Nail Art · Nails

DIY Nail Art Board

Hello, all you nail artists out there! I made this nail art practice board for myself this week & thought I’d share with you. Silicone nail art mats can be used for swatching, nail art practice and making nail stickers/decals, and most sell for $10 or more. I recently saw this video (skip to 1:46 to hear her talk about her mat) and thought it was super clever how she covers a sheet of paper with clear contact paper to make a quick nail art mat! I decided to follow her idea and ended up making a board instead of a mat.

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You will need:

  • Foam board — I got mine at Michaels, also available at the dollar store
  • Contact paper or adhesive shelf liner, for the back (optional) — I got mine at the dollar store
  • Clear contact paper — I got it at the dollar store, also available at Target/Staples/Walmart
  • Washi tape (optional) — I got some cute ones at the dollar store
  • A ruler
  • A pencil
  • Printout of a nail art template (optional) — the one I used is no longer available, but others can be found here

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Steps:

1. Measure the dimensions of the printed nail art template. Add about 1cm (just less than half an inch) to each of the four sides of the template. Use these dimensions to mark out and then cut the foam board.

2. If you wish to cover the back with patterned contact paper or shelf-liner, measure out some contact paper to fit the board exactly. Cover the back with the contact paper. To ensure an even fit, peel off the backing of the contact paper at one of the shorter edges. Line that up with one of the shorter edges of the foam board. Place a ruler over the contact paper and hold that with one hand, holding the backing with your other hand. Slowly, glide the ruler along the contact paper, pulling away the backing with your other hand as you do so (see pictures below). This ensures there are no air bubbles trapped between the contact paper and the foam board.

3. You can use washi tape to frame the edges, as well as wrap over the sides, as shown in the picture below:

4. Now on to the front. Use your washi tape to stick the printout of the template to the foam board, centering it and leaving a gap of 1cm along each of the eges. Use a second layer of washi tape to frame the edges if you wish.

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5. Now onto the final step: covering it all with clear contact paper. This step is exactly the same as Step 2. If you wish to cover both the front and the back with clear plastic, cut out two pieces of contact paper in the exact dimensions of the piece of foam board. Just as in Step 2, peel off the backing of one of the edges, and stick that to one of the edges of the board. Then, using both hands, glide along the paper with a ruler with one hand and pull out the backing of the paper with the other hand to ensure that no air is trapped underneath the plastic layer. Repeat on the other side, and you’re all set!

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See the shiny plastic covering?

Clear contact paper is resistant to acetone, so you can wipe off any mess from a nail art session or any leftover polish right off! Let me know if you decide to give this DIY a shot!

UPDATE: This board is great for swatching or using as a work surface, but does not work for making decals due to its rigidity.

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