I remember how frustrating it was when I first started stamping. Next to acrylic nail extension this was the hardest nail art I've tried so far. There is definitely a learning curve. It was messy, the images were blurred, and I could never get the full image on the stamper no matter how hard I tried. I will save you the hassle and fill you in on what I learned from my many trials and errors. I will add my tips and tricks after the tutorial.
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You will need:
There's an endless supply of stamping plates available. I have one for every season and occasion and I can still find more that I need. Notice I said need instead of want? Yes, the struggle is real. I like to use the clear jelly stamper because you can see exactly where the image will be stamped. You can also use an old credit card or gift card for a scraper. They work well but they're not as flexible. I only use Born Pretty stamping polishes. You can use whatever brand you like just make sure they're specifically for stamping. Regular polish does work but the image will be very light compared to stamping polish. Look at the difference below.
I compared the Born Pretty stamping polish with two of my favourite regular polishes. As you can see, the regular polishes work, but they're very light compared to stamping polish.
The following tools are optional but it will save time (and expletives) trust me!
Cotton ball holder- You have to clean the plate between uses. You can use a regular cotton pad to clean the plate, but I guarantee you will smudge the design you just stamped on your nails. Who wants to spend all that time getting a perfectly stamped image, only to ruin it by cleaning your plates? Not me, been there done that and will never attempt that ever again! There's a button at the top of the cotton ball holder. When you press it, a metal claw comes out and grabs the cotton ball.
Lint roller- I use this to clean my stamper between uses. Just press the leftover polish onto the sticky lint roller, and the polish will come right off. You can get them at any dollar store.
Let's get started! I recommend stamping on a paper towel for easy clean up.
Paint your nails any colour of your choice. Use a light stamping polish for dark nails and vice versa. It'll help the image stand out. After 2 coats of polish, apply a top coat and let it dry. You can stamp on top of gel polish as well. Cure in between coats, and wipe off the sticky layer off with isopropyl alcohol before you stamp.
Apply your stamping polish over the design you want to use.
Next, use your scraper or credit card to scrape the polish across the design. Scrape quickly at a 45 degree angle and don't apply too much pressure.
Now for the tricky part. Use your stamper and pick the image off of the plate with a rolling motion. Start on one side of the image and roll over it. I have seen people pushing straight down but you may not get all of the image transferred with that method. I didn't have much success trying it that way myself, but try it both ways and see what works best for you.
As you can see from the picture, the stamper may pick up some excess polish, but that's an easy fix. Just stamp the excess onto the lint roller.
The best part about using the clear jelly stamper is being able to see exactly where the image will be transferred onto your nail. Use the same rolling motion to transfer the image onto the nail. You may have some parts of the image sticking up a bit so just pat it down gently with your finger.
Always clean your plate and scraper between each use with nail polish remover.
Here's another stamped design just for fun. This time I'll do a french design. I used this plate.
There's no way around it, stamping takes practice, but I hope these tips and tricks can help you to unlock the endless design possibilities stamping has to offer!
When you're comfortable with basic stamping, why not try my advanced stamping tutorial- reverse stamping!
If you have any other stamping tips not mentioned here, comment below! I'd love to hear from you.