Water Decal Demo! (Pastel Art Deco Stripes)
If you’ve never played with water decals, you should give them a try! These LOOK like nail wraps but they are not. Water decals are much cheaper than nail wraps, come in lots of beautiful designs, and are also not hard to apply as long as you know how.
There are 2 kinds of water decals.
- Individual images, like flowers, stars, hearts, etc that you apply onto the center of your nails like stickers. You need a polish as a base color.
- Full-nail designs like the striped print one I used. You don’t need a polish underneath if you are wearing a full-nail opaque decal, but you should apply base-coat to minimize chipping.
Bornprettystore has tons of designs (these are usually under US$2 per set; mine are #22), and you can also find them on eBay for a pretty good price. I do advise buying 2 sets just in case you make a mistake or have an accident during the topcoat phase. Lightinthebox.com has a good selection of full-nail designs, but they named it completely wrong, so search for “nail wraps” and look for the images that have a dark base under the design (see above). These are the water decals.
I’m going to do a demo using full-nail decals.
Step 1: First cut your nail decals into individual strips. At this point it’s optional to paint your nails with a base shade that matches the general color of your decal design. I used Revlon Hazy just so any rips or irregular edges won’t be obvious.
Step 2: Choose the right-sized decals for your nail first, then dip into clean water and wait. After about 15-20 seconds, the decals should slide right off the paper backing. (Full-nail decals don’t come in a lot of sizes so I wouldn’t recommend them if you have larger nail beds. Get the individual design decals instead.)
Step 3: Carefully place your decal against your nail bed, and then trim off the excess tip, leaving just a little bit hanging off the edge. (I’ll explain why later.) When it’s in the right position, gently smooth out as much of the wrinkles as you can, and then use a dry sheet of tissue to press down and absorb any excess water.
*TIP: If it’s in the wrong position, just dip into water again and the decal will loosen. DON’T try to tug or pull at it too hard or you risk ripping the decal.
Step 4: After letting it sit and dry for awhile, use top coat to gently apply over the nail. The top coat will fuse with the decal and make it stick and smooth out on the nail. Be VERY careful not to brush hard or apply too much topcoat. It dissolves the decal and makes it very easy to tear with your polish brush.
***At the tip, instead of ripping, cutting or filing it off, simply soften it with top coat and then fold it under the edge of the nail. Most tutorials will teach you to pinch or tear the tip off, but I find that easily rips the design.
Decals last and look like regular polish (aside from the intricate designs) and can be removed with nail polish remover.