nail art,nail art gallery, nail art designs

September 16, 2011
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Kejal had asked a little while ago about how to do the foil transfer nails (sorry this has taken so long!) — it’s not hard, and I’m sure foils all behave and are applied differently, but this is how I’m using the foils I got from dollarnailart.com.  First, you need a base: I pick something that mirrors the color of the foil itself so it won’t show mistakes as well, but the base color really depends on the foil… some of them are transparent so you actually need to carefully pick the color to match (like these snakeskin ones), others are totally opaque so it doesn’t even matter what you put underneath.  For this I used the Wet n Wild  SaGreena The Teenage Witch because it dries so fast and was really close to the green foil I’d picked out.

First, your supplies: not much to worry about here, you just need a bottle of the glue and a roll of foil and you’re set.

nail foil supplies

You’re going to start by applying a layer of the glue to your nail (which will go on like milk) and then wait for it to COMPLETELY dry (but DON’T touch it, it needs to be tacky enough when it’s dry to hang on to the foil transfer).  You’ll know it’s dry when the color goes clear again; give it another few minutes on top of that just to be sure.

nail foil glue

Next you want to take a section of the foil and lightly drop it on top of the nail so that it sticks to the center but isn’t really touching anything yet.

nail art foil transfer

Then you need to actually press it into your nail, which is the tricky part.  You can use an orange wood stick, or your stamper applicator to roll over it, but I usually just use my thumb and first press down one side of the nail from the center and then the other, using my nail afterwards to scratch into the sides of the nails and make sure everything’s sticking.

nail art foil

Once it’s well stuck (you’ll be able to tell, the foil back will start peeling away) just take an edge of the foil and slowly pull it off of your nail (not too fast or you’ll rip the pattern up with it).  The foils are actually kind of delicate when they first go on so be careful!

nail foil transfer

It’s a really simple way to get a fun manicure going in a quick sort of way since you’re really only waiting for the glue to dry once you’ve got a base coat going.

green foil nails

All you’ve got to do next is clean up the edges, apply a topcoat (NOT SV, it will totally shrink the foil) and you’re ready to go!

Categories: foil transfer, how to
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33 Responses

  1. Maria says:

    How long does this tend to last?

    • upto around 3-4 years (if sealed with top coat)

      • Micky says:

        3-4 YEARS? What if your nail grew longer?

        • Kaylin says:

          love it but really 3-4 whole years, not mounths or weeks? That’s insane! :D

          • Esja says:

            i tried it – lasted about 3 weeks for me and my nails go through an awful lot…

          • Lena1998 says:

            Hi! Lena here.

            I think they meant weeks -or maybe even days- but who knows? =b

            Also, I SERIOUSLY hate to be picky but it drives me insane when people make grammatical errors so please bear with me on this one.

            Where you perhaps meaning the more commonly used ‘months’?
            -Lena x
            P.S. I know it drives people insane when I correct them, but I feel compelled to do so. It frustrates me too. Do you know how bored I am re-writing other people’s opinions?

            Ok… starting to sound like a snob… I’d better stop now.

            Sorry again.

    • Kellie says:

      On me the foil usually lasts 1-2 days. It all depends on how hard you are on your nails.

  2. Tyne says:

    Great tutorial, thank you.

  3. Kelly says:

    thanks for the tutorial! :)

  4. Kejal says:

    Ohhh!! thanks for doing this!! ♥♥♥ Love the foil effect!!

  5. nail crazy says:

    i love foils :-D
    now you reminded me, i could use it for my next mani, thanks ;-D

  6. Liz G. says:

    Great tutorial, thanks for the tips!

  7. Fingers says:

    Very cool tutorial-never heard of that before!

  8. the nerd says:

    No prob ladies!

    Maria, the time it lasts mostly depends on your topcoat — the foil is basically just a featherlight layer of color, the clear polish you put over it is what’s going to seal it down well. Stick with a topcoat you trust to last, even layer it on (because you’re not using a lot of polish your nail coat isn’t as heavy as normal so it’s ok to load up on the clear stuff).

  9. Sandra says:

    Thanks for the tutorial.

  10. Katie says:

    Thanks for the tutorial! I wasn’t completely sure how foils work.

  11. Kareberry says:

    Quick question, you mentioned not to use SV top coat, which top coat are you using?

  12. the nerd says:

    The SV speedy topcoat stuff really buckles and pinches my foils, so I use this CND Super Shiney topcoat for stuff like this — but really, any topcoat you have that DOESN’T have “super fast drying” something on it will probably do fine; basically you want a topcoat that’s a little… gooey I guess? Pick one of your topcoats that’s pretty thick and sturdy (you’ll want the support) but also takes a little time to dry, that’ll be an indicator of it not doing some quick-set movement on top of your nails that distorts the cover underneath.

  13. Jackie says:

    I haven’t found a top coat yet that does not ruin holographic foils! If you use patterned foils you can use a normal top coat but they need to come up with a solution for holos!!

    • Krysi says:

      The wrinkling and pinching is a result of a chemical reaction between the top coat and the glue. Try adding a coat or 2 of clear ceramic glaze between the foil and the top coat. It keeps the foils nice and smooth. Then you can use whatever top coat you want and as much of it as you want.

  14. Taylor says:

    what kind of glue did you use?

    • admin says:

      It’s just the stuff that came w/ the foils from the dollar nail art store (in that long white bottle in the pictures) — strikes me as a sort of watered-down version of elmer’s glue is all :)

  15. Kayla says:

    I absolutely LOVE this mani! I’m a bit of a nail art nerd my self, but I’m venturing out of the animal print zone, and had no nspiration, until I heard of your website!!! So I will have to keep looking out for future manicures that look intiresting, and I’ll be more than happy to share them with you, and maybe you can try a tutorial on them! Thanks!!!

  16. Alisa says:

    What type of glue did u use!????

  17. Ana says:

    I have seen those foils around here, but no glue – could you tell me the ingredients, please, so I can search for a dupe?

    • admin says:

      Hmmmm I’ve never mixed it myself (just bought the glue from the place on the Where to Shop page), but it really does seem like it’s just a sort of white elmer’s glue watered down a little (so it’s easily brushable and dries tacky fairly quick vs. the really thick/congealed formula that comes out of the bottle)

    • Kellie says:

      You can get the foil adhesive on ebay.

  18. omg!!!!!!! shit on A CRACKER!!!!!!!!!1

  19. Lena1998 says:

    I know a cute and simple design which you can alter to suit any occasion, but it’s really hard to describe. Maybe if I figure out how, I’ll post a pic or something.

    Where do you get the foils from? (I live in England so I don’t have a Walmart or anything)

    -Lena x

    • Kellie says:

      I bought a bunch of different colors and styles on ebay really cheap. They come from China so it takes a little while to get them but for the price it is soooo worth the wait!! Do a search on ebay for nail art transfer foils. For the glue do a search for nail art transfer adhesive.

  1. [...] up your look. All you need is foil, (available at http://www.dollarnailart.com), nail glue and a top coat. Nail Nerd has a great step-by-step tutorial on this. 5. Glitter. You guys know how much I love glitter for [...]

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