Nail Stamping: What I Learned

Stamping, it’s a great way to get nail art that doesn’t take much aIMG_5900rt skill, but don’t be fooled it does take some skill and a bit of patience.

I love to stamp my nails, I love the designs I can create using stamps and when you get the hang of it, you can layer designs, and create scenes on your nails. You can even do multi color designs, create decals and reverse stamping.




There are many stampers out there, currently the most popular on the market are the clear squishy head stampers. They are soft enough to allow you to roll the design on your nail without feeling like you are going to lose a nail. Clear stampers are great because they allow you to see placement of your stamp on the nail and in reverse stamping you can see the progress of what your finish stamp will look like.


Here are a few of my favorites (they do not need to cost more than $6 a piece), and you only need one.

  • I use this one 90% of the time Sannysis Stamper it’s cheap and will take some time to arrive, plan accordingly.
  • Chrissy at Polished Vino has some great options too.

Stamping Plates:

I use a variety of plates and really you can get them as cheap or as expensive as you like. I find that sets usually only have a few plates with good designs, so I buy individual ones to make sure I like every design.

  • MoYou London has great options and sets, they also have weekly mani sets they sell that includes, plates, polish and a cute little stamper. They are based out of the UK so you are paying euros vs. dollars, their customer service is awesome!
  • Bundle Monster also has great plates and stamping tools.
  • Amazon has good deals on stamping plates as well, that is where I started my collection. They also have the above mentioned brands on there as well.



  • Stamping polish works great because it’s opaque and gives you all of the design. It is however fickle and can dry up quickly, so you may need to take a couple of passes to get your design.
  • Cheap cream polishes always work best, I use sinful colors white and black as my staples.
  • Julep cream polishes work well too.
  • As for holographic colors, those really depend on the formula and the brand. I was able to pick up a great design with Enchanted Polish’s Alicorn.
  • Glitters are not recommended.


Nail Mat:

Not everyone has nail mat money, I get it. I started with a large gallon size ziplock bag and put a magazine in it and covered it with a white sheet of paper as my nail mat. Worked wonderfully, it did have to be replaced semi regularly. Today I own the Twinkled_t Glamour mat, I love it because it has an area to drop colors for nail art and reverse stamping, it also has a collapsible cup for watermarbling and to hold acetone for nail clean up.
These are the only “nail mats” I’ve used.

Clean up supplies:

  • Liquid Latex for messy designs, I use actual liquid latex. Cheaper by the oz.
  • Scotch Tape/Lint Roller
  • Old credit card, library card or loyalty card
  • Clean up brush
  • Cotton pads
  • Acetone

IMG_5159Technique and Tips:

  • Priming Stamper
    • DO NOT Buff a clear stamper with a nail file! This will turn your transparent head to an opaque one.
    • DO NOT use acetone to clean your stamper head, same premise as above.
    • Clean your stamp head by using scotch tape or a lint roller to get rid of all the lint and begin to stamp.
  • Plates
    • This should go without saying, but it’s a question I’ve seen. Peel off the blue plastic off your plate prior to first use.
    • Paint on enough polish to cover your design, this will assure you get polish in every nook and cranny.
    • Wiping the excess, use a flexible scrapper, I have not used any of the scrappers that come with the stampers, for one, metal against metal – no bueno! Second, not enough coverage. I use an old credit card, that has been wiped clean of a magnetic strip (use acetone).
    • Wipe tip: do not stand your scrapper at a 90 degree angle, lay it pretty flat against the plate and lift a little to get the excess off. This will leave enough polish on the plate for the design.
    • Clean your plate with acetone and cotton pad after every stamp, you want a clean plate to pick up your new design.
  • Picking up the design


  • I’ve seen people go straight down and press to pick up the design, don’t do that.
  • To get your design off the plate, roll the stamper across the plate design to pick it up. Use the same rolling action to get the stamp on your nail.
  • Once you have your design on your nail, clean off the excess from the stamper with scotch tape or a lint roller.



  •  Nail Placement
    • My guidance here is roll the design on to your nail. My nails curve and smooshing it straight on to my nails doesn’t work for me.
    • You can use liquid latex around your nail in order to reduce the mess, but you don’t have to.
    • Latex is a life saver when reverse stamping, take care to use a clean up brush with acetone around your cuticle line before you remove the latex.
    • Decals, always use a quick dry top coat on the design and let it dry up to the point that it’s a little tacky so that it sticks on your nail, otherwise use a clean up brush and wipe a few strokes of acetone to get them to stick. Some people like to add a clear coat of polish to stick it on, I find it a bit bulky.
    • I use scotch tape to pick up the excess on my skin, then I use a cleanup brush with acetone to clean along the cuticle.
    • If you make a mistake, I love this, use the scotch tape to pull away the stamp on your nail to remove it completely. This will work if you use a quick dry top coat on your polished nails prior to stamping.
    • And of course your nails should be dry before you begin stamping, use a quick dry top coat!

Ok, this is my longest post! I love to stamp and have yet to try all of the techniques out there. I hope this post helps you stamping novices, I am in no way a professional, but it is my go to nail art design. I have a needy 3 yr old and 41 yr old, and I sometimes can’t spend as much time on my nails.


Thanks for Reading!



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