How to Paint Press On Nails Before Applying: 5 Tips

by  Mila M.Cosmetologist

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Are you tired of spending a fortune at the salon for stylish nail designs? You’ll be glad to know that press-on nails have made a comeback, offering an affordable alternative without compromising on style.

In this practical guide, we will explore how to paint press-on nails before applying them so you can achieve salon-quality results right from the comfort of your home. Get ready to impress everyone with your customized and truly unique manicures!

  • Prep your natural nails by shaping and buffing them before applying press-on nails.
  • Apply a base coat, two coats of nail polish, and any desired details or embellishments to your press-on nails.
  • Clean up any excess polish and allow the nails to dry completely before applying them.

What are Press-On Nails?

Press-on nails are a convenient and affordable alternative to traditional manicures as they are pre-made artificial nails that can be easily applied at home.

Benefits of Using Press-On Nails

Press-on nails serve as a quick, convenient solution for anyone who craves beautiful nails without spending hours at the salon. They come in an array of shapes and sizes to match every mood or occasion, saving you time while still offering a professional finish.

Painting press-on nails at home lets you showcase your unique style and creativity before application, contributing to a polished look that lasts longer than regular nail polish on natural nails.

The ease of use means anyone can apply them comfortably at their own pace without stress or pressure, just paint, press and go! Furthermore, by utilizing techniques such as attaching the false nail to a cotton swab for stability during painting or securing them on a nail stand makes the process even more hassle-free.

Another advantage is that they do less damage to your natural nails compared to traditional acrylics or gels, particularly when prepped correctly with filing and buffing pre-application – creating healthy gorgeous nails has never been easier with press-ons!

Essential Supplies Needed for Painting Press-On Nails

To achieve a flawless manicure, you’ll need nail polish, a base coat and top coat, nail file, buffer block, cuticle pusher, and alcohol wipes. Plus, don’t forget your press-on nails! Read more to learn how to paint them like a pro before applying.

Prepping Your Nails

Before painting your press-on nails, it is important to prep your natural nails to ensure a smooth and long-lasting application. Start by using a nail file to shape your nails and create the desired length.

Then, gently buff the surface of each nail to remove any ridges or imperfections. This will help the press-on nails adhere better and prevent them from lifting or chipping. By taking the time to properly prep your nails, you’ll achieve a professional-looking manicure that lasts!

How to Paint Press-On Nails

To paint press-on nails, start by prepping your natural nails and filing them to the desired shape. Apply a base coat to protect your natural nails and create a smooth surface for the press-ons to adhere to.

Then, apply two coats of your chosen nail polish color, allowing each coat to dry fully before applying the next. Add any desired details or embellishments using nail art tools or stickers.

Finally, clean up any excess polish around the edges and let your painted press-on nails dry completely before applying them.

Adding Details and Embellishments

To add those extra details and embellishments to your press-on nails, start by pressing the pads of your fingers onto a flat surface to keep your hands steady. Then, using smooth motions from back to front, paint each nail with your chosen nail polish color.

Feel free to experiment with different techniques like gradients or nail art designs. If you want some sparkle, consider adding glitter or rhinestones before the polish dries. Remember to clean up any excess polish around your cuticles and let the nails dry completely for a flawless finish.

Clean Up and Allow to Dry

Once you have finished painting your press-on nails, it’s important to clean up any stray polish and allow them to dry completely. Use a cotton swab dipped in nail polish remover to gently clean up any mistakes or smudges around the edges of your nails.

Take your time and be careful not to remove the polish from the actual press-on nails. After cleaning up, give your freshly painted nails some time to dry before handling or applying them.

This will help prevent smudging or ruining all of your hard work. You can let them air dry for about 10-15 minutes or use a quick-dry top coat for faster results. Just remember, patience is key when it comes to ensuring that your press-on nails look flawless and last longer.

Care Instructions for Long-Lasting Results

To keep your painted press-on nails looking fresh and beautiful for as long as possible, it’s important to follow some care instructions. First, avoid excessive contact with water right after applying the nails to give them time to fully bond.

Additionally, be gentle when performing everyday tasks that may put strain on your nails, such as typing or opening containers.

Another way to maintain your press-on manicure is by avoiding harsh chemicals and abrasive products. Before using any cleaning agents or partaking in activities like gardening or scrubbing dishes, protect your nails by wearing gloves.

This will help prevent chipping and peeling of the polish.

To preserve the longevity of your nail art, consider applying a top coat every few days. This will help seal in the color and protect against fading or dulling over time. Finally, if any repairs are needed due to chipped polish or loosened edges, fix them promptly before they worsen.

By following these care instructions diligently, you can ensure that your beautifully painted press-on nails last longer and continue to make a lasting impression.

Can I Make My Own Press On Nails Instead of Painting Them?

Yes, you can definitely make your own do-it-yourself nails instead of painting them. All you need is some press-on nail kits, adhesive tabs or nail glue, and a creative design in mind. Press-on nails are a quick and easy way to achieve a professional-looking manicure at home.

5 Tips for Painting Press-On Nails Before Applying

Experiment with different techniques to create unique nail designs and patterns that will make your press-on nails stand out from the crowd.

Experiment with Different Techniques

To achieve unique and eye-catching designs, don’t be afraid to experiment with different techniques when painting your press-on nails. Try using a variety of nail art tools such as dotting tools, striping brushes, or even toothpicks to create intricate patterns and designs.

You can also explore different painting styles like ombre gradients, marble effects, or freehand designs for a customized look. Don’t limit yourself to traditional brush strokes – get creative and let your imagination run wild!

Use a Cotton Swab for Easy Application

Using a cotton swab can make the process of painting press-on nails much easier. By attaching the fake nail to a cotton swab, you can provide stability and control while applying the polish.

This helps ensure that each stroke is precise and even, resulting in a professional-looking finish. Plus, with the added grip of the cotton swab, you won’t have to worry about accidentally smudging or ruining your freshly painted nails.

So grab a cotton swab and get ready to achieve flawless nail art with ease!

Wait for Nails to Dry Fully Before Applying

To achieve a flawless application, it’s important to wait for your nails to dry fully before applying press-on nails. This ensures that the nail polish is completely set and won’t smudge or smear when you attach the false nails.

Pressing your fingertips into a flat surface can help keep them steady while waiting for them to dry. Waiting patiently will give you long-lasting results and a professional finish.

Consider Using Gel Polish

Consider using gel polish for your press-on nails to achieve a long-lasting and professional-looking finish. Gel polish is known for its durability and resistance to chipping, making it ideal for press-on nails that you want to wear for an extended period of time.

By using gel polish, you can enjoy vibrant colors and a glossy shine that lasts. Applying gel polish requires curing under a UV or LED lamp, which ensures the polish sets and stays in place.

This means you don’t have to worry about smudges or smears while waiting for your nails to dry. Give gel polish a try and elevate your press-on nail game with beautiful, long-lasting results.

Use a Nail Stand for Easier Painting

Press-on nails can sometimes be tricky to hold steady while painting, especially if you’re not a professional nail technician. That’s where a handy tool called a nail stand comes in.

By securing your press-on nails onto the stand, you’ll have a stable surface to paint on. This will make it easier for you to apply an even coat of polish without any smudges or mistakes.

So if you want to achieve salon-quality results at home, consider using a nail stand for easier painting.

Is It Necessary to Use Acetone to Remove Press On Nails After Painting Them?

When it comes to nail removal without acetone, it can be a bit tricky, especially with press on nails that have been painted. However, it is possible to remove them without acetone by gently peeling them off or using a nail polish remover that does not contain acetone.


Achieve a professional and customized look for your nails by painting press-on nails before applying them. Follow the step-by-step guide to prep your natural nails, choose the perfect shape, and experiment with different techniques.

Remember to wait for the paint to dry fully before applying and consider using gel polish for long-lasting results. With these tips, you’ll have beautiful, salon-worthy nails in no time!


1. What is the process of preparing and painting press-on nails before applying?

Before applying, prepare your natural nails by filing, buffing, and ensuring proper nail care. Then paint your press-on nails using nail painting techniques for a professional finish.

2. How to apply nail polish on press-on nails?

You can use a nail holder for painting to secure the false nail while applying multiple coats of nail polish, letting each coat dry thoroughly.

3. Can you customize the look of glue-on nails through painting?

Yes! Painting glue-on nails provides an opportunity to create a unique DIY design before application.

4. What’s the best technique for achieving a professional-looking finish when painting my press-on nails?

A step-by-step tutorial for painting will guide you in prepping the artificial surface correctly then apply thin coats of polish gradually onto acrylic or gel based extensions until desired color build-up is reached; remember not to rush drying phase between layers!

5. Why should one consider painting their own press-ons instead of buying pre-colored ones?

Painting your own press-on nails allows full control over design and color choice also makes use of any existing polishes that one might possess thus saving cost at same time exercising creativity.

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Mila, the veteran beauty cosmetics professional and author of this article, while cutting and styling the hair of her client

Hi! I’m Mila M. I share my 44 year-experience as a Cosmetologist & Beauty Professional in this blog. This content is for educational purposes only and does not constitute professional advice. Consult your trusted Beauty Professional for your personal beauty needs.

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