Can You Use Acrylic Paint On Gel Nails?

Have you ever seen nail technicians using acrylic paint on gel nails? It is an enigma that many people fail to understand because they think acrylic paint is only used for making art on paper.

Using acrylic paint for nail art is “a new trend” because it is convenient to make designs from it. But can you actually use acrylic paint on gel nails?

Can you use Acrylic paint on Gel Nails?

You can use non-toxic acrylic paint on gel nails. The acrylic paint sticks strongly to the gel and provides a smooth application. Make sure to stay away from acrylic paint consisting of heavy metals and formaldehyde as these components are harmful to health if absorbed into the body.

can you use acrylic paint on gel nails

It can be tricky to use acrylic paint on gel nails and you can end up with a smudged and uneven manicure. Well, you don’t need to worry as we have a thorough guide ready for you to discuss all the tips that will help you. So, let’s dive right in!

Is It Okay to Use Acrylic Paint on Gel Nails?

Artists prefer acrylic paint for making enthralling pieces of art. Nail art is created as well, where artists showcase their skills. So, can you use acrylic paint on gel nails for creating different designs?

Acrylic paint is great for creating different designs. They stick to many surfaces easily. One of those surfaces is gel nails. 

In fact, many nail technicians prefer using acrylic paint for nail art on gel nails. It is because they get a free hand and easier application with acrylic paint.

Remember: only use non-toxic acrylic paint designed for nails to paint on gel nails. 

You shouldn’t use toxic acrylic paint on your nails. They consist of harmful components such as:

  • Lead
  • Formaldehyde
  • Cadmium
  • Manganese
  • Chromium
  • Cobalt

All these heavy metals are harmful to your skin as well as your respiratory system. Toxic acrylic paint fumes are damaging to your body organs if you inhale the vapors. Steer clear of toxic acrylic paints and don’t use them on your nails.

Acrylic paint won’t damage your gel nails. So it is a safe choice for nail art. It sticks to the gel nails strongly so it will be long-lasting as well.

using acrylic paint on colored gel coat

How to Use Acrylic Paint on Gel Nails?

Getting non-toxic acrylic paint for your nails should be your top priority. We have a step-by-step guide on how to use acrylic paint on gel nails. This guide will help you get an amazing and long-lasting nail design. So, let’s get started!

1. Prepare Your Nails

If your original nails are naturally oily or have grease or dirt on them, the gel nails won’t stick properly. The gel nails will chip off within a day and all your hard work and time will be wasted.

To avoid such a  situation, you must first clean your nails and get rid of any oil from them. Use rubbing alcohol and cotton pads to wipe them. 

2. Push Back Your Cuticles

a nail technician using a cuticle pusher to push back the cuticles

Use a cuticle pusher to push back your cuticles. This will make more space for the gel nails so that they look natural and are comfortable for your hands. 

3. Apply Base Gel

Take a little amount of base gel on a brush and apply thin layers on your nails. Slowly build the base by adding more gel. Never use too much gel at first and overfill your brush. 

The key is to use less amount and paint your nails in thin layers. This will provide you with a smooth, beautiful, and natural application.

4. Cure the Base Coat

Curing the gel base is vital before painting them with acrylic paint, make sure to do this for every layer for at least 1 minute under the UV lamp. The base coat is a must for gel nails.

Moreover, acrylic paint sticks better on cured gel nails. The uncured gel will be ruined if you use acrylic paint on them.

5. Apply the Second Layer of Gel

Apply a second layer of the gel after curing the first layer for 1 minute. The second layer ensures that your manicure is durable and long-lasting. Make sure to not use too much product for the second layer as well.

6. Cure the Second Layer

Cure the second layer just like you did the first layer for about half a minute or more. You can refer to our gel polish curing time guide to learn the exact time you should cure your coats.

7. Apply Gel Topcoat

Apply gel topcoat after curing the second layer of gel. The top coat will add shine to your nails and provide a better surface for the acrylic paint to stick. The paint vapor won’t be fuming in the air as well due to the topcoat.

Cure the topcoat under the UV lamp for about 1 minute or 2 as well.

8. Apply Vaseline or Peel Off Liquid Latex

Applying vaseline or peel-off liquid latex around your nails will prevent the acrylic paint from getting on your skin. It can be hard to remove acrylic paint and it can also ruin your nail design. 

If you don’t have liquid latex at home, vaseline will do the job. It will act as a barrier between your skin and the paint. It will be easy to wipe it off after.

Note: Make sure you keep the vaseline away from your nail surface. Otherwise, the acrylic paint won’t stick to your nails.

9. Apply Acrylic Paint on Your Nails

Apply your chosen color of acrylic paint on your nails. You will have to apply multiple coats because they won’t be as opaque as regular nail polish. Ideally, 3 coats will be enough for a beautiful manicure.

10. End with a Topcoat

Finish your manicure with a top coat to add shine to it. The top coat will keep the manicure long-lasting as well. 

If you use a gel topcoat, wipe it off with alcohol to remove the tackiness of the gel.

11. Cure the Topcoat and Wipe the Vaseline/Liquid Latex Off

wipping gel polish top coat with alcohol after curing

Before wiping off vaseline from the sides of your nails, make sure your manicure is completely dry. Place your nails under the UV lamp for 2 minutes before removing the vaseline or liquid latex. 

Use a dry wipe or cotton pad to get rid of the vaseline.

Tips for A Perfect Manicure Using Acrylic Paint

If you want a gorgeous nail design using acrylic paint, follow the tips mentioned below:

  • Apply thin layers of gel polish before using acrylic paint. 
  • Make sure to cure every layer of gel polish and topcoat for an even application. Otherwise, it will provide you with a clumpy look.
  • Apply a topcoat on the gel base before putting acrylic paint on it for better sticking and a shiny look.
  • Seal the acrylic paint with a topcoat to prevent it from smudging and washing off your nails.
  • Use a thin layer of acrylic paint for a well-defined and smooth application.
  • Use small brushes to paint with acrylic for delicate designs. 
  • Make sure to wipe the gel topcoat with alcohol to prevent any tackiness. Otherwise, it might smudge off and ruin the manicure. 

Final Thoughts

Using acrylic paint on gel nails is fine as long as you use the non-toxic kind. It shouldn’t consist of any harmful components. A gel nail provides a good surface for the acrylic paint to stick.

Acrylic paint is great for making complex designs and achieving a beautiful manicure, but make sure to seal the acrylic paint with a topcoat or clear nail polish.