Can you Paint on Acrylic Nails? (Here’s How) – Complete Guide

You must be wondering if you can paint over acrylic nails. Acrylic nails are a type of artificial nail made out of a polymer resin and a liquid monomer. They are usually applied to the natural nail bed using an adhesive and then filed and painted to look like natural nails.

The answer is yes, you can paint over acrylic nails! Acrylic nails are a great way to get long, strong, and beautiful nails without resorting to a gel manicure. However, painting on acrylic nails can be a little tricky at first.

Painting over acrylic nails can be a bit more challenging than painting on regular nails, but with a little practice, you’ll be able to create beautiful designs that will last for weeks! Here is a step-by-step guide on painting over acrylic nails like a pro!

What are Acrylic Nails?

Acrylic nails are artificial fingernails that can be applied at home or in a nail salon. They give you the same length and strength as gel bonded nails but without damaging your natural nails.

Acrylic nails come in many different shapes and sizes, including square, round, almond, and coffin; they also come in many different colours.

Generally speaking, the longer and more dramatic your acrylic nails are, the harder it will be to paint on them. If you have very long and elaborate designs on your natural nails, they may overlap with the fake part of your nail and interfere with your design.

I recommend shortening or even filing off any excess length for a better painting surface.

Should You Paint on Acrylic nails?

There are a few reasons to paint on acrylic nails, especially if you want strong and beautiful nails without the hassle of going to the salon every week or so for a gel polish manicure. You can paint your acrylic nails at home!

If you’re looking for an alternative to those expensive salon-style gel manicures, which usually last about two weeks, acrylic nails are a great option. Unlike gel manicures, acrylics can last up to three or four weeks, and they don’t chip or break easily. Plus, because the application process for this type of fake nail takes about 30 minutes in total, you can do it yourself!

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How to Paint Over Acrylic Nails: Step By Step Guide

1. Prepare Nails for Painting

Of course, the first step is to prepare your nails for painting! You can either remove your existing acrylic nails or leave them on. If you want to use them as a base for your nail art design, ensure they are completely dry before proceeding with the steps below.

2. Use an Acrylic Nail Glue

This is one of the most important steps in the acrylic nail art tutorial I’m sharing with you today! Using an adhesive, spread a thin layer over your nails, making sure to let them dry completely. This will seal your natural nail bed and protect them against stains from the varnish that you are about to apply. It also helps keep your mani intact for several days or even weeks! You can use regular superglue, but if you want something more resistant, try using special acrylic nail glue instead. Be careful not to use too much otherwise. You might have trouble removing them at the end of this process.

3. Apply Clear Nail Polish as a Base Coat

Once your nails are dry, apply a coat of clear nail polish as a base coat. This will protect your nails and make the varnish that you are about to apply last longer. Make sure to let this layer completely dry before moving on to the next step!

4. Apply Nail Polish Colors

Finally, it’s time for the fun part: painting your acrylic nails with nail polish colours! Apply two or three coats on each finger and use different shades and patterns for a more interesting design. Let it dry for one hour between layers. Just remember not to press on the surface of your fake nails too hard when applying nail colour; otherwise, you risk creating dents on them.

5. Finish Off With a Top Coat

Your final step is to seal the design with a coat of clear topcoat. This is what will protect your acrylic nail art and make it last longer! Make sure to let this layer dry completely before you do anything else; if not, you’ll ruin everything.

6. Remove Acrylic Nails

When you’re done painting over acrylic nails, remove the adhesive on your natural nails by soaking them in acetone-based remover. Then use an orange stick wrapped with cotton to take off any excess paint from the fake nail bed. You can also help the process by applying a bit of olive oil around the edge of each nail which should soften up the surface just enough for smooth removal. Don’t forget to file your nails down, so they look nice and neat.

7. Clean Up the Edges

Use an alcohol-based nail polish remover to clean up any messes you might have made with your acrylic nail art. You can also use a professional-grade sealer or clear top coat for an even more long-lasting effect. If parts look unprofessional, go ahead and fix them before moving on to step 8 below.

8. Apply Cuticle Oil

To finish off your amazing nail design, massage a bit of cuticle oil onto your nails and cuticles to keep them healthy! You can use cuticle oil pens or even regular lotion bottles if you don’t have cuticle oil on hand! This is also the best time to give yourself a manicure if you don’t want your acrylic nails to look unkempt.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Can you repaint acrylic nails?

The answer is yes! If you want to change the colour of your acrylic nails, simply follow the steps I outlined above and paint them with a new shade.

What if my natural nails are too short?

You can make your acrylic nails look like gel nails by using a special glue and sealer. Just remember not to press down too hard when applying your new nail colour!

What if I don’t have a nail art brush?

You can use a regular paintbrush for acrylic nails instead. Just make sure that it is long and thin enough for your needs, or you will end up with smudges on the edges of your design.

What if my natural nails are too short to fit the fake ones?

If your natural nails are too short to fit the acrylic nails, you can file them down a bit, so they match up more closely. However, if you do this, you will need to apply some spacer beads underneath each one. You can purchase these at any drug store or craft store, and they’re usually pretty cheap!

How do I get acrylic nails off?

You can easily remove artificial nails by soaking them in a bit of acetone-based remover. Just remember to file down your natural nails afterwards, so they look nice and neat!

What happens if you don’t apply a topcoat?

If you want your acrylic nail art to last as long as possible, you must seal down your design with a coat of clear topcoat. This makes the pattern last longer and protects it from any damage!

What do you do if your acrylic nail art comes out wrong?

If something goes wrong with your design, go ahead and fix it before applying another layer on top! To protect it, you should also always apply a top coat over your acrylic nail art. This is the best way to ensure that your design lasts as long as possible!

Your final step is to seal the design with a coat of clear topcoat. This is what will protect your acrylic nail art and make it last longer! Make sure to let this layer dry before touching anything to avoid smudging the design.

What if your nails are too long?

If your nails are too long, then you might have a hard time painting over them! You can solve this problem by cutting them down and rounding out their edges with a nail file. 

Can I reuse the acrylic nails?

No, artificial nails should be thrown away after a single-use. However, you can reuse them as much as you want if they don’t have any designs on them yet!

Can you use nail polish remover on acrylic nails?

It’s best to avoid using nail polish remover over your artificial nails. Since the acrylic material is easy to wipe off, it can be difficult to clean up any messes you might make while painting them! Instead, use a professional-grade sealer or clear topcoat for an even more long-lasting effect.

Can you change the colour of acrylic nails after removing old nail polish?

Yes! If you want to change the colour of your acrylic nails, simply follow the steps I outlined above and paint them with a new shade.

How long do acrylic nails last?

If you take good care of your nails, they can last as long as 1-2 months. However, if you’re a bit rougher with them, then they might not last as long!

If you have acrylics with gel polish, should you completely remove them before redesign or colour change?

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No, this isn’t necessary. However, I recommend filing down the edges so you don’t have any rough spots! You can redesign your nails or change the colour without removing them first.

How long can you keep an acrylic nail on?

You should remove your artificial nails after one day of wear at maximum! The longer you wear them, the more likely they will damage your natural nails.

What should you do about acrylic nails if you have gel polish?

If you want to apply any other colour over your artificial nails (such as a glittery top coat), then make sure to remove all traces of gel polish first! Since gel polish is much harder than regular nail polish, some traces of it might remain even after you have soaked your nails in acetone.

Can you use a regular base coat for acrylic nails?

Yes, but it’s best to use a specially-formulated one since the material is so different! This will ensure that your nails look just like you want them to.

If you want to make sure that your acrylic nails will last as long as possible, I recommend using a special gel base coat. This will seal down your design and make it more durable!

Can you paint over acrylic gel nails?

No, you shouldn’t reuse your acrylic nails if they come with a gel coating. I also recommend using a special base coat and sealing the design in place with a top coat to protect it for as long as possible!

How to take gel polish off acrylic nails?

If you want to remove your gel polish, you should soak your nails in acetone for 5-10 minutes. This will cause the gel coating to dissolve and slide right off!

What is a good base coat for acrylic nails?

I recommend using a special gel base coat when working with artificial nails! These products will help seal in your designs and make them last longer.

Can you keep acrylic nails with clear polish or without nail polish?

Yes, acrylic nails can be worn by themselves or with a topcoat. The decision is up to you! Just make sure that you use high-quality products if you’re planning on wearing them for an extended time.

Is it safe to paint over acrylic nails?

No, not unless they are made of 100% pure gel nail polish! In that case, no filing is required, and you can just apply a new coat of colour. Otherwise, it’s best to soak off your old artificial nails before applying any colour or designs.


In conclusion, You can paint on acrylic nails. Acrylic nails are a great choice if you’re not too gentle with your fingers, but they can also damage your natural nails – so be careful! You must take good care of your nails if you want to keep them looking nice.

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