Use Acrylic Paints for designing your Nail Art

There is this one thought that crosses my minds every time I do nail art or think of it. The thought of wasting or drying out the nail paint I use for creating designs (free hand design using brushes, using a dotting tool, toothpick, straw etc) on my painted nails. Really, nail paints are very precious to me, so much so that even seeing fancy images of nail paints spilled over or flowing out of bottle for effects makes my heart sinkL. Now imagine when I have to actually pour our nail paint on a palette to use them for designing my solo color painted nails. Each drop of nail paint flowing out weakens me as if they were drops of blood trickling down my veins (I feel sad even as I write this :( ).

The grief of wasting nail paint each time pushed me to do an experiment. I substituted the nail paint I used to create designs with acrylic paints. Now these are very common acrylic paints that had been lying around my house for long. My mom used to do a lot of fabric painting earlier, so I gifted her a new set of acrylic paint with the intention of reviving her dormant hobby. Unfortunately it didn’t work so the box came back to me (I don’t know I should be happy or sad here). After seeing those brilliant colors sitting on my rack everyday for months, I decided to use them.

Read my nail art tutorials (this, this and this) to see what they look like. Now the major two concerns were:

  • Will the consistency be right, will it be easy to work with?
  • Will it stay or I would see the designs fading as soon as I dip my hand in water?

Few of my friends also wanted me an answer to these questions so with very low hope to success I decided to take this on. And it was not a ‘Hit’ but ‘Super Hit’ :D :D :D

This is my set of Acrylic Paint. You can choose yours.

Nail Art with Acylic Paint

Following are the benefits of acrylic paint over nail paints for designing:

  1. Acrylic paints are much cheaper.
  2. The quantity is way more even for a lesser price.
  3. The consistency of the acrylic paint makes it easier to work with than nail paints. It gives you more flexibility to create designs which is restricted by nail paints (Nail Paints are thicker).
  4. The best thing is you don’t have to worry of your nail paint drying off your palette. Nail Paints get thick and coagulated in seconds making it extremely unworkable. Now you either keep pouring fresh nail paint on palette every minute which will result into huge wastage. Or draw up your designs quickly to avoid wastage. Both the options are recipe for disaster.
  5. The nail paint dries on your brush so many times in midst of painting and create ugly patchy designs. Now even if you touch brush to fresh paint, it will still wrap around the older frozen paint, making the brush thicker and incapable of creating finer designs.
  6. It saves the life of your brush since acrylic will go off just by washing with water. You can just dip your brush in a small pot of water and use same brush for creating designs using different colors. This saves on acetone also which you would otherwise use to wash off the brush :(
  7. I am using the one which comes in bottle with wide mouth so I don’t even have to pour out on palette. I can just dip brush or dotting tool to the bottle and I am good to go. Even the little on the lid also is of great help :(
  8. You know the greatest thing about using them is that they make much more creative and experimental. Why? Because you can wash off a design that doesn’t picture as neat on your nails as what you had conceived in mind. Unlike while working with nail paint I have to remove the entire design plus two coats of nail paint plus the base coat offL. So I am no longer scared of making mistakes and this gives me so much mental piece to just paint anything and see how it looks like :D

But be careful if the base coat is light color and you are designing using a dark one.

My Acrylic Paint bottle


  • You MUST seal it with top coat. My top coat was just over the day I designed my nails with acrylic .Arggg…It was just a few drops left not enough for entire nail but enough to just cover my design . I did that and then the    next day when I bought a new top coat and covered all my nails. It saved my nail art. And yesterday (after 6 days) when I removed the nail paint the design was the last thing to go off. :P
  • It’s also a good idea to cover your base color with transparent coat and then work with acrylic paints. In case of mistake, the paint can be washed off easily without staining your base color J


Now all the best girls for next nail art with acrylic paints. Be innovative and experimental now with a cushion of mental peace and ease. I wish someone had told me this earlier :(

Please let me know if this article helped you or if you have any questions. Stay Creative!!

Setu Rohini

I am crazzzzy polish and nail art obssesed girl. I love experimenting with beauty and sharing my experiences with you. Thanks for being here.


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  2. Haha!.
    Sounding a bit like how much E Harmony girl loves her cats but you have a point.. i think they even use acrylic paint at WAH nails and just use a really good top coat to seal it all.

  3. May be, but the results and ease of acrylic paints is really amazing..I feel like experimenting more now :)

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  5. Thanks for the info, I have added a bookmark.

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  20. Hello I was wondering its advised to wear base coat and top coat please could you help by giving me names of the best to use Ie long lasting and durable obviously the cheapest isn’t always best !! Also when you say put a transparent layer on over your base colour is that base coat you should use, if you could help I would be grateful Iv gone and brought pots rather than tubes thanks for that

    • It is the top coat dear. First clean ur nails n get rid of my oils, wear a base coat ,allow it to dry n den nail paint n den top coat.
      I m glad my post helped u.
      Now, if u cud tell me which country are u from, I would b in a position to suggest brands.

  21. Hello Hun thanks for that I’m really grateful you replied

  22. How long does the nail art stay
    Bcoz I had tried with water paints and also applied a top coat but it got washed away as soon as I went in water

    • Sneha dear, U r nt supposed u use Water Colors..but acrylic paints which are used on fabrics. And you MUST MUST MUST use a top coat on it..or it will wash away..lemme know if u have ny doubt or still face difficulty

  23. verry beautyful nails… and read more info about it
    arcylic recently posted…Creatively painted nails with blueMy Profile

  24. I love this idea and wanted to see if anyone was doing it. You are! But my only concern is toxicity. Some paints are toxic. I know that nail polish is in general toxic, so acrylics may be less toxic? Certain colors for instance, cad red and yellow are not good for you. Any thoughts on this?

    • Hi karen, I dont think it will be toxic or have any affects. Since the acrylic wont get in touch with anything. Once my acrylic paint is dry, I gotto top coat it. So its only your top coat which is on the surface. I hope it helps.

  25. Hey! That was a good learning. I have always been fond of long nails & applying different colors on it. Could you guide me with what brand of acrylic paint would be good to try arts on my nails. Also, from where do you get these nail art tools? I tried to do some art with paintbrush but dint turn out that neat. Also, how do get the glitter on the art?

    • Hi Dikshita, I use Fevycil Acrylic Paints or Hobby Ideas. I have not bought any of my tools from India, they are either from my Thailand Visit or There is a Blog Sale on my blog now, which has some tools for sale on deep discounts, see if it intrests you. I apply glitter on wet polish. Let me know if you have any more questions.

  26. How long does the acrylic paint take to fully dry so you can add a top coat?

  27. I’ve just been thinking this very thought as nail polish just doesn’t go on nicely to do any intricate design it’s only okay If you are painting the full nail. Thanks for this. I’m off to get me some acrylic paints haha x

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