before applying nail polish, make sure the acrylic nails are completely dry and free of any dust or debris.

Step 2: Apply a Base Coat

Apply a clear base coat to the nails. This will help the nail polish adhere to the nails better and prevent any staining.

Step 3: Apply The Polish

Apply a thin layer of nail polish to the nails. Start at the base of the nail and paint towards the tip in smooth, even strokes. Make sure to cover the entire nail, but avoid getting the polish on the skin.

Step 4: Leave For Drying

Allow the first coat of nail polish to dry completely. Depending on the brand and type of nail polish, this can take anywhere from a few to several minutes.

Step 5: Second Coat

Once the first coat is completely dry, apply a second thin layer of nail polish. This will help ensure that the color is even and opaque. For the second coat, you can go for the same or different colors as desired. You also create designs.

Allow the second coat of nail polish to dry completely. Again, this can take anywhere from a few minutes to several minutes.

Step 6: Top Coating

Apply a clear top coat to the nails. This will assist in protecting the nail polish and give the nails a glossy finish.

Allow the top coat to dry completely. This is usually the longest drying time of all the coats.

That’s it! Your newly applied acrylic nails are now polished and ready to show off.

How To Do Acrylic Nails Without Monomer?

If you’re hesitant to use traditional acrylic nail products that contain monomers due to safety concerns or sensitivities, there are alternative methods for doing your nails without using monomers.

Here’s how to do acrylic nails without monomers:

  1. Before starting, make sure your nails are clean, dry, and free of any polish or oils. File your nails to your desired shape and length, and gently buff the surface of your nails to create a rough texture.
  1. Apply a base coat of clear nail polish or a bonding agent to help the acrylic adhere to your nails.
  1. Instead of using traditional acrylic liquid and powder, mix equal parts of acrylic powder and nail glue in a small container. Mix thoroughly until a smooth, paste-like consistency is achieved.
  1. Using a small brush, apply the acrylic mixture to your nails, starting at the base and working your way to the tip. Be sure to apply a thin coating of the mixture, as this will help prevent air bubbles and ensure a smooth finish. Repeat this step until you achieve your desired thickness and shape.
  1. Allow the acrylic mixture to dry completely, which should take approximately 5-10 minutes.
  1. Once the acrylic has dried, use a nail file to give a specific shape and smooth the surface of your nails. I recommend you file in one direction to prevent damage to the nail.
  1. Apply a topcoat of clear nail polish to seal and protect your acrylic nails.

What is the healthiest way to get acrylic nails?

Getting acrylic nails can have some risks and potential damage to your natural nails. However, there are some steps you can take to minimize the damage and ensure a healthier experience:

  • Make sure the salon you choose follows good hygiene practices and uses high-quality products.
  • Longer acrylic nails are more likely to cause damage and breakage, so it’s best to choose a shorter length.
  • Choose high-quality acrylic powder and liquid monomer for your nails.
  • Allow your nails to breathe and recover by taking breaks between applications.
  • Wear gloves when cleaning or doing dishes to avoid exposing your nails to harsh chemicals.


What is the easiest way to do acrylic nails?

The easiest way to do acrylic nails is to use a pre-made acrylic nail kit that includes all the necessary materials and instructions. The kit should typically include acrylic powder, liquid monomer, a nail file, and nail tips. You can follow the instructions provided in the kit to apply the acrylic nails. 

Can I teach myself to do acrylic nails?

Yes, you can teach yourself to do acrylic nails with some practice and patience. There are plenty of resources available online, including tutorials and step-by-step guides, that can help you learn the technique. I advise you to start with the basics and practice on fake nails or on a willing friend or family member before attempting to do your own acrylic nails. 

How do acrylic nails without tips?

It is possible to do acrylic nails without tips using a technique called “forms.” Forms are a type of adhesive paper or plastic that is applied to the natural nail to create a mold for the acrylic to adhere to. 

What is acrylic vs gel nails?

Acrylic and gel nails are both types of artificial nails that are applied over the natural nail to add length and strength. Acrylic nails are made by combining a liquid monomer with a powdered polymer to create a paste that is applied to the nails and hardens when exposed to air. Gel nails, on the other hand, are made by applying a gel-like substance to the nails that are cured under a UV or LED lamp.

Is it safe to do acrylic nails at home?

While it’s possible to do acrylic nails at home, it’s essential to follow proper safety procedures to minimize the risk of infection or damage to your natural nails.


In short, learning how to do acrylic nails is a skill that can be mastered with practice, patience and a bit of creativity.

By following the procedure outlined above, you can achieve professional-looking acrylic nails that are sure to impress. Never forget to take the necessary precautions, such as using a well-ventilated area and wearing protective gear, to ensure your safety. 

With time and experience, you’ll be able to experiment with different nail designs and techniques, allowing you to create unique and stunning acrylic nails that showcase your individual style.

Thank You!

Marissa Arnold

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