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DIY Glitter Nails using UV Gel Soak Off Polish

Updated on November 22, 2012
Soak Off Gel Glitter Nails
Soak Off Gel Glitter Nails | Source

UV gel polish is all the rage right now! It's a special kind of nail polish that is made to be used with a UV lamp. After each coat you put your nails under the lamp and it cures the polish into a hard, shiny and durable finish that can last up to three weeks. This stuff is amazing! If you are not familiar with these, here is a very informative post that tells everything you need to know about soak off gel nail manicures.

Here I'm talking about UV gel glitter nails. There are many different brands out there but the most popular one I've seen is gelish. gelish soak off gel polish has a line of beautiful glitter colors that you can apply using UV technology. The colors are bright, bold and blingy! There are some generics out there as well and I really can't vouch for any because I have not tried them but I can vouch for the tutorial I'm about to share on how to use loose glitter along with gelish Foundation and Top It Off coats. Also, usually when working with glitter, it can get a bit messy but I was really surprised that there was hardly any waste of glitter and I didn't have a huge mess of glitter on my hands. It was surprisingly easy to clean up.

From what I can tell from my research on glitter gel nail manicures, it can be done with loose glitter or it can be done with polish that already has glitter in it, like the gelish brand and other generics. Typical me, I am always trying to use things I have here at home sometimes with luck, sometimes not. So I had the gelish Foundation and Top It Off coats that I had purchased a while back and because I am a obsessive-compulsive crafter, I have lots of loose glitter. So I gave it a go and I'm happy to report that my glitter nails were a huge success! So for all who are interested, here's exactly what I did:

Supplies needed for DIY glitter soak off gel nails.
Supplies needed for DIY glitter soak off gel nails. | Source

Supplies Needed for Glitter Gel Nails

  • Emery board
  • Cuticle pusher or trimmers
  • Buffing block (100/180 grit suggested)
  • Soak Off Gel Bottom Coat such as gelish Foundation
  • Soak Off Gel Top Coat such as gelish Top It Off
  • Fine loose glitter
  • UV Nail Lamp
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Lint free wipes or paper towels
  • Small paint brush or similar brush
  • Extra nail polish brush from old bottle (optional)
  • Small cup, like a liquid medicine cup (optional)

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Filing and shapingBuffing the surface
Filing and shaping
Filing and shaping | Source
Buffing the surface
Buffing the surface | Source

STEP ONE - Prepare Your Nails

It's important to properly prepare your nails before you apply the soak off gel products. Also be sure not to use any lotions, oils or creams on your nails until after the manicure is finished.

  • Wash your hands and nails thoroughly.
  • Push back your cuticles and trim if necessary.
  • Use an emery board to shape your nails
  • Use a buffing block (100/180 grit) to roughen up the top of your nail and take the shine off. This is super important! It helps make sure the product will adhere to your nails properly and for the appropriate length of time.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Wiping nails with rubbing alcoholApplying the foundation coatCuring in UV lamp
Wiping nails with rubbing alcohol
Wiping nails with rubbing alcohol | Source
Applying the foundation coat
Applying the foundation coat | Source
Curing in UV lamp
Curing in UV lamp | Source


After buffing the surface of your nails, take a paper towel or lint free cloth and put some rubbing alcohol on it and wipe your nails with it. This takes off any dust from filing and also takes off any moisture or oils left on the nails.

After you wipe them with the alcohol, take the foundation coat and do one thin coat of foundation on every nail. Then put your hand in the UV nail lamp and cure for 1 minute, do the same for the other hand. If you have one of those lamps that fit both hands you can do them all at the same time.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Glitter in a plastic cupApplying the glitter
Glitter in a plastic cup
Glitter in a plastic cup | Source
Applying the glitter
Applying the glitter | Source


After the nails have cured for one minute under the lamp, they will have a sticky film on top and this is completely normal and it's actually going to work to your advantage by causing the glitter to adhere to the nails. So get your glitter ready and dip the paint or cosmetic brush into the glitter and then pat it onto your nails. The glitter should stick right onto the nails and should have good coverage.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Applying clear coat after glitterCuring in UV lamp
Applying clear coat after glitter
Applying clear coat after glitter | Source
Curing in UV lamp
Curing in UV lamp | Source


Apply a coat of gelish Top It Off or another brand of clear gel to seal the glitter and cure it under the UV lamp for 1 minute.

**Important Tip** I opted to use another nail polish brush to do this step and I was able to get my whole hand done so I didn't have to dip the brush back into the gelish Top It Off container. Whether you are using another brush or the gelish Top It Off brush, the important thing is to be sure and wipe off ALL glitter before putting it back into the container. You don't want to get glitter in your gelish Top It Off.

Repeat steps 3&4 for optimal glitter coverage

divider graphics made by Jamie Brock
divider graphics made by Jamie Brock
Click thumbnail to view full-size
Applying the final coatCuring final coat 2 minutes
Applying the final coat
Applying the final coat | Source
Curing final coat 2 minutes
Curing final coat 2 minutes


Now that you have the glitter on your nails, it's time for a final top coat. Simply do one more coat with the Top It Off or top coat of choice and cure your nails under the lamp for a full 2 minutes. Like the other times, your nails will have a sticky film but this time take a lint free cloth or paper towel and add some rubbing alcohol to it and wipe over the nails. This will take the sticky layer off and your nails will be perfectly dry. If you like, you can now apply cuticle oil, lotions and things like that. Your new glittery nails should last up to three weeks!


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    • Jamie Brock profile imageAUTHOR

      Jamie Brock 

      5 years ago from Texas

      younghopes- Thank you! I'm so glad you enjoyed the hub :)

    • younghopes profile image

      Shadaan Alam 

      5 years ago from India

      this is sooo cool and lovely to read, great hub, i love painting my nails often

    • Jamie Brock profile imageAUTHOR

      Jamie Brock 

      5 years ago from Texas

      marestanko- Thanks for dropping by! Yes, give this a try.. if you love painted nails, you will love this :)

    • marestanko profile image


      5 years ago

      I heard about UV nail polish but I never try... I will... I love painting my nails....

    • Jamie Brock profile imageAUTHOR

      Jamie Brock 

      5 years ago from Texas

      Jamie- Oh, this stuff is the BEST! If you do your nails with this stuff.. it will stay on for WEEKS without chipping. I am like you.. I love painted finger nails too but I usually just won't bother with it, because like you said, it just peels off in a day. That is what impressed me about these gel nails. It is a little bit of an investment at first, but it pays for itself pretty quick. I know they do it at salons so if you wanted to, you could just go and have them done once to see if you like them before getting all the stuff to DIY. Thanks so much for all of the comments!

    • MissJamieD profile image


      5 years ago from Minnes-O-ta

      I've never heard of the UV nail polish and I love painting my nails but hate when the polish is coming off the same day! I'm kind of rough around the edges and not very hub, thanks for sharing:)

    • Jamie Brock profile imageAUTHOR

      Jamie Brock 

      6 years ago from Texas

      Suzie HQ- Glad you enjoyed the hub.. it is fun to do this once in a while for sure! In fact, my nails could use a little polish right now.. Thank you so much for the votes up, for sharing and for the pin. Hope you are having a fantastic day :)

    • Suzie HQ profile image

      Suzanne Ridgeway 

      6 years ago from Dublin, Ireland

      Funky Jamie!

      Loving this cool idea and linking this to my makeup craft for teens. Every girl needs a bit of bling and these look super funky! Vote up, sharing and pinning! :-)

    • Jamie Brock profile imageAUTHOR

      Jamie Brock 

      6 years ago from Texas

      You are welcome, Linda.. Thank you for dropping by!

    • Sunshine625 profile image

      Linda Bilyeu 

      6 years ago from Orlando, FL

      Thank you Jamie for the reminder that I'm due for a mani and pedi. I'm on it this weekend! :)

    • Jamie Brock profile imageAUTHOR

      Jamie Brock 

      6 years ago from Texas

      KoffeeKlatchGals- Thanks for dropping by! I am glad that you found this interesting and a huge thank you for sharing and the votes :)

    • KoffeeKlatch Gals profile image

      Susan Hazelton 

      6 years ago from Sunny Florida

      How interesting. I am definitely sharing this. Up and awesome.

    • Jamie Brock profile imageAUTHOR

      Jamie Brock 

      6 years ago from Texas

      teaches- Thank you! I bet she will love it..they have tons of different colors of glitter and lots of pretty solid colors as well.. this gel nail system is the best. I'm still wearing them and they look flawless, even after a couple of weeks. Take care and thanks for stopping by!

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 

      6 years ago

      I love doing my nails. I'm a little past the glitter look, but this will please my granddaughter much. Very enjoyable read and so useful (voted as such!).

    • Jamie Brock profile imageAUTHOR

      Jamie Brock 

      6 years ago from Texas

      Jeannie, thank you so much for the vote up! I'm glad that you enjoyed the hub. This soak off gel stuff is amazing.. I just can't say enough about it... and it truly does last almost 3 weeks. If you want to look into it, I recommend the gelish brand. It's amazing and cheaper than the CND. The dividers I actually came up with them by accident when I was playing with Adobe Illustrator one day LOL! I thought they were kind of cool looking so when I did this hub I imported it into photoshop and "glitterized" it. They ended up looking perfect for the hub. Thanks so much for dropping by!

    • Jeannieinabottle profile image

      Jeannie InABottle 

      6 years ago from Baltimore, MD

      This is so cool. I have never heard if this before, but now I want to try it. Three weeks of nail polish sounds great. Also, I really like how you presented this. Those red, glitter dividers are awesome! I am still trying to figure out how you created them. Great hub and voted up!


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