Crafting Perfect Full Press-On Nails: A Step-By-Step Guide

Full press-on nails offer a quick, cost-effective, and versatile solution to achieve salon-quality nails without the hefty price tag. Whether you want an intricate design, a natural look, or just need a manicure fix, press-ons have you covered. Let’s dive into the world of crafting perfect full press-on nails.

1. Choosing the Right Material
  • Acrylic: Durable and long-lasting, acrylic nails are a favorite for many. They can be filed into various shapes and lengths to fit your preference.
  • Gel: They look more natural than acrylics and are more flexible. However, they might not last as long as acrylics. Una Gella is the brand of gel full coverage tips that I recommend as they come pre-filed on the underside and come in different shapes.
2. Prepping Your Natural Nails Before application:
  • Clean your nails using alcohol wipes.
  • Push back the cuticles with a glass cuticle pusher.
  • Gently buff the surface of your nails to remove the shine from your nails. This helps the adhesive stick better.
3. Sizing and Fitting
  • Most press-on nail kits come with various sizes. Choose the one that best fits each nail.
  • If a nail is slightly larger, use a nail file to adjust the size.
4. Customizing Your Look
  • Use nail stands to paint, dip, and add jewels, decals, or any other embellishments before attaching the press-ons to your nails for a seamless look. Attach the press-ons to the nail stands with putty.
5. Choosing the Right Adhesive: Sticky Tabs vs. Nail Glues

One of the most crucial aspects of ensuring your press-on nails last and look professional is the choice of adhesive. The type of adhesive can make a significant difference in the longevity, finish, and feel of your press-on nails. Let’s delve into the most commonly used adhesives: sticky tabs and various types of nail glues.

Sticky Tabs:


  • Temporary Hold: Perfect for those wanting to wear press-on nails for a short period, such as a special event. If you want to wear them for a week, apply a dot of nail glue or dip base. But if you are like me, you may need to apply to the whole nail.
  • No Damage: They’re gentle on the natural nails and won’t cause any damage or residue once removed.
  • Easy Application and Removal: No special tools or solutions are required. Simply peel off the tab and press the nail on. To remove, apply cuticle oil and soak in hot water. Gently use a cuticle pusher to remove the tips. With this method, you can save the tips to use again later.


  • Short Lifespan: Typically, nails applied with sticky tabs might only last a day or two unless you use nail glue.
  • Less Secure: They might not withstand tasks like washing dishes or rigorous activities so wear gloves when doing dishes.
Dashing Diva Glue:


  • Long-Lasting: Nails can last up to four weeks or more with proper application.


  • Potential Damage: If not removed correctly, this glue can damage the natural nail.
  • Application Care: Must be applied carefully to avoid skin contact and ensure a smooth bond.

Your choice between sticky tabs and nail glues largely depends on your needs. If you’re looking for a short-term nail solution for an evening out, sticky tabs might be the way to go. However, if you want your press-on nails to last as long as possible, considering a nail glue might be more beneficial. Always read instructions carefully and conduct a patch test if trying a new adhesive for the first time.

6. Application
  • Once you choose you adhesive, apply it to your nail and attach your press on nail. Make sure to hold the press on in place to make sure the adhesive gets a good bond between your nail and the press-ons.
7. Maintenance and Removal
  • Avoid soaking your nails in water for long durations.
  • Use non-acetone nail polish remover to remove any nail polish.
  • To remove the nails if you used sticky tabs, soak your fingers in warm, soapy water and gently pry the edges.
  • If you used glue, I recommend soaking off in acetone in these bowls that you can heat water up to speed up the removal process.

In conclusion, the beauty of full press-on nails lies in their versatility, affordability, and accessibility. Whether you’re aiming for a brief nail makeover for a special occasion or a more prolonged, professional finish, press-ons provide a salon-quality experience in the comfort of your home. From selecting the right material to understanding adhesives and mastering application techniques, each step plays a crucial role in achieving that perfect nail look. Remember, it’s not just about appearance; proper application and removal are essential to maintain the health of your natural nails. With the right tools and knowledge, anyone can flaunt flawless nails effortlessly. So, the next time you think of a manicure, consider press-ons – your nails (and wallet) might just thank you!

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