How to Make Stamping Decals


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Today I’m going to go through the step-by-step process of how to make stamping decals. This technique is also referred to as reverse stamping. Once you get the hang of it, it’s actually pretty fun and easy to do. Ironically, I’m not a huge fan of the nail art I made for this specific post. In fact, I even thought of not even writing this post! But then I realized that perhaps this information could be useful, even though I may not like the end result for this specific mani. So please be kind! I know it sucks. :P But I’ll also include some other decals looks I’ve done at the end so you can see I’m not a total dolt and I actually kinda know what I’m doing sometimes.

Step One: Get a slow drying top coat and paint sections on a silicone mat that are slightly bigger than your nails themselves. I’m a huge fan of the Bliss Kiss Miracle Mat.



I like the Miracle Mat because it has measure sections to help you know how large you need to make your decals if you want to cover your whole nail. I do a generous coat of the topcoat. I’ve had the best success when I don’t use a fast drying top coat. Those don’t seem to lay flat on the mat as well. You will need to wait until the top coat has dried on the mat before proceeding to step two.



Step Two: Stamp your desired design on top of the top coat. I used a roses design from Cici&Sisi and Konad Black. I will always make more decals than I need because inevitably, something will go wrong with at least one of them!




Here’s a great example of why I make extra decals. This one was so in love with my stamper, that he decided to come along for the ride after I stamped. This decal is now garbage. This happens most often with a fast drying topcoat which is why I don’t use them for this technique. I’m ok with having one man down at this point because I have extras!! :D



Step Three: This is the most fun part. It’s basically adult coloring! For the leaves, I’m using Revlon Rain Forest and for the roses, I used China Glaze Float On. You can use a dotting tool or a small brush to paint in the design. I will put a dot of the polish in a bare area of the mat and I’ll dip back and forth as I color it. I typically use a dotting tool.

I did all the green leaves first on all of the decals across the mat. You will want to make sure you’re dabbing the polish on and not swiping or brushing at all. Any swiping runs the risk of smearing the stamped design underneath.



Once all the leaves were colored in, I went back and filled in the roses.



It’s time to wait again! You will need to wait until they are dry before proceeding to the next step. I use this time to paint the first layer of my base color. For this look, I used Morgan Taylor All White Now. (Only do the first coat at this point. You’ll see why later.)



Step Four: Use a clean orangewood stick and slide it under the edge of the decal. It should lift from the silicone mat fairly easily. Once you get a corner started, you can also grab tweezers to lift and pull at the same time. Just be very gentle. These are going to be delicate and a little brittle.



When you flip the decal over, you’ll see the stamping design with the coloring behind it.



Step Five: In this step, you’re going to do one nail at a time. You will paint the second coat of your basecolor and wait a few moments for it to dry a little. It needs to be tacky for the decal to stick. If it’s too wet, it will smear the polish on the decal. If it’s too dry, it won’t stick on the nail.


Gently press the decal so it lays flat and covers your nail. Then, use cuticle clippers or small scissors to remove the excess decals. For more detailed cleanup close to the nail, I use the Elf Concealer brush dipped in acetone.



Step Six: Top coat! You’re allowed to use a fast drying one this time. :) This will seal the decal to the polish and will make everything gorgeous and shiny!



Step Seven: Repeat steps four through six nine more times. :D



Like I said at the beginning, this isn’t my favorite look and I can see a number of flaws. But I hope you’ll let that slide! Scroll down for some more looks I did using this technique.



Here is a Marilyn Monroe decal I made for challenge post, which you can see here.



This one is my favorite look I’ve ever done with a decal. It’s the TARDIS!!! I also did this look for a challenge. You can see the details of that here.



I hope you found this tutorial helpful! Making decals really opens up another level of nail art for those of us that can’t draw. I couldn’t draw a stick figure to save my life! Decals are a great way to get detailed looks without needing to be a master artist. :D

Author: Anne

Blogging about makeup, dogs, and mostly NAIL POLISH!