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How I Do My Own Acrylics at Home for Less Than $15

It is a rare occasion that you will ever catch me without my nails done. When I was younger, my mom wouldn’t let me have fake nails, so I was stuck painting them almost everyday. The problem with this is, no matter what nail polish I use, it almost always chips in a matter of days on my natural nail. And who has time to paint their nails 2-3 times a week? Not me, and I’m guessing none of you do either. 

When I turned 16 I was finally allowed to go get them professionally done, and I remember spending $45-60 on just a simple french tip manicure. They looked great, don’t get me wrong, but after a couple of days, I noticed an air bubble under one of my nails. After that, I proceeded to rip the entire fake off and then got even more angry at how stupid I now looked, and ripped the rest off. Logical, I know. So, to recap, I spent $50 on a set of nails that lasted me a WEEK. 

I decided that it was honestly ridiculous how much I was paying to have my nails done by a stranger when I knew that I could do them myself. So I’m here to hopefully convert you to the DIY side, and here’s what you need to know: 

  • I spend $7 on a pack of about 300 nails that can last me A YEAR of manicures
  • You decide the shape and length
  • It takes maybe an hour to do
  • They last two weeks (if you’re nice to them)

If you type “acrylic nails” on Amazon, you’ll find thousands of nails to pick from, including pre-cut shapes depending on what you want. But, if you’re wanting my exact ones, I get this pack of 500 coffin shaped clear nails. I started off with regular drug-store nail glue, but I found that Nailene was a serious game-changer. If you need convincing, just read the reviews. You can order a pack of two for $7. Other than those two things, all you need are some nail clippers, a file, and whatever polish you want. 

Start by cleaning your natural nails with acetone, and find the correct size for each of your nails. The pack I use has 10 sizes, so there’s a lot of variety to find a perfect fit. Next, I apply a liberal amount of glue to my nail, making sure to cover the entire thing. Then, I match the edge of the nail to my cuticle, and press the rest down to ensure no air bubbles form underneath it.

A few bubbles are inevitable sometimes, due to nail texture or just user error, but they don’t make a huge difference on wear time. The glue dries in a couple seconds, so once you’re done securing the nail, you can move on to the rest. After they’re all on, I find that the length they come is a lot longer than what the average girl wants or needs, so this is where you would cut off the excess with clippers and then file to your desired shape. The rest is pretty simple, I paint them and add any designs I want just freehand. 

And that’s it! I love how easy they are, and this method leaves a lot of room for creativity. Like I said, they last from 10 days to 2 weeks depending on your lifestyle and how well they were applied. They also don’t hurt when they pop off, and if you want to save them, they can be reused in the future if you want! 

I hope this helped all of the college girls out there on a budget, or just any woman trying to look cute without spending $50 at a salon. I’ve also included some of my own designs for a little inspo!

But you can definitely slap on your favorite solid color and call it a day ;) 

Hi I'm Miranda, I'm from Fort Worth and am in my Junior year here at UTSA. Some of my interests are style, makeup, and scrolling through pinterest when I should be studying. In addition to Her Campus, I'm also a part of the sorority Phi Mu! If my writing isn't a perfect insight into my snarky personality, hopefully you can get to know me better through my artciels all about trends, lifestyle, and more!
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