Can You Paint Acrylic Nails?

Image of acrylic nails but Can You Paint Acrylic Nails?In the world of manicures, acrylic nails stand out as well-beloved and ubiquitous for a reason. Their versatility allows for extraordinary flexibility in shape, size, and application method, not to mention durability. Nevertheless, all these amazing features would prove almost worthless if you could not paint acrylic nails. So, this article focuses on the question, can you paint acrylic nails?

Yes, you can paint acrylic nails!  The feature that secures acrylic nails at the top of the manicure procedures is its easy acceptance of different kinds of paint. You can paint acrylic nails with nail polish, acrylic paints, and even gel polish, with all of them yielding excellent results.

However, to achieve the best results with these products, you will have to follow the right preparation and application procedure for each of them. This article focuses on the various products you can use to paint acrylic nails and the best way to use them for maximum reward.

Can You Put Regular Nail Polish On Acrylics?

Yes, you can! Acrylic nails have almost endless possibilities when it comes to decorating. Regular nail polish works just fine on acrylic nails as long as you apply it correctly. The acrylic’s strong bond with the regular polish makes your manicure much stronger, making it unnecessary to use thicker nail paints.

Can You Paint Acrylic Nails With Normal Nail Polish

Yes, you can. While most people tend to avoid using regular nail polish as it wears off much faster, it is different when regular nail polish is applied to acrylic nails. There are solvents in the nail polish that slightly meltdown the acrylics, bonding well with nail polish.

This process makes the normally less durable nail polish last much longer. While nail polish would normally only adhere to your natural nail, it forms a bond with the acrylic base that increases its life span.

Can You Paint Acrylic Nails With Gel Polish

Yes, you can! Gel polish is composed of oligomers and an acrylic monomer that bond when placed under a UV light- a curing process. In applying gel polish over acrylic nails, you can have nail art lasting as many as six weeks with only a few appointments needed for minor maintenances.

How Do You Paint Acrylic Nails With Gel Polish?

So, exactly how do you apply gel polish over acrylic nails? Below is a comprehensive step-by-step procedure on how to paint acrylic nails with gel polish.

Step 1: Remove any old polish

If your acrylic is freshly applied, then this is a step you can easily skip. However, if you have already colored the nail and are now looking to change the nail color, you will need to remove any lingering polish. You can do this by using a nail polish remover. It is important to note that removers with acetone may degrade acrylic nails.

While acetone nail removers will not have any effects if used for a quick wipe, you can choose to stay away from them altogether. You can instead use a non-acetone remover and wipe until all the polish is removed. 

Step 2: Clean your nails

Cleaning your nails will ensure no residue is left that will prevent your gel polish from adhering to the nail surface. If you have any debris on your nail, the gel will adhere to that instead, which is the recipe for a manicure that lasts for a shorter time.

It would be prudent to avoid harsh chemicals that might react with your acrylic nails when cleaning the nail. To be extra careful, you could use lint-free baby wipes or choose to wash your hands with extra care.

Apart from cleaning your nails, it is also important that you make sure the nail is completely dry, as having any trapped moisture could lead to an infection.

Step 3: Apply an acrylic-friendly base coat.

An acrylic-friendly base coat is an excellent way to ensure that you will not accidentally stain your acrylic nails. The steps that follow are the same you would use when applying gel polish to the natural nail. A base coat is important in ensuring that the gel polish will adhere well to the surface and be durable.

Apply a thin coat over the nails, and then cure under a UV light to dry it for about 30 seconds. You can also use an LED lamp, although that will take a longer time t0 cure. To ensure that your gel polish does not lift from the nail’s edge, make sure to cap the nails’ free edges.

Step 4: Apply gel polish.

Before applying any gel polish, make sure that you shake the formula properly to encourage full mixing. You can then start applying the color to your nails. Apply the gel polish in thin coats that move from as close to the cuticle as possible to the nail edges.

Do this carefully to avoid any gel polish straying onto your skin. Not to worry, however, if it does stray. Wipe off the polish before it cures and becomes harder to remove.

We recommend at least two coats of color, although you can apply more if you want a more opaque look. Make sure to cure the polish between coats under a UV lamp for about 30 seconds each.

Step 5: Apply the topcoat. 

The topcoat is applied to seal in color and give your nails the characteristic shine of gel polish. When applying the topcoat, you must be just as careful as with the other coats and cap the free edges to have a perfect seal. Cure the top coat as well under a UV lamp and ensure that they are perfectly dried.

If your gel polish has left behind a tacky residue (as sometimes happens), you can take care of this by wiping off the surface with a cotton ball that you have dipped in alcohol, and your nails are all done. 

After applying the gel polish, it is also important that you maintain proper nail care to ensure it is as durable as possible while still looking good.

Can You Paint Acrylic Nails Yourself

Whether you want to reduce your beauty spending or don’t have the time to head into a salon, you can learn how to do your acrylic nails professionally at home. However, you must use the right technique and products to avoid damaging your nails. Fortunately, you can learn and master this skin easily. 

So, how do you paint your acrylic nails yourself?

Step 1: Purchase the necessary supplies

if this is the first time doing your nails, consider investing in an acrylic nail kit. Buying a full kit will help you get everything you need to start quickly and have instructions on using everything properly. When buying a kit, ensure that you carefully read the instructions so that you do not get products that have methyl methacrylate (MMA). It is a tough and inflexible substance that is too hard for your natural nail.

Once you get into the process, you may feel that you need more control over the supplies you get, in which case, buying the materials, not in a kit, will suit you more. These are some of the supplies you will need to get if you go this route.

  • Nail clippers and a coarse nail file
  • Acrylic nail tips and nail tip glue
  • Acrylic powder 
  • Acrylic nail primer
  • Acrylic nail monomer
  • A brush and bowl for mixing

Step 2: Prep your nails

You should always apply acrylic to clean nails, so the first step should be to remove any old nail polish. Use an oil-free, acetone-based polish remover to do this. If you are already wearing acrylic nails, do not try peeling them off, as this can damage your nails. Instead, soak them in pure acetone to remove them.

After removing any polish or acrylic nails, you can then go ahead to trim down the nails to a short, manageable length and buff the nail surface with a soft nail file so that the surface of your nails becomes rougher. Then soak your fingers for a few minutes to get the cuticles wet and pliable and push them back. You can also apply nail primer to remove any remaining oils and get your nails ready to adhere to the acrylic.

Step 3: Apply the nail tips.

Depending on the nail kit you buy, you will likely have a large variety of nail shapes and sizes to choose from. Before attaching any nails, you can make your work easier by selecting the right-sized nail tips for all nails and setting them aside.

The tips used for acrylic application will usually have a 2-3mm indent inside that should fit well to the free edge of the natural nail. Apply the nail tips one at a time using the nail glue, apply pressure to the nail for a few seconds to ensure full adherence, then move on and do the same to the other nails.

After attaching all the nails, use a pair of nail clippers and a file to shape the nails to the desired shape. If the line where the tip is applied is especially noticeable, you can buff it down to create a seamless blend.

Step 4: Paint the acrylic nails

Pour the acrylic monomer into an acrylic dish and the powder in a separate dish. When working with acrylics, you must work in a well-ventilated area as it is a strong chemical that can give off toxic fumes. 

Start by dipping your brush into the acrylic liquid, ensuring no bubbles form, and brush it against the bowl’s side to remove the excess liquid. You can then run your brush through the acrylic powder and collect a small moist ball at the end of the brush.

The ball of the acrylic mixture should be spreadable without being too wet and should stay on the brush. You may need a bit of practice before you find the best ratio of liquid to powder. Also, keep a paper towel handy in case you need to wipe off any excess moisture.

Some manicurists recommend that you split the nail into three portions (the apex, the free edge, and for your natural nail cuticles) and use a small bead for each. Use small strokes in the same direction to avoid lumps and achieve a gentle curve on your nail. 

Step 5: Finishing 

Allow the nail to dry entirely, and use a file to shape the nails to the length and shape you want. Then paint the nail surface with a clear coat of polish to create a smooth and even surface if you wish to do so.

If you do not want to use tips on your nails to get acrylic nails, you could also explore another option. You could try using nail forms to mold the acrylic nails into place. The nail forms temporarily hold the shape of the acrylic nail in place until it dries enough to support itself.

You can apply the beads of acrylic paint the same way you apply it on the nail tip, or you could decide to use two beads- one near your natural nail’s free edge, that is pushed down, and one near the cuticle.

Can You Paint Acrylic Nails With Normal Polish

Yes, you can. As mentioned above, nail polish is a great option for acrylic nails and will have increased durability due to its acrylic base. When buying nail polish for your acrylic nails, be sure to select high-quality, vetted, and approved nail polish.

Can You Paint Acrylic Nails With Shellac

Yes, you can. Shellac is a great choice when trying to improve nail strength and give a truly stunning finish. Shellac also adds strength and durability to your nail. It also works great to keep your manicures from chipping. One disadvantage of using shellac is that it is usually more costly than the other options.

Can You Paint Acrylic Nails Before Putting them On?

Of course, you can! Painting your nails after you put them on can be quite a challenge. This challenge is especially true when you are trying to paint your dominant hand using your non-dominant hand. You are likely to stray from the nails and smudge your hands or paint unevenly, leaving an unsightly mess. Fortunately, that is a problem you can resolve easily by painting the acrylic nails before you put them on. After painting them, all you will need is to attach them.

How Do You Paint Acrylic Nails Before Putting them On?

If you choose to paint the nails before application, follow the instructions below for a smooth, seamless procedure.

Step 1: Prepare the nails.

Before you paint the nails, you will need to have the ones you plan to have for each finger laid out. Try on several sizes to determine which one fits best for each fingernail. After finding the right sizes, lay them out in the order that you plan to apply to prevent mixing. Some nails you buy will come in sizes, and you can choose to save the sizes you use for ease in selecting nail sizes in the future.

You can also choose to file and cut the nail to better shape it to the shape and length that you want.

Step 2: Secure the nails

Ensuring that the nail is held securely while you paint is crucial to achieving an even coat of paint.

You can secure the nails by attaching a thin strip of paint to the back of each nail. For the tape, roll it into a tube with the sticky side facing outwards before attaching it to the nail. You could also choose to use a tiny piece of adhesive tack here instead of tape.

After attaching the tape, stick a cotton bud to the tape attached to the nail. If you have chosen to use tack, you can replace the cotton bud with a toothpick that you have pressed into the tack.

Step 3: Paint the nails

After attaching each nail to a cotton bud, it is now time to paint the nail surface. Hold up the cotton buds with your non-dominant hand one at a time and paint the nail surfaces with the color you choose. After painting the nails, set them aside on a flat surface to dry.

You can then apply other coats of color if you are going for an opaquer look, allowing the paint to dry between coats. After applying the final coat, you can add a layer of top coat to seal the polish and let the nails dry.

With the nails completely dry, you can use some nail glue to attach them to your fingernails.

Can You Paint Acrylic Nails With Acrylic Paint

Yes, you can! Acrylic paint is a great substitute for nail polish, and it offers several advantages. It is an excellent color if you are looking for vibrant color to apply to your nails. It dries rather fast, which makes it a great choice for when you are in a hurry, and it can also prove to be very affordable. However, here are some guidelines to follow to ensure that you get the best out of your acrylic paint.

  • Choose the acrylic paint carefully. Ensure that the paint is not toxic and is safe to apply to your nails and your skin in case of any accidents.
  • Always apply a base coat on the nails for good adherence and eliminate any chance of staining your nails.

So, how do you paint acrylic nails with acrylic paint?

  • First, as with any polish, ensure that your nails are clean and dry. You can wipe them down with a non-acetone remover to make sure or wash your hands thoroughly.
  • Put on the base coat and let it dry.
  • Apply at least two coats of acrylic paint, letting the coats dry before application.
  • Add some nail art if you want to do so
  • Apply the top coat to seal the paint.

How to Take Gel Polish off Acrylic Nails?

As much as you like your gel polish, it is bound to start wearing out, or you may want a different look. You can change your nail’s look by only removing the gel polish and preserving the acrylic nail.

One vital piece of information on removing gel polish is that you must never bite or peel off the polish as tempting as it may seem. Doing this can damage the acrylic layer underneath, leaving an uneven surface for polish re-application. Picking can also lead to natural nail damage in the worst-case scenario, leaving your nails weak and brittle.

Instead of damaging your nails with short-term disaster-ridden methods, below are some excellent ways you can safely remove the gel polish from your acrylic nails.

Method 1: Filing

Filing is arguable the best method to remove gel polish from your acrylic nails. You can do this using a file or a power drill. If using the file, you can start with a 100-grit file to remove most of the gel quickly while being careful not to remove the acrylics. Once you are almost to the acrylic base, switch to a finer-grit file and remove the remaining material.

Alternatively, you can use a nail drill for a faster, more efficient job. We recommend this method only if you are comfortable with handling the drill. Start by filing off the gel in one direction until it starts to come off. Move the drill around on the nail and focus on all areas until the polish is fully removed.

Method 2: The tin foil method

This method is similar to what you would experience at a salon visit. However, you will need to approach the removal process separately since you are dealing with acrylic nails. Acetone can easily degrade acrylic nails and is not recommended for this procedure. Instead, use a non-acetone-based polish remover.

First, use a nail file to buff the shiny surface from your nails. Then soak cotton balls in the remover until it is completely saturated and place it on the nail.

Wrap the finger with the cotton ball using tin foil to keep it in place. Leave the tin foil in place for 10 to 20 minutes, and when you remove it, you can easily wipe the gel polish using the soaked cotton balls. Be sure to be gentle with the acrylics after soaking to prevent damaging them.

Method 3: Using hot water 

You will also need to use a non-acetone nail polish remover and a double boiler for this method. You can also create a double boiler using two bowls, one of which should be larger than the other if you do not have one. To use this method, first, boil water and pour it into the larger bowl. Then pour a non-acetone-based polish remover into the second bowl. Soak your finger in the smaller bowl for approximately 10 minutes.

When you take your hands from the bowl, you should be able to easily scrape off the gel polish using a metal nail file without damaging the underlying acrylic.

What’s the Difference Between Nail Polish and Acrylic Paint?

As mentioned above, acrylic paint has several properties that make it a great option for painting nails. However, if you are having difficulty choosing between it and nail polish, below is a comparison between the two to help you choose the right one for you.

  1. Drying time 

While the nail polish is designed to dry rather quickly and is relatively thin, acrylic paint is not the case. Acrylic paint was designed to sit on a painter’s palette as it worked without drying too quickly. This difference in drying time is because acrylic paint is water-based, while nail polish has acetates and isopropyl alcohols that dry up quickly.

  1. Opacity 

When painting nails, acrylic paints tend to have a streaky effect which is not often the case with nail polish. However, you can easily solve the issue using multiple paint layers to achieve your desired opacity.

  1. Ease of painting designs 

When painting intricate designs, acrylic paint is much easier to use than nail polish. The reason is that nail polish is sometimes thicker when it has less alcohol to help it maintain its opacity. It also dries fast, a factor that makes it difficult to use for nail art that takes a relatively long time.

Final Thoughts 

When done skillfully, nail art on acrylic nails can look spectacular. If you plan to paint your nails at home, we recommend investing in high-quality materials and equipment and earning how to do it right. If you decide to visit a nail salon, be sure to go to a reputable establishment known for delivering high-quality work. Still, the question remains,

Can You Paint Acrylic Nails

Yes, you can! You can use various products such as acrylic paints, nail polish, and even gel polish to color your acrylic nails as you desire.

Thank you for reading this article to the end, and we hope you found it educative. Please feel free to leave the comments, questions, and suggestions in the comment section below.