For years, adding rhinestones to nail art and manicures has been popular, and is only becoming more popular over time, with the introduction of new and innovative types of nail rhinestone embellishments, such as 3D stones and crystal shapes. For the application of nail art rhinestones, it is essential that you have the right tools for the job. In this article we will be taking a look at the most important nail art tools and how to use them, vital for any nail technicians toolkit, including glue, rhinestone pickers, brushes and dotting tools, rhinestone storage, files and buffers.

Understanding Nail Rhinestones

Nail rhinestones are defined as small sparkly gem like embellishments used to decorate fingernails. The history of rhinestones is a fascinating concept, and their addition to nail art in recent years is a quickly growing trend. There are many different types of nail art rhinestone, from simple flatback round gems, to chunky 3D stones, pearls, crystal shapes and charms.

The most common type of nail art rhinestone seen on the market and in nail salons / beauticians etc, is the round rhinestone, which is available in a huge range of colours. The most popular of which are Crystal Clear and AB. Although these two colours are by far the most common seen on rhinestone nail art, there are many differences between Clear and AB, so it is worth doing your research to see which is your favourite.

These round rhinestones also come in a vast range of sizes, generally nail artists like to use smaller sizes from 1.8mm up to 3mm, as they are easier to work with and look dainty on the nail. However, it is worth looking into all the options available as some people like the chunky statement look.

The addition of rhinestones in nail art can be hugely significant, especially if you’re going for a luxurious or expensive looking manicure. It is also vital, if you’re a nail technician entering competitions, to show you can apply rhinestones to nails effectively using the correct tools.

Essential Tools for Nail Rhinestone Application

For successful rhinestone application, you’re going to need certain tools to make your job quicker, easier and to achieve a higher quality finish. Here are some essential nail art tools for your kit:

  • Nail Glue – This is a definite must have in your kit, although flatback rhinestones can be applied to gel and cured into place, using a specific nail glue such as Crystal Fix will ensure proper adhesion onto the surface of the nail. If you’re attaching larger or pointy back rhinestones to your nail art, glue is the only way to do this successfully. Nail glue is usually a thick gel like consistency which holds the rhinestones in place until you’re ready to cure them.

  • Dotting Tool – A dotting tool is usually used for creating small dots with nail gel, but you can also use it to add small dots of glue onto the nail, ready for rhinestone application.
  • Tweezers – Tweezers are handy for applying larger embellishments to your nail art, if a rhinestone pick up tool can’t do it. Heavier embellishments such as large 3D rhinestones or nail charms can be tricky to pick up, so tweezers are useful for this.
  • Nail Art Brush – As well as for applying gel, nail art brushes are handy for wiping away excess glue/gel before adding the rhinestones. They are also good for adjusting the position of your rhinestones without causing any scratches or damage to your design. The soft bristles of a brush are more delicate than a pair of tweezers if you make a mistake.
  • Rhinestone Picker – An essential tool for any nail artist wanting to do apply rhinestones to nail art. Rhinestone pick up tools, such as the crystal Katana or Tanto, are the best way to accurately and quickly pick up your crystals and place them onto the nail.
  • Nail File and Buffer – A file and buffer are essential for preparing the nail correctly before applying gel. For gel and rhinestones to adhere properly, the nail must be free of imperfections, grease, dirt etc. This also allows the base coat to be absorbed, giving more durability.
  • Rhinestone storage – If you like to work with rhinestones a lot in your nail art, have good storage for them is important. Not only do storage pots provide a good home for small embellishments, they are handy for separating colours, keeping them clean, maintaining their sparkle and enabling you to show your client which rhinestones they can choose.

How to Use the Essential Tools

To effectively use each essential nail art tool, make sure you follow the instructions that come with it, but here are some handy tips and tricks for beginners to achieve professional looking nail art:

NAIL GLUE – We recommend Crystal Fix by Rachel Wilders, this has a good gel like consistency which holds the rhinestone in place until you’re ready to cure it. Some glues, like this one, has a precision tip to squeeze the glue out in small amounts. If you’re working with very small crystals such as 2mm, a good tip is to squeeze out some glue onto a palette then use a fine tip tool such as a dotting tool or other end of a rhinestone picker to apply the glue in stages.

RHINESTONE PICK UP TOOL – Our favourite, and most nail artists’ favourite rhinestone picker is the Crystal Katana, however there are other good cost effective tools on the market that do the same job. Use the wax end to gently pick up the rhinestone and place onto the glue, then use the fine metal tip to adjust the positioning of the rhinestone (if needed) and set firmly into place.

DOTTING TOOL – Use this round ended tool to create dots and other intricate patterns on the nail, using just a small amount of gel. It is also great for applying nail glue in small amounts to stop any excess glue seeping, giving the manicure a more professional look.

TWEEZERS – Pick up your large or heavy embellishments shiny side up and place directly onto the glue. Try not to put too much pressure on the rhinestone or they may ping out of the tweezers’ hold.

RHINESTONE STORAGE POTS – Our top tip for keeping rhinestones in storage pots is to sort them by colour, size and type. And label the bottom of each pot with the contents. This will make things a lot easier when it comes to choosing the perfect rhinestone for your nail art. Plus it looks professional and prevents misplacement or duplication of a certain colour in your collection.

Maintenance and Care

It is important to keep your tools well maintained, as this makes them last longer and work more effectively. If you don’t clean or look after your nail art tools, they may transfer dust/dirt to your manicure and look unprofessional to a client.

A good tip for caring for your pick up tool is to wrap it in tissue paper in between uses. This stops the wax tip from drying out and prevents the attraction of dust. It is also important to keep the tip clean of glue, as glue dulls the sparkle of a rhinestone. The same goes for brushes, dotting tools and tweezers, if you want your tools to last a long time, you must keep them clean and organised.

As discussed above, rhinestone storage is an essential part of keeping your kit well maintained. It prevents damage and loss of rhinestones, which can be prone to scratches if kept loose in a bag.

Additional Nail Art Tips

When we talk about rhinestone nail art, it’s no longer just the simple addition of flatback rhinestones like it used to be; there is a whole world of sparkly possibilities out there, and it can be tricky choosing the right rhinestones. Here are just some ways to enhance your nail designs with rhinestones:

  • Floral designs – floral depictions in nail art has always been a timeless design, and rhinestones enhance these images beautifully. Our favourite floral designs are those where rhinestones bring out the beauty of the natural shapes and you can match crystal colours to the flowers – there are endless possibilities!
  • Wedding nails – Sometimes less is more when it comes to bridal nail designs. But some brides like to go all out in bling. There are many options to choose from for your perfect big day manicure, including nail shape, embellishment types and so on, so it is always worth doing your research on everything you need to know about wedding nails.
  • Vintage designs – Swarovski and Preciosa have a fabulous range of vintage crystals to get creative with, it is always fun to learn about how to use vintage stones within your nail art. They offer bespoke designs as these vintage crystals are very rarely seen.
  • Crystal pixie dust – Learning how to apply crystal pixie is easy and a quick way to add a luxury feel to your nail art.
  • Using different shapes – The use of crystal shapes within nail art is becoming more popular as you can create different patterns, depict images and create statement nails.

In summary, the key to successful application of rhinestones in nail art is using the correct tools, and making the most of their full potential. Whether you’re a professional nail artist, beginner learning the trade, or an at-home nail art enthusiast, it is important to work with the best quality tools available.

Nail art & beauty

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