Applying False Nail Tips At Home

 Artificial nail tips are usually applied in salons before being secured on with UV Gel or Acrylic. Here I will show you how to get this look at home :).

The menu below is a quicker way to skip to where you want to go – just use the back button on your browser to return to this menu:

What are artificial nail tips?


Step by step instructions:

Step 1Picking out the right size nail tips

Step 2Preparing your nails

Step 3Dehydrating your nails

Step 4Gluing on the artificial nail tips

Step 5Cutting

Step 6Preparation for the UV gel or acrylic


What are artificial nail tips?
  • For those of you who are new to false nail tips, they are applied to the end of your natural nail, and are used to create longer looking nails. After gluing the tip on, they are covered in either acrylic or UV gel to secure them.
  • Tips come in different lengths and colours – some are also designed. Plain white tips are the most popular (often referred to as a French Manicure).

  • Your chosen false nail tips
  • Nail glue
  • Acrylic nail cutters – (normal nail clippers can be used) to reduce the length of the false nails
  • Nail file – to dehydrate your nails and smooth your free edge
  • Cuticle stick (either metal or an orange wood stick) – to push your cuticles back
  • Dusting brush – it’s better to use one of these for getting rid of the left over dust from filing so no moisture can be added back on to your nail (e.g. from your fingers or blowing it etc.)

Step by step instructions:

Step 1 – Picking out the right size nails:
  • Firstly, pick out individual nail tips that match your natural nails in size. If the tips are a bit wide, then gently file the sides of them until they fit nicely.

Lining-tips-upTipOnce you have found the right sizes for each of your nails, note it down (they will all have a tiny number on the back). This makes it a lot quicker to pick out the right sizes in the future 🙂

  • Next, place your chosen nails out in the order you want to glue them on. I recommend starting with both your little fingers and working your way up to your thumbs – so you can use your index fingers and thumbs until the end.

Step 2 – Preparing your nails:
  • Firstly, remove any previous nail polish etc. from your natural nails – they need to be nice and clean. Smoothing a cotton pad over your nail with a few drops of nail polish remover on should do the job 🙂
Removing old nail polish

Removing old nail polish

Step 3 – Dehydrating your nails:
  • Lightly file your natural nail plate in the area where the false nail tip will be applied to remove any moisture. Once they look a white-ish colour, brush the dust away so it doesn’t get caught under your false nail (it can cause lifting if the dust gets trapped underneath :(). This process will help your false nail tip adhere to your natural nail, making them last longer 🙂
File the nail plate iFile the nail plat until it turns a white-ish colour

File the nail plate until it turns a white-ish colour

Tip – I file one fingernail, apply the false nail tip, file the next one, and so on. This way, you avoid letting moisture accumulate on your natural nails that have already been filed, but are yet to have been fixed with a false nail tip.

Step 4 – Gluing on the artificial nail tips:
  • To apply your false nail tips, either add the glue to your natural nail (making sure you cover the whole area where the tip will be placed) or to the actual false nail tip, covering only the part which will be applied to the plate of your natural nail. Most people prefer to add the glue to the false nail tip.
Remember to apply some glue to the wings of the artificial tip

Remember to apply some glue to the wings of the artificial tip

Hold each nail down for 20-25 seconds. Don’t press down too lightly or too firmly. Too lightly, and the nail may not stick properly, too firmly and you risk losing some glue (as it can seep out from underneath the false nail). Somewhere in the middle will do :).

Don't press too hard or too soft.

Press down on the middle first, then the wings of the tip

Step 5 – Cutting:

This is a lot easier if you have the acrylic nail cutter because you simply slide it down your false nail to the length you want it, and cut. If you don’t have an acrylic nail cutter and are using your normal nail clipper, choose the length you want and then cut across in small snips for best results.

Using an acrylic nail cutter is much easier than using a regular nail trimmer

I find the acrylic nail cutter much easier to use than a regular nail trimmer

Tip – After I’ve glued on four false nail tips, I go back and cut down the first two I glued on. Then I apply two more tips, and cut the previous two. The reason I recommend doing this pattern is because whilst you are doing the present two, it gives the previous two more time to dry.

You could just leave the cutting until the very end when all the tips are applied, but because of their length it makes it quite difficult to use your fingers properly. I also leave my thumb and index fingers until the end for this reason – the tips are easier to apply using these two fingers 🙂

Applying in this order makes the whole process alot easier.

For example, I do these 4, then go back and cut the tips on my 2 little fingers

Step 6 – Preparation for the UV gel or acrylic:
  • Tips are not as secure as full false nails because they are only applied to the tip of your natural nail. Using acrylic or UV gel will make sure they are strong enough for day to day activities .

There are 3 things you will need to do to prepare for either the application of acrylic or the application of UV gel:

Cuticlesyour cuticles need to be gently pushed back. This stops the UV gel/acrylic from lifting near your cuticle. To do this you can use an orange wood stick or a metal cuticle pusher.

Removing the shine – with your nail file, gently file the surface of your nail tip to remove the shine. This will help the UV gel/acrylic adhere to your nail.

Dehydrate your nail plate The rest of your natural nail plate that isn’t covered over with a tip now needs to be filed. Do this gently and until it looks a white-ish colour. By doing this, it will dehydrate your nail so again, the UV gel/ acrylic will adhere better.


Now you’re ready to apply either Acrylic or UV Gel. Choose your path! 🙂

– On both of those articles, you will be able to skip straight to step 3