How to Apply Water Decals

As promised, ladies, here’s an easy peasy picture tutorial on how to apply nail art water decals. For this tutorial I used the DF03′s from Viva la Nails.

You will need…
:: A small pot/bowl of water (room temperature is best – not hot or cold)
:: Top coat
:: Your decals, of course
:: Nicely painted nails – DRY!
:: Optional – a towel on your lap is useful, and so are tweezers!

First of all, you’ll want to remove the plastic sheet from the decal sheet if there is one. Then, cut out all the decals you plan to use and lay them out where they’re easy to access (I’ve only done five here as I’d already done one hand and just did this one for the tutorial).

Carefully place the first decal in the bowl of water. Sorry the edges of mine look a bit scummy – this is the bowl I used when I tried (and failed) water marbling! Leave it for a good 10 seconds or so. 30 seconds to a minute is what’s recommended for most decals but they never need that long.

Gently remove the decal from the water – you can use tweezers if you like but I just use fingers. Place it face down onto the index finger of your opposite hand (the one you’re not decorating). Using your thumb, gently slide the backing paper away and discard it. If it’s not sliding off, return it to the water for a few seconds.

You’ll be left with the decal on your finger – now just gently press it over the nail you’re decorating to place it. It will remain prone to sliding around for a minute or so until it dries, so use this opportunity to get it exactly where you want it and smooth out any air bubbles if present, then leave well alone for a minute until it dries in place. Repeat for the rest of the hand, and apply topcoat. I suggest doing one hand at a time, because if you haven’t yet applied topcoat to one hand and you get those fingers wet whilst doing the other hand, the decals will be able to move again.

Et voila! Final step is to admire your handiwork and blog it! :) I hope this has been useful despite the fact that I’m not the most coherent explainer!

Hints and Tips
:: Most decals work best on top of lighter base colours. I used a darker colour for my base here and it doesn’t look as good as it would over a light colour
:: It doesn’t matter whether you put the decal in the water face up or face down. Try not to push it into the water or drop it in from a great height, else it will fall to the bottom of the bowl. That won’t ruin the decal, it will just make it a lot more difficult to retrieve!

13 thoughts on “How to Apply Water Decals

  1. Thanks for this I’m going to try using mine at some point. And this was not how I thought to use them at all! Mine will probably end up on my face or summit. ;)

  2. @Sarah: Thanks, it’s really not too hard though! :)

    @KittenMittens: Oh they’re so much better than stickers in lots of ways aren’t they?

    @Bicky: Velcome ;D hahaha I would love to see that. Water decal FOTD!

    @Nic: You should, they’re fun!

    @Beauty Addict: Thank you, I’m glad! Let me know if you do :)

    @Lisa: Haha yeah I guess it kind of is!

    @Rachelle: You’re welcome!


  3. WTF! i must own some of these once my nails grow out fer sure, fiddly but SO loverly! wowowowow, love the effect.. greaaaat tutorial, so simple to follow and can do it as the visuals + pics and steps you’ve wrote are FAB! much love xxxxx

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