Nail Art Stamping 101: Picking a Stamper

What’s in a stamper? Does it make a difference? What’s the difference between them all? There are so many!!

One of the most frustrating things about starting to do stamping nail art is trying to figure out what the heck is the difference between all the supplies!! This article will focus on the stampers themselves. The stamper is going to be your right-hand man when it comes to stamping. Passion for different plates will come and go, but once you find a stamper you love, you will be fiercely loyal to it! But where to even start?! I’m going to take you through the different stampers I have tried. I will explain what I do and don’t like about each one so you can make an educated decision yourself.

This article does not describe every stamper available. It is only the ones I’ve tried. One stamper I haven’t tried yet, but would love to, is the sticky marshmallow. They are very hard to come by and it seems that every time a vendor starts selling them, they get sold out and are no longer available. Argh!! But I digress…

Here are all the stampers I own. For some of them, I own more than one, but this represents all the different kinds I have.



Let’s take a look at these one by one. By the end of this post, you’ll at least know which stamper you want to try first.

Gray Soft Squishy

I don’t know what this one is called. It’s a generic, inexpensive stamper. Yet….It’s my FAVORITE. I first got it in this Cici&Sisi Stamping Plate set as a free gift. This stamper is squishy meaning that it’s easy to push in to it. Squishy stampers make it easier to cover your whole nail in one, firm press, rather than having to roll the stamper across your nail like you have to do with firm stampers.

This stamper is best at picking up creme and specialty stamping polishes. It does not do well with metallics or chromes. It needs a quick swipe with acetone every 4-5 nails to keep the images crisp.


Konad Firm Stamper

This is my second favorite stamper. The Konad Firm Stamper makes it more difficult to transfer the images than the squishy gray. It’s more difficult because you have to roll it across your nail rather than simply pressing down. This leaves more room for error and smudges. The reason why I like it so much is that it is excellent at picking up finicky polishes. It’s the only stamper I’ve found that will pick up and transfer metallics and foil polishes, such as the Sally Hansen Color Foils. If a polish isn’t getting picked up by my squishy gray, this is plan B. I don’t blame the polish until I’ve tried to use it with my Konad Stamper! This guy can pick up almost anything!




Wistonia Squishy Firm Stamper

The Wistonia stamper has a firmness in between the Konad and the squishy gray. This was my favorite stamper until I discovered the squishy gray. This one needs a lot of prepping to get it to work. Prepping is where you lightly buff the stamper head with a fine nail file and then clean it with acetone or a Mr Clean Magic Eraser. This one is really best at cremes and specialty stamping polishes. I have not gotten it to pick up the more finicky textures.

One bonus of this is that it is double-ended. The white end is the squishy end while the red end is quite firm. However, the red end is not large enough for full nail designs. But, it’s great for precise placement of small individual images on a nail. That is a very small need to fill, but I have found myself reaching for this stamper for that specific reason.




Vivid Lacquer Square Firm

I purchased this one because I love Vivid Lacquer stamping plates so much, so I figured her stamper must be great. I was wrong. I’m not a fan of this one. It’s firm, so you have to roll it on your nail (increasing room for error) but it doesn’t pick up the finicky polishes as well as the Konad does. I believe Vivid Lacquer is simply a re-seller of this since I’ve seen this exact stamper available on other sites. But, I’m calling it the VL stamper since that’s where I purchased it. I rarely use this one. When I do use it, I use it for making homemade decals. It works well for that!


Pueen Squishy Stamper

This one has little to no redeeming qualities. It hardly can pick up an image, so I can’t even really speak to how well it transfers things! I don’t ever use this one. It’s possible I haven’t prepped it properly, but I do think I’ve had enough experience with stamping to know how to prep. I would not recommend this one.


I hope this article answers some of the questions you’ve had about the difference between stampers! Have you had the same experiences as I describe! I would love to hear what your experience has been!
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Author: Anne

Blogging about makeup, dogs, and mostly NAIL POLISH!