What tools do you need to create acrylic nails

What tools do you need to create acrylic nails

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Acrylic nails are one of the most popular nail enhancements on the market. There is however quite a difference between liquid and dip acrylic applications. This article covers everything you need to create a liquid acrylic set.

The list of products includes tools for the beginner and adept. Here is the list of things you’ll need when doing acrylic nails

Cuticle pusher

Prepping the cuticles is one of the most important parts of doing nails. If your cuticles are not pushed back properly the nails will not only look un-prepped but the chances of the product lifting from your nail bed are increased. When acrylic touches your skin the oils from your skin will cause the acrylic to lift from your nail. Not only that, but products that constantly touch your skin can increase the risk of contact dermatitis,(an allergic reaction that can be caused by nail products that can occur from over-exposure). Check price on Manucurist.com

Nail file

You will need a nail file to file and shape your nails, or the tips and you will also need it to file the acrylic after it has dried on your nails. I usually use a 100/180 grit file. I use the 100 side of the file to do most of the de-bulking and the 180-side I use to smooth out the scratches while still leaving enough abrasion for a gel topcoat to be able to stick to. If you find that the 100-grit is too soft to de-bulk the product you can opt for a rougher grit file. Note that the higher the grit the finer the file. Remember to “break in” a new file by using another file to file the edges of your new file. This will smooth out the sharp edges of your file and help prevent cutting accidents from occurring when you file your nails. Check price on Manucurist.com.

Nail buffer

You will need to buff your nails slightly after you are done filing the acrylic. This will happen when you are done with everything. I say buffing gently because if you buff the nails too much the product will remove any scratches and the gel top coat will have nothing to stick to. This will cause the topcoat to chip easily. Check price on Manucurist.com.

Nail brush

This beautiful rosegold kabuki brush Is available on Melodysusie.com. The brush is soft and shed-free.  

This is the perfect brush for cleaning your nails. Buy it on Amazon.com.

Use a nail brush with some sanitizer to remove the dust from your nails after filing. I like using this method as it gets into the cuticles and removes all of the dust. I like using sanitizer because of the alcohol content which is great for cleaning off the nail. 

Alternatively, you can use a kabuki brush. They have soft bristles that will get into hard-to-reach places. Use a kabuki brush dry not with sanitizer.

Isopropyl Alcohol

Buy Isopropyl alcohol from Amazon.com.

Use alcohol to remove any dust particles ad any residual oils from the nail plate. Alternatively, you can also use alcohol wipes.

Lint-free wipes

It is important to buy lint-free wipes to prevent any pieces of fluff from remaining on the nails when you wipe them down. Use these wipes with alcohol after wiling the nails and also before starting your nail prepping routine to remove any dirt and oils from the nail plate. You can also use lint-free wipes when doing nail art and when using gel to wipe off the inhibition layer after your gel has cured. Check price on Amazon.com.


These clear tips are great if you want to cut down on your filing time. Check the price on Amazon.com.

Check the price of these nail forms on Amazon.com.

If you want to give your nails some extra length you will have to buy tips. You can buy pre-shaped tips which will save you some time if you want a specific shape like stiletto or coffin. I like to use tips with a bit of a groove for the glue.

Alternatively, you can buy nail forms that are used to build length with acrylic instead of sticking tips with glue.

Nail glue

When using tips you will need to buy a good quality nail glue that will dry fast and also adhere the tips securely to your natural nails. Check the price of this nail glue on Amazon.com.

Nail prep

Nail prep is used to dehydrate the nails. It has to be applied to the natural nail to ensure that the acrylic will adhere to your nails properly. It has to be applied after the tips have been secured and all of the filing is done. It’s always a good idea to use the same brand nail prem as your acrylic powder and monomer.

Acid-free primer

After you are done filing and shaping the nails and/or tips, you will have to apply an acid-free primer only to the natural nail, not the tips. Some primers are known for causing the tips to crack. This step is essential for ensuring long-lasting acrylic application.

Dappen dish

A dappen dish is a small usually glass container used for holding your acrylic liquid(monomer). Buying one with a lid is a good idea as this helps prevent evaporation of the monomer when you are busy but not using the liquid. Check price on Amazon.com.

Acrylic brush

You can find so many different acrylic brushes with a multitude of colors and designs. This brush for instance is beautiful with a pink tip and a unique design at the back.

You can buy a variety of different sizes and brands of acrylic brushes. I like to use a size 6 kolinsky brush. Many people prefer a larger brush. The size is up to you and what you find works better. Acrylic brushes are specifically designed to hold monomer and to be used with acrylic. I will not recommend using just any brush.


Monomer is the acrylic liquid used with acrylic powder. This is essential when doing acrylic liquid nails. Monomer mixed with the powder(polymer) will cause the powder to change into a clay-like substance that you can then apply to your nails and mold to perfection. There are many brands out there It is always a good idea to start with the brand that you qualified through. It is important not to buy unbranded or off-brand monomer and the monomer and polymer are expensive for a reason. Invest in a good brand that is quality and safe for use on your nails.

Acrylic powder

You can find a variety of different colors of acrylic. Like with the monomer it is important to buy your acrylic powder from a reputable brand.


After you are done filing your nails will not be complete without a topcoat. You can choose between a matte or glossy topcoat. Whether you have a UV/LED lamp will determine if you use an air-dry top coat or a gel top coat that has to be cured in a lamp. 

This topcoat from Manucurist.com is very unique. It is eco-friendly and is made with mostly natural ingredients. 

Cuticle oil

Cuticle oil is important whether you are doing your nails or not. It hydrates your cuticles and will leave the skin around your nails looking healthy. Cuticle oil also helps the Nail to remain healthy and hydrated.

Try this cuticle oil from Manucurist.com with 6 different oils that will help to nourish your skin and nails.


I will only recommend this if you have done a course on using an e-file. E-files are great when doing nails, especially acrylics. It cuts your filing time in half and you can also use cuticle bits to gently remove dry skin from your nails which will ensure adhesion of the acrylic to your nails. E-files can be dangerous if not used properly as you can easily harm yourself and others by over-filing the nail. Check the price of this rechargeable e-file on Melodysusie

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