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DIY Nail Art Designs: What's Your Favorite Decal?

Updated on July 25, 2014

An Astounding Variety

Nail art fanatics the world over are purchasing decals to use in their DIY nail art designs. If you're new to the idea nail art, you may wonder what decals are and how they are used, so let's explore some of the common types of decals and how to apply them.

Nail Stickers

Nail stickers are exactly as their names suggest. These are ordinary flat stickers that are usually self adhesive. They can be applied to the nail once a base coat of varnish has been applied, or can even be used on the natural nail itself. These stickers usually come in a variety of designs and colors and can add a unique touch to your manicure. There is something for everyone in most of the modern nail art sticker ranges. Some of these nail art stickers will have glitter details, and some include some very intricate designs that cannot be accomplished using hand painting or even stamping techniques.

3D Nail Art Decals

These decals can be considered the Rolls Royce of the nail-sticker world. These stickers are usually raised, and that's why they are often referred to as '3D' decals. If you're new to the use of nail art stickers, you may find yourself overwhelmed by the sheer variety of designs available. Some 3D decals include rhinestones, or other metalic details to add that extra bit of 'glam' to your DIY nail art designs, while others are glow in the dark or holographic. Luckily these decals are just as easy to use as ordinary nail stickers, but they add an extra dimension to any nail art design you do at home. All that is needed to apply these decals is to remove them from the transparent backing and to press them onto the nail. They are also self adhesive, and offer mess and fuss-free application.

Water Transfer Stickers

These stickers work slightly differently to other self-adhesive decals, and may involve a bit more effort to apply. These nail art stickers also come in a sheet form, with a special backing. To remove the stickers, you would need to soak it in water so that it's released from the backing. The sticker itself is really thin, even more so than traditional stickers or decals, so a light touch and precision application is necessary.

Nail Polish Strips, Foils, and Tips

Nail art stickers and foils are all the rage now, and may cover either the entire nail or the nail tip. This is one of the easiest and quickest way to decorate your entire nail without the use of nail polishes or small decals, stickers and the like.

Nail polish strips cover the entire nail and are self adhesive, so they are easy to apply. They are usually chip resistant as well. Users have mentioned that certain brands of nail polish strips even smell like nail polish, and the variety of designs is growing with each passing day. Many mainstream nail product manufacturers now offer these stickers, and they are relatively easy to find in drugstores, supermarkets or online.

Nail foils also cover the entire nail, but the real difference between these and the stickers is that these are usually metallic in appearance. It's a really fast and effective way to get metallic nails without the use of nail polish.

Nail tips cover just the tip of the nail and give the appearance of really intricate and perfect French tips. If you lack the steady hand or patience, then this is a must-have nail art item. The stickers are chip resistant and are said to last quite long, so you should be able to get considerable wear out of a set of these.

An Easy DIY Nail Art Product

It's clear that these decals, stickers, and foils make it easy to have salon-gorgeous nails any day of the week. If you're just getting started with nail art and do not want to invest the time to learn various painting techniques and the like, then these ready-to-use products may be just the thing. It's instant, easy, and absolutely gorgeous.


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    • Emeraldgreen21 profile imageAUTHOR

      Atell Rohlandt 

      4 years ago from South Africa

      Hello Cindy. Thanks for your comment. Foils are pretty much like nail stickers, they're just metallic and many of them cover the whole nail (a little like some of the nail shields you see for sale by sally hansen etc) so it's not much different but takes time to apply. Good luck and let me know how you get on.

    • profile image


      4 years ago

      I prefer stickrs. They r easier to apply. How do u do foils?

    • Emeraldgreen21 profile imageAUTHOR

      Atell Rohlandt 

      7 years ago from South Africa

      Thank you KoffeeKlatch Gals. It is amazing isn't it? I've recently learned how to make my own decals as well and I'm having so much fun with it.

    • KoffeeKlatch Gals profile image

      Susan Hazelton 

      7 years ago from Sunny Florida

      It is amazing how far nail artistry has come in the last few years. Informative well sritten article. Up and interesting.


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