Acrylic Nail Sets – A Complete Beginner’s Guide by Kara

Do You Love Acrylic Nails? Here’s How To Master Them Quickly!

In this post, I’ll give you all you need to know about acrylic nail sets and acrylic toenails from start to finish. The most important thing to remember is that practice makes perfect: Nobody will expect you to master it from the get go, and being a little messy is okay!

Once you get comfortable in acrylic nails, you’ll fall in love with them even more. You can then start sharing your new skill with your clients or friends. The best part is that acrylic nails allow you to create any nail shapes and designs that you want.

So let’s get started.

What do I need to buy?

You might have guessed it but you’ll require a lot of accessories for acrylic nails. Once you’ve got all the essentials, you’ll only need to top up on them every now and then. You will need in acrylics for beginners:A Manicure Set (scissors, file, buffer, cuticle pick, cuticle oil, nail polish remover, cotton pads)

I recommend this professional manicure and pedicure set by NunaLisa to get you started:

Nail Files Set, Professional Manicure Pedicure Set Nail Buffer Nail Files Double Sided Emery Board Grooming Kit Salon manicure kit Washable Effectively 13 in 1


Nail Dehydrator/Prep

I love this natural nail dehydrator and bonding primer by Cheri:

CHERI - Natural Nail Prep Dehydrator & Bonding Primer 0.5 oz


Nail Primer (Acetone Free)

If you don’t some already, I highly recommend this protein rich superior bonding primer by Young Nails:

Young Nails Nail Protein Bond, Superior Bonding Primer for Acrylic and Gel, 0.25 oz.


Dappen dish

My go to are this cheap and functional dappen dish set for acrylic nails from Omwon:

Onwon 2 Nail Art Acrylic Liquid Powder Dappen Dish Glass Crystal Cup Glassware Tools


Acrylic Brush

This amazing, professional, acrylic brush set by Artify Nail Supplies will set you up for success:

Artify 12 Pcs Paint Brush set Includes Pop-up Carrying Case with free Palette Knife, Large Flat Brush and Sponge for Acrylic, Oil, Watercolor and Gouache


Lint-free wipes

The best place to buy lint free wipes in bulk is Amazon:

GBSTORE 325 Pcs Lint Free Nail Art Gel Polish Remover Cotton Pad Nail Wipe


Acrylic Powder & Liquid

I often go for a great 2-in-1 deal, like with this professional grade clear acrylic nail powder and liquid monomer set by MiaSecret:




Acrylic Top Coat

Who could forget the top coat? My favorite is this fantastic mirror shine acrylic top coat by PrettyDiva:

PrettyDiva No Wipe Top Coat - 0.5 Ounce UV Led Cured Required High Gloss Soak Off Gel Nail Polish Top Coat - Clear


  • A pinching tool
  • Nail art (glitter, rhinestones)
  • Nail glue


A Quick Guide To The Process

The basis of beautiful, shiny acrylic nails is a good manicure. This step is easily rushed over but it makes all the difference. Also, taking the time to pamper yourself always feels luxurious!

  • Trim, file and shape your nails; remove any old nail polish (important!); push down your cuticles; and nourish your nails.
  • When your nails are clean and dry, start by applying the nail prep/dehydrating treatment.
  • Follow up with a layer of the nail primer.
  • Pour your acrylic liquid into the dish. Dip your acrylic brush in the liquid. Try to avoid bubbles, but if they do form, simply press your brush to the bottom of the dish and start again. Use the edges of the dish to drop any excess liquid.
  • Move your brush to the acrylic powder, dip it in and do a few strokes until a ‘ball’ shape of acrylic starts to form on your brush. At this stage you’ll more than likely have excess liquid, so wipe this off using the lint free wipes.
  • Place your brush on the top of your nail (close to the cuticle), then add pressure so the acrylic covers the whole nail. Dip your brush in the acrylic liquid in between, to make spreading it evenly easier. You can repeat the steps if necessary!
  • The acrylic is dry when you tap it and you hear it make a “ping” sound. Once this happens, you can use your pinching tool and nail file to shape your nails to the desired length.
  • Finally add your top coat to seal your acrylic.

Note: There is no need to use a nail lamp on acrylic nails, but you may do so if you want. This can help the acrylic set quicker. To find the best nail lamps for sale, click here.

While the process of doing your own acrylics may sound intimidating, after doing it yourself a few times, it’ll become second nature. You can also style your new acrylic nails any way you like, including applying nail decorations and stickers or by using your own nail polish. Most importantly, have fun!

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