Nail Stamping 101

Nail Stamping 101

Forget hand painting patterns or drawings on your nails, take it to the next level, by stamping them!

So, what is Stamping?
Stamping is a transfer technique that allows you to paint intricate patterns on your nails in different colours of your choice, using a variety of stencil plates. There are many beautiful options and different ways to achieve wonderful designs. As usual, the tools you chose to use are very important as their characteristics and quality are going to determine your results. Check out our essential Cascabelle London nail stamper set here.

Below is a list of all the items needed, together with some of the key characteristics that these products should have in order to make stamping easy and fun.

The file is a very personal choice, some people like glass files and some people like very coarse ones, chose what works best for you.
Cuticle pusher
This is a tool that helps separate and recede the cuticle from the base of the nail. It elongates the nail bed and allows you to paint the nail without getting paint on the skin.
Nail polish remover
It is essential that it does not contain oil as it would not clean the plate and the scraper well.
Polish remover disks We strongly encourage the use of compostable ones.
This is arguably the most important tool as there are loads of different types and they vary enormously in size and firmness. We have chosen this one because it has two ends with different firmness so it is very versatile and because it is the easiest to use, making it especially suitable for beginners.
The plates have the patterns we are going to transfer to the nail. To achieve good results the carving needs to be regular and not too shallow nor too deep as otherwise it may be difficult to pick up the design. The plates and the scraper need to be cleaned after each use as the nail polish clogs the small nooks when it dries. We have given you five different plates in the pack to make sure you have a great choice and variety of patterns to choose from.
There are many types of scrapers but we advise to stay clear of the metal ones as they scrape the plates. Plastic ones are ideal but preferably not too bendy as it may be difficult to extend the nail polish uniformly.
Nail varnish
With the nail polish we recommend two contrasting colours, as they always work very well, the trick is to have a very opaque and pigmented varnish, quite thick in texture and pigmented, so it makes good transfers. There are specific Stamping Nail polishes but we find that Barry M and Models Own are readily available in many shops and they work really well too.
Base coat
This is generally a transparent polish that is used to protect the nail from the colour polish.
Top coat
In order to achieve top shine and a smooth surface it is necessary to wait until the polish transfer has completely dried and then apply a finish coat.
Peel off varnish
This is not essential but it makes it all much easier as any transfer that overflows into the finger skin can be removed at the end by simply peeling the dried layer away. A thin layer is applied around the nail and when it dries the transfer is applied with the stamper. When all is dry you just need to peel off the residue and voilà!
If you do not have peel varnish you can dip a small precision brush in nail varnish remover and clean the edges with it careful not to touch the nail and smear the design.


There are many stamping techniques and you can find lots of videos about it all over the internet, so we are only going to cover the basic technique in 10 clear and easy steps:

Step 1 Apply base coat to all 10 nails and let dry thoroughly
Step 2 Apply highly pigmented colour coat to all 10 nails and let it dry completely
Step 3
Apply two strokes of nail varnish to the plate.
IMPORTANT: Remember to remove the protective layer covering the plate before using it for the first time!
Step 4
Take the scraper and forming and angle of 45 degrees with the plate spread the nail varnish so you form a thin layer over the design.
IMPORTANT: Work very fast to avoid it drying before you can pick it up!
Step 5
Use the stamper and press against the plate over the nail polish so the pattern or design is transferred to the silicon.
IMPORTANT: If you have a stamper different from Cascabelle’s, maybe one made of plastic or a harder one, pick up the pattern using a larger rocking movement with the stamper over the plate.
Step 6
Apply the pattern over the nail by pressing it against the nail, rock it sideways to cover the whole nail if the stamper is hard.
Step 7 Clean the plate and the scraper with nail varnish remover.
Step 8 Repeat Step 4 to Step 8 for every nail.
Step 9
Wait for the nail varnish to dry and peel off the protective varnish to uncover the clean skin underneath or use the brush and nail varnish remover to clean any polish residue that may have transferred to the skin around the nail.
Step 10
Apply a top finish coat for smooth and shine results.

Remember, practice makes perfect! Check out some expert tips in the videos below: