I have often talked about using acrylic paints on households, such as wood, fabric, paper, and even walls. But can you use them on your nails? The answer is yes!
You can use acrylic paint for nails, even on gel nails, as long as you use the correct type of paint and the right process.
Applying a clear base coat is typically recommended to protect your nails, followed by 2-3 thin layers of your desired color.
Acrylic paint can be toxic, so make sure you select a non-toxic version for your safety.
Let each layer dry for a few minutes in between applications. Once you’re done, apply a layer of top coat for extra protection.
Be sure to seal the paint on your nails using a UV or LED lamp designed for gel nails. This will help to cure the paint and make it last longer.
With all these steps and proper care, your nail art should easily last up to two weeks.
Well, that’s a short answer to what’s exactly you are looking at!
If you are excited to know more about using acrylic paint on nails, what colors to use, and whether you can use these paints for fake nails, press-on, and acrylics, then keep reading.
I am sure you will have fun creating beautiful designs!
Acrylic Paint for Nails – The Pros and Cons
Acrylic paint can be a great way to add fun and creativity to your nails. But it’s essential to be aware of its advantages and disadvantages before jumping in and painting your nails.
1- It’s Versatile and Easy to Use
Acrylic paint is versatile and can be used for various designs, from simple to complex. You can use it to create dots, stripes, ombre effects, or even freehand designs.
Especially for beginners who are still exploring their painting skills, acrylic paint is an excellent option because it’s easy to use and control.
You can always add more paint or dilute it with water to get the consistency and opacity you want while painting your nails.
2- It Doesn’t Dry Very Fast
Unlike your regular nail polishes, acrylic paint can take a little longer to dry – thanks to its water-based composition, which, compared to solvents, doesn’t evaporate/dry fast.
This also means as a nail artist; you will have more time to work on your designs and to make corrections if necessary.
3- You can Mix and Match Various Colors
With acrylics, I have seen that if you have the three primary colors (red, yellow, and blue) in addition to regular black and white – you can make hundreds of colors by mixing them.
The idea is to get creative and try new unique colors for your nails without buying every color of paint available, which can get costly.
So, the next time you want to paint your nails purple, pink or pale yellow, mix some colors and get your desired shade.
You most likely have studied the basic combinations in your art class in grade school.
4- It’s Non-toxic and Affordable
Most acrylic paints are non-toxic, making them a safer option than other types of paint, such as nail polish.
However, it’s still essential to check the label before purchasing to ensure the paint is non-toxic.
Acrylic paint is also a budget-friendly option, especially when compared to professional gel nail art.
A small bottle of paint will last a long time, so it’s a great way to save money if you love doing your nails at home.
5- It can be used on Different Types of Nails
Acrylic paint can be used to decorate your natural nails, gel nails, acrylics, press-on nails, and even fake nails.
You can even use it to paint designs on your toenails! And on your skin to make temporary tattoos that last a few days.
Just make sure to choose the designs that complement the shape of your nails.
The downsides of using acrylic paint as nail polish
One of the main disadvantages of using acrylics for your nails is its opacity which can sometimes go streaky and give your nails an uneven appearance.
Another downside is that It doesn’t last as long as gel nail art dues to the shorter lifespan of acrylic paints.
How Safe is Acrylic Paint for Nails?
Acrylic paint is basically a fast-drying paint made of pigment suspended in acrylic polymer emulsion.
Although the paint will stick to most surfaces, including natural fingernails, acrylic nails, fake nails, gel nails, stamp nail art, and plastic-based press-ons that you get at the salon, it’s not designed for nails and might not look as smooth as you want them to be.
Additionally, as not all acrylic paints you will find on the market are non-toxic, they can even cause health problems.
While acrylic paint is water-based and not poisonous, some of the brands or formulations can be irritants to your skin, eyes, and respiratory system.
The toxic ingredients (such as heavy metals) used in certain paint as colorants are usually the culprit.
So, if you have sensitive skin, I recommend doing a patch test first before applying the paint to your nails.
For young girls and children, it’s best to avoid acrylic paints on nails altogether due to the potential health risks. Use only non-toxic nail polish variants for them to be completely safe.
Will the Paint Stain or Damage Your Nails?
Yes, acrylic paint can stain your nails if you are not careful. This is generally due to the pigments used to color the paint that gets absorbed into the nail surface as you apply the paint.
To protect your nails from staining, use a clear base coat as a primer first. This will act as a shield between your nails and the colored pigments.
Additionally, acrylic paints can damage the nail’s surfaces depending on the ingredients that are used for formulation.
Generally, a non-toxic acrylic paint version will not harm the surface of your nails and is considered to be safe.
You will, however, need to be sure to choose the paint without heavy metals to avoid any damage.
How to Use Acrylic Paint on Your Nails?
Acrylic paints dry faster than many traditional nail polishes. And since they are water-based, cleaning them up is also easier.
It’s, therefore, the preferred paint for many nail technicians for creating nail art that features fine lines, patterns, and even 3D designs.
While you can freehand your designs, it’s recommended that you use a brush or dotting tool when working with acrylic paint.
Using a striping brush for the finer details is also recommended as it won’t cause the paint to spread or be smug, which can ruin your overall design.
- The first step is to prep your nails by cutting, filing, shaping, pushing back the cuticles, cleaning them thoroughly, and then applying a base coat.
- A base coat is essential to protect your nails and help the paint adhere better.
- Next, use a thin brush to apply the acrylic paint in long strokes or dots. You can also use a toothpick or dotting tool to create smaller, more intricate designs.
- Acrylic paint is highly pigmented, so you don’t need to use much of it. Apply only a thin coat of paint.
- If you’re using a light color, you may need to apply multiple coats to achieve the desired opacity of your manicure.
- Let the paint dry completely, and then apply a top coat to make your design last longer. You can use a clear polish or UV-cured resin for a nail art sealer to seal your design and protect the paint.
Acrylic paint has a flat or very matte finish by nature. So, if you want to achieve a more glossy or gleaming appearance, clear transparent nail polish may be of assistance.
Can Acrylic Paint And Nail Polish Be Mixed Together?
The simple answer is no – you should not mix acrylic paint and nail polish.
This is because these two products are made from different materials. Acrylic paint is water-based and contains acrylic acid.
Nail polish, on the other hand, is petroleum-based and made from different chemicals or solvents.
When you mix these two products, the paint’s water will cause the polish to thicken and “curdle.” This will make it challenging to apply, and it will not look perfect.
Just in case you wish to achieve custom shades for your nail art, combining different nail polish colors or two acrylic paint colors is a good idea.
Alternatively, you can use acrylic paint as your base coat, and when it’s dried, add a layer of nail color – or try vice versa.
Acrylic Nail Paints – What Colors and Patterns are Best to Use?
There is not a single color that wouldn’t work with acrylic nail paints and arts – it’s all about your creativity and personal preferences.
That said, you must remember that some shades and patterns will look better than others, depending on your personality, skin color, outfit, and season.
For instance, if you have a fair complexion, light colors such as pale pinks or nudes will look lovely.
If you want to experiment with bolder shades, then deep plums, reds, or even black can be a great choice.
I think, when choosing colors, it’s best to stick with light or neutral shades. Dark colors can make your nails look small and unkempt, while bright colors may be too overwhelming.
If you’re looking for a pattern, consider something simple like stripes, crosshatched, or polka dots.
Complicated designs will be hard to achieve with acrylic nails, and they may not look as clean as you’d like.
How Can You Get Acrylic Paint Off of Your Nails – If you Aren’t Satisfied?
Let’s be honest – not every manicure turns out the way we want it to. If you’re not happy with your acrylic paint nail art, don’t worry. It’s easy to remove.
It’s even easier if the paint is still fresh and wet – simply wash it off with warm water, and you are done.
To take off the dried acrylic paint on your nails, you will need an acetone nail polish remover and a cotton ball.
Pour some acetone onto the cotton ball and hold it over your nail for a few seconds. Then, use the cotton ball to gently rub the paint off in a circular motion.
You may need to repeat this process a few times to remove all of the paint.
Once the paint is off, wash your hands with soap and water to remove the acetone.
And that’s it! With a little bit of patience, you can easily remove acrylic paint from your nails.
Do not forget to apply a moisturizer to your hands and nails to prevent them from drying out when you have completed removing the paint.
What’s the point of painting nails?
Nail painting is a creative way to express yourself and add a touch of personality to your look.
It’s basically a symbol of self-care and can also be used to complement your outfit or to make a statement.
Whether you choose to paint your nails with a solid color or go for a more intricate design, the possibilities are endless.
What nail do you paint a different color?
You can paint any fingernail a different color! However, many brides tend to choose their ring fingers as accent nails.
This is because the ring finger is often left unadorned (no nail art, jewels, etc.), so painting it a different color is a way to add personality and pizzazz to your manicure.
There are also endless possibilities when choosing colors for your accent nails.
Some people prefer to choose colors that contrast sharply with each other (think black and white), while others like to choose colors that are in the same family but have different finishes (think a matte navy and a shimmering teal).
Acrylic nails vs. acrylic paints – is it the same?
No, acrylic nails and acrylic paints are not the same.
Acrylic nails are a type of fake nails done at a salon.
These are made with a mixture of polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA) and a liquid monomer which is placed over the natural nail bed and shaped to create a false nail.
On the other hand, acrylic paints are made with a mixture of pigments, acrylic resin, and water.
This mixture can be used to create various artworks, including paintings on nails.
How do you make acrylic paint dry faster on your nails?
One way to speed up the drying process of acrylic paint on your nails is to use a hair dryer.
Set your hair dryer machine to the lowest setting and hold it about 6 inches away from your painting.
Move the dryer back and forth over the area until the paint is dry. You can also use a table fan to help speed up the drying process of your nails.
The Bottom Line
Acrylic paint can be used for nail art, but it’s not always easy and compatible to work with as regular nail polish.
When choosing acrylic paint for nails, it’s essential to weigh the pros and cons, be patient, and take your time to avoid mess and mistakes.
If, however, you are not satisfied with your manicure, it is always easy to remove the paint with acetone nail polish remover and a cotton ball.
So, if you want to be creative and look unique by trying something different, try painting your nails with acrylic paint! I am sure you will have fun with it.
Jack Luis is a semi-retired painter who loved painting his clients’ ideas on their walls.
He had worked as a painter for more than a decade to serve the customers in areas such as Charleston, Mount Pleasant, Beaufort, Georgetown, SC (South Carolina). Today in his free time, he likes to read and write about the newer techniques that are being implemented in his profession. You may read more about him here or get in touch with him here.
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