How to Apply Nail Foils on Dip Powder

Here’s How to Apply Nail Foils for Easy Dip Powder Nail Art

Nail foils are hands down the easiest way to jazz up your DIY manicures with nail art. They are incredibly easy to apply and perfect for adding a little extra “something something” to your nails.

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watch video: how to apply nail foils

If you want super easy nail art that you can do at home, nail foils offer a classy, yet simple way to jazz up your manicure. Plus, you can get them in just about any color.

nail foil designs on diy dip powder nails

Some of my favorites are mixing the rose gold foils with a neutral base color. It’s also fun to grab some seasonal colors, like a bright orange foil.

black and orange nail design with nail foils for halloween

It looks awesome on a black nail base for the spooky holiday season.

Products Needed for Nail Foils

Nail foils are applied using your dip liquid base coat. That means you don’t need many supplies to create this simple nail art at home.

  • Nail Foil Flakes Kit – I love this collection of nail foils because it comes with the perfect assortment of colors.
  • Clear Dip Powder – to protect your nail foils, you need to encapsulate them in a clear dip powder.

You can use any dip liquid kit to apply these. However, I recommend using a base liquid with a slow-drying formula. This will give you more time to apply your nail foils.

Here are my favorite slow-drying dip liquids:
  • Sparkle & Co dip liquid set – these liquids dry more slowly. Plus, they’re one of my favorite beginner-friendly dip nail kits to recommend as they’re easy to work with.
  • Makartt Dippies dip liquid set – these liquids also dry more slowly. This dip nail kit is also super affordable!

Here’s How to Apply Nail Foils for Beginner-Friendly Nail Art

Before you begin applying nail foils, you’ll need to apply dip powder. You can follow your usual application process.

Once you’ve activated, buffed your nails smooth, and cleaned any dust and debris from the nail, you’re ready to begin applying the nail foils. It’s recommended that you buff your nails before adding the foils. That way you aren’t at risk of buffing away your foils if you have to smooth out any lumps and bumps.

Step 1) Prepare the Nail Foils

Many foils will come in larger chunks. I recommend breaking them into smaller pieces before applying them to the nail.

break up nail foils before applying to dip powder nails

There isn’t a “right” or “wrong” way to do this. Simply break them up into your preferred size.

Step 2) Apply a Thin Layer of Base Liquid

Using your base liquid, apply a thin layer of base liquid where you’d like to place the nail foils.

apply base dip liquid where you'd like to place the nail foils

To avoid placing too much liquid on the nail, be sure to wipe your brush to remove any excess. These nail foils are so thin that it doesn’t take much to make them stick.

Step 3) Place the Nail Foils

You can now place the nail foils on your nail.

use a toothpick to place nail foils onto the nail

The easiest way to apply the foils is to lightly wet the end of a toothpick. The toothpick will lightly stick to the nail foil until it’s placed on the nail.

You can repeat Step 2 and Step 3 until you’ve completed adding nail foils to all of your desired placements.

Step 4) Encapsulate the Nail Foils

To avoid ruining the gorgeous foils, it’s important to encapsulate them using a clear dip powder. To do this, apply base liquid to the entire nail.

encapsulate the nail foils using a clear dip powder

Then dip the nail into the clear dip powder.

NOTE: To get your nail foils to lay flat, some people recommend applying activator to your nail foils after application. However, activator can alter the color of some nail foils. To be safe, I recommend skipping this step and encapsulating it with a clear dip powder. The base liquid will flatten the nail foils to ensure the edges are secured.

Once your base liquid is dry, brush away any excess powder before applying activator. Then lightly buff the surface. You shouldn’t need to do much buffing at this stage since the nail was smooth before adding the nail foils.

Step 5) Apply Top Coat

Now that your nail foils have been encapsulated, you can apply top coat following your dip liquid top coat process.

apply top coat to nail foils

When your top coat is dry, you are all done and ready to enjoy your fresh manicure!


Nail foils are an incredibly easy nail art design you can do at home! The only other nail art that may be just as easy is learning how to apply a nail sticker.

Just remember to avoid applying your activator directly to your nail foils. This can alter the color. That is why it’s recommended to encapsulate with a clear dip powder.

More Nail Art Ideas

Nail foils like this aren’t the only nail art design you can do over dip powder! You can see all of the nail art ideas you can do with dip powder nails here.

If you want to try some more challenging nail art designs, I recommend this beginner-friendly trick for doing an ombre dip powder design.

You can also create easy glitter ombre dip nails by following this 2-step tutorial.

If you need some inspiration, you can check out nail art inspo on Pinterest too!

Ready for More DIY Dip Nail Recommendations?

You can find all of the best DIY nail product recommendations and essentials by visiting my Amazon storefront.

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