(Just Another) Mani Monday: Nail Foils (aka Robot Nails)



Most of us have seen the nail foil pictures floating around the internet, particularly Pinterest.  Most of the time they don’t link to anywhere (seriously, that’s a huge pet peeve of mine…), and often the captions will claim that there’s a magical polish that will create this effect.  Some say Sephora, some say Essie.  The closest you’ll get in a polish is Layla Mirror Effects… but it’s still not perfect.

What IS creating those lovely nails?  Nail foil!  (Or Minx nails/fake nails).

A lot of ladies are familiar with nail foil, but I think just as many have never even heard of it.  I didn’t know about it until recently!

I bought my foil and glue from Transdesign, but you can also get them from Dollar Nail Art cheaply.

Supplies you’ll need:  Foil Glue (this is important- it remains sticky after it dries, which is absolutely needed), nail foil, and a Q-tip.  I cut the foil into small nail-sized squares.

I’m going to go over a brief how-to, but this is the video I used for reference:  it’s by Miss80Million and you can find it here.  I did these earlier while my husband was at work, so there was no one to take ‘action’ shots.  With the video, you can watch her put the foils on from start to finish.

First step: Glue!

Here’s a shot of a nail with a layer of glue, and the one next to it plain.  You simply paint a layer of glue on the nail.  You don’t want it to be too thick, but you do want it to cover everywhere you’d like the foil.

After the glue is completely dry (do not touch it- it will be clear when its dry), place a piece of foil carefully over the nail.

Use the Q-tip to carefully smooth it out over the entire nail bed.

Once you’ve smoothed it onto the nail, the sheet will easily be removed.  There’s a thin plastic layer over the foil that pulls away (along with all foil that didn’t adhere- hence why you need glue everywhere!)

I won’t lie, my camera took AWFUL photos of these.  I’ve never had to photograph something pure metallic, so I’m sure there’s tricks or things I was unaware of.

They were a little bumpy- I didn’t take a ton of prep time, and simply laid down a base coat, glue and foil.  Much like the metallic polishes, these look a lot nicer on a smooth nail bed.

Little blurry shot to show off the effect.

The downsides?  This was the first time I EVER applied these, and my glue lines weren’t super great so the sides of my nails were wonky and uneven.  You also need to be careful- it can be so easily to bump your nail with a sheet before you’re ready, and it WILL adhere instantly.  Not good!

But overall, these are super cheap, and it’s a really fun mani.  They’re not Dollar Nail Art in particular has TONS and TONS of foils- the patterned/holo ones wouldn’t show off every bump and imperfection as much, either!

One last note.  They tell you not to use a fast dry topcoat, so of course I did just that.  Here’s the result:

Crackles!  This would be a fun look for a ‘broken mirror’ effect, right?

One thing I did not buy, and should have, was the foil topcoat.  I’ve heard that a non-fast dry topcoat works fine- but I discovered today that I don’t OWN any non fast-dry topcoats.   A topcoat of some kind, though, is absolutely needed.  All my nails but the thumb (with the fast dry topcoat) remained slightly sticky and were almost instantly messed up.

So anyways- try to overlook my not-so-great photos this time- and be sure to try this out!  There are some awesome foils to try, and they’re really quick, easy, and CHEAP!


9 responses

  1. skaytanikpolishes

    Broken Mirror effect is AWESOME!!! 😀 Black polish with cracked mirror tips would be amazing!

    August 28, 2012 at 1:17 am

  2. I Love Foils too:) I figured out even the regular topcoat makes it crackle some. I heard the best thing to use is nail art sealer. http://www.ussalonsupply.com/Star-Nail-Semi-Permanent-Polish-Sealer_p_15068.html?gdftrk=gdfV22437_a_7c751_a_7c5244_a_7cBMX_d_ST_d_ECO1272

    hope this helps:)

    August 28, 2012 at 8:44 am

  3. I kinda dig the brocken mirror effect – it wuld be great in honor of the Once Upon a Time season premier on Sept 8th. 🙂 Just sayin’

    August 28, 2012 at 9:42 am

  4. Thats what I was thinking!!! Well, my first thought was Snow White, but that’s sort of tied into Once Upon A Time 🙂

    And Ooooooh, I didn’t know when the premier was- yay! We have the recordings set, though, so I’m sure I’d notice eventually when new ones came one!

    This is the only foil I have, but I think I’m going to buy a bunch of the fun ones at Dollar Nail Art. They’re super quick to do!

    August 28, 2012 at 4:32 pm

  5. it is very pretty and m surely gonna do this with lots of shades and colors…..

    August 28, 2012 at 11:28 pm

  6. Oh definitely! It’s so quick and easy. The silver is a little harder because every imperfection shows through, but the patterned ones will be awesome. I think it’s even faster (and cheaper!!) than the SH nail polish strips.

    August 29, 2012 at 12:42 am

  7. kandy

    Thank you for this post 🙂

    I get my Nail Foil Top Coat at Amazon called “Nail Foil Transfer Top Coat and Sealant” here: http://www.amazon.com/Nail-Foil-Transfer-Coat-Sealant/dp/B00E6ZA94W

    It’s only $1.99, It works really well and keeps my foils looking great! I can even top it with my Sally Hanson No Chip Acrylic Polish and it lasts as long as normal acrylic polish.

    November 3, 2013 at 1:31 pm

  8. Very pretty! My wife says this nail foil top coat is the best: http://goo.gl/hyp912

    March 20, 2016 at 12:07 pm

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