Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Nail Foils Tutorial!

Do you guys remember when Sally Hansen came out with their Salon Effects nail decals a while ago and everyone like freaked out? Yeah, me too. But what I remember more distinctively is spending $30 on nail foils that essentially do the same thing as Salon Effects literally a month before that. I thought I was all ahead of the curve and that everyone would soon be jumping on the nail foil bandwagon with me... Little did I know Sally Hansen was about to make nail foils obsolete. I know everyone on the blogosphere LOVES their nail decals.... but I'm not convinced. I tried them once and it was not a fun process- and my nails ended up chipping in less than an hour. I wasn't pleased. So since then, I've pretty much stuck to my nail foils if I'm feeling the need to get extra fancy with my fingers. It's a semi-complicated process, but I enjoy it. It's a labor of love. Plus, I spent all that money on them. I damn well better get some use out of them. 

If you're sitting there thinking to yourself, WTF are nail foils?! Allow me to explain... Nail foils come in a tube in a big long strip. They come in all sorts of patterns and designs, as well as solid colors. They're very thin, just like foil. Duh! To transfer the image from the foil to your nail, you apply nail adhesive (aka glue), wait for it to get sticky, press the foil on, and when you remove it you've got yourself a pretty nail! Sound like a lot of work? It kind of is. But I much prefer it to going to a salon and paying out the ass for it. So check out my tutorial below if you're interested in the weird world of nail foils!

Supplies needed: solid color nailpolish, nail foils, adhesive and clear top coat. 

First and foremost- where does one even get nail foils? There are a ton of different places, but I got mine from Dollar Nail Art. The name really says it all. Each roll of foil is $1, and the adhesive comes free with a purchase of 6 foils. Catch is, you have to buy at least $25 worth of foils for them to ship it to you. That's how they get you. I did it because I'm stupid, obviously. But if you're interested, I'd go in with a friend on the purchase if I were you. It's a fun girlie night activity. 

I start out by cutting the foil into 10 pieces to fit my nails. This is totally optional. When I was first doing foils, I didn't do this step and it was totally fine. It just makes for easier clean up and allows me to shape the foil to my nail better, in my opinion. But totally optional

Step 1: Paint your nail a solid color as a base. My favorite is my gold and black marble foil, which I do a black nail underneath. This is so that if (and when) your foil chips or erodes, you have a color underneath. If I'm doing a solid foil color, I usually do either a similar color or a fun contrasting color underneath.
Step 2: Once your base color is dry, apply the adhesive. I've found that one thick layer is best. Make sure you get it over the whole nail, especially the sides. It goes on looking blue but then dries to clear. Let it dry to the point where it gets super sticky- usually 2-3 minutes.
Step 3-4: Apply the foil! This part is tricky. Try to get it as flat as possible on the nail, with no creases. Creases will cause the design to not transfer, so you want to try to work those out, if you have them after you place the foil. Once you place the foil, don't immediately rip it back up. Once the foil hits the glue, it pretty much starts transferring. Even if you're not happy with the placement, you can always go back and fix it later. Just keep it on, and press as hard as possible. Make sure you press extra hard on the sides and cuticle area of the nail. Eventually, you'll feel the foil start to pull back because the color/ image has transferred. At this point, just pull it off. Some of it may still stick on a bit, but that's okay. It should still look pretty fab!
If you're happy with how your nails look, go ahead and apply clear coat and you're done! If not, there's always room to fix it. If there's a spot I see that the foil didn't transfer, I usually go back and apply more adhesive. Then I reapply a foil to just that one spot. It usually fixes it pretty well.

Let me know if you give nail foils a shot! They're pretty fun, I must say. I'm all about adding to my nail art repertoire, so this is just one more fun addition. Or if you're one of my Ohio friends and want to give it a shot, let me know. I've got foils on foils on foils. (Failed attempt to reference to Racks on Racks by YC.)


  1. I'm not even going to lie, I've never tried anything like this. I just buy the cheapest nail polish and apply one coat, two if I'm feeling ballsy bc they chip so easily anyways and I get bored with the color fast. Kudos to you though!


  2. I don't think I have the patience to do my own nails. But your nails look so cute, its tempting.

  3. thanks guys! it's definitely a long process but it's fun!!


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