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How to Paint Press On Nails Before Applying at Home

Last Updated on August 26, 2022 by SulaBeauty Staff

Press-on nails have been a boon for women constantly juggling their professional and personal lives. No more spending hours in salons just to get a manicure.

It is nearly impossible to have each and every color in your press-on nails collection. And there may be situations when you won’t have nails to match your attire. 

And that is when the painting of the press on nails comes into the picture. It can also be helpful if you have fake nails at home that are already painted. 

You can remove the previous color and re-paint them if they are still presentable and in good condition.

You can always change the color of your press-on nails based on the kind of dress you have to carry. It is pretty convenient and cheap. And to be honest, this works best for all the last-minute plans. So, if you’re wondering how to paint press-on nails at home, you are at the right place!

So, let’s dive in to know more.

Things you will need on How to Paint Press On Nails

Before discussing the process of painting false nails, make sure you know how to apply press on nails properly. Now let us see the list of items we might need for the same:

  • Press-on nails kit including different nail sizes, nail trimmer, filer, and a size chart.
  • A Paper towel will be required if the nail polish drips.
  • Base coat
  • Nail polish color
  • Brushes, if you wish to make patterns on the press-ons.
  • Sticky tape
  • Cotton buds for securing fake nails.
  • Nails stand (an alternative for securing nails)

Steps on How to Paint Press On Nails

Now that we know what all items or products are required, let us dig deep into the process and learn how to paint press on nails at home:

Step 1: Selecting the Right False Nail Shape

It is crucial to choose the right press on nails shape and size you wish to apply to your nail beds. It is better to choose the nail shape beforehand, as filing them later could be challenging. Many press-on nails are available in different shapes such as almond, stiletto, round, square, etc.

Once done choosing, try the nails on your dominant hand, and place them over your real nails to check if you have selected the suitable sizes for all your fingernails or not. Then repeat the same to check for your non-dominant hand. Now, we’re almost set to paint false nails.

Step 2: Prepare the False Nails ready to Paint

Before you start painting press-on nails, it is essential to secure and place them in a way you can paint them without hassles.

If you have access to a nails-stand, secure all the selected nails of your desired shape and size to the stand with the help of double-sided adhesive tape. Once all the nails are properly secured, you’re set to paint them with your favorite nail polish colors.

However, if you do not have a nails-stand, you may use cotton swabs and adhesive tapes.

How? Let us explain.

Take a cotton swab and wrap the cotton area with cello tape. The tape must be wrapped inside out.

With the sticky side out, press the nail onto the tape. And you may easily hold the swab while painting press-on fingernails. Now, secure all nails to such individual swabs to keep them ready to be painted.

Step 3: Paint the False Nails before Applying them

As all the nails were secured nicely in the second step, they are not ready to be painted. Apply a thin coat of nail polish with a steady hand using your desired shades while holding the swabs from the bottom.

Step 4: Set each Nail off to the Side to Dry

Once a single coat of nail polish has been applied to all the nails, set them aside along with the cotton swabs or the nail stand and allow them 15-20 mins to dry completely.

Step 5: Apply a Second Coat

After the nails have completely dried, apply a second coat polish of the same nail polish color for better finishing and best results.

You may also create nail art patterns if you like. Ensure to keep the patterns in proportion for both hands. Once completed, set the nails aside once again, allow them to sit, and let the nails dry completely.

Step 6: Use a top Coat Polish

After the second coat of polish has dried completely, apply an extra layer of top coat to all your long nails. It not only gives an extra sheen to your nails but also protects your nail polish and helps the color to stay for a good number of days.

Once the top coat dries completely, you may remove the nails from the swabs and apply them to your natural nails. You may use nail glue or adhesive tabs to apply the nails, whichever suits your requirement better.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are a few frequently asked questions from users who wish to paint fake nails. And in case you have similar queries, we hope to clarify all those here.

  • Can You Paint Press on Nails With Regular Nail Polish?

Yes, of course. Regular nail polish works fine while painting your press-on nails, just like your real nails. You may want to apply a layer of top coat to keep it shiny and if you want the color to last long.

  • Can You Use Acrylic Paint on Press-on Nails?

Acrylic paint can be applied over press on nails as it bonds to the plastic surface of the press on nails quite quickly. And if you want better results, apply a base coat to the flat surface of your fake nail and then add polish to it. Not to forget to apply a layer of top coat over it.

  • Can You Paint Press-on Nails With Gel?

You may paint press on nails with gel colors as well. However, it requires a lot of patience in drying. Also, the nails must be completely dry before applying gel color polish. If the nails aren’t dry, you may experience the color chip or peel out later.

Also, gel nail polish is not waterproof. Also, it may cause skin irritation due to its composition. And one needs to be very careful during its removal process as it may lead to skin irritation if not done correctly.

So, before applying a gel nail polish, keep the mentioned factors in mind.

  • Can I Put Top Coat on Press-on Nails?

Yes. A top coat can be applied to press on nails. It can be applied on top of nail polish for an extra shine. And it prevents the nails from bending and breaking. And secondly, it can also be applied to the inner side of the press on nails to allow them to stick firmly to your natural nails. Lastly, applying the top coat also helps strengthen the nails.

  • Can You Put Clear Nail Polish on Press-on Nails?

Yes. You may wear clear nail polish if you want pure shiny, nude nails. You are free to use it if it has a composition of regular nail polish. It would give your press-on nails a perfect shine and a subtle accent.

Applying dual layers would help the shine lasts longer and keep the nails from breaking and bending.


If you ever run out of press-on nails of the required colors or patterns, you always have the option to paint them on your own. This option brings along the convenience of painting the nails with any color of your choice, and it does not cost anything.

In case you have pre-painted false nails, you can permanently remove the color using a nail polish remover and re-paint them for your use. All sorts of regular, gel, acrylic nail polish may serve the purpose for you.

Rock those special occasions with your self-painted press-ons. And the best part is, no one has to know! 

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