How to Apply Primer for Acrylic Nails

by Contributor ; Updated September 28, 2017

How to Apply Primer for Acrylic Nails. Acrylic nails are plastic nail tips attached, cut, and shaped to the natural nail. In order to adhere the acrylic nail tip, apply the exposed natural nail with a primer. This works by penetrating the surface layer of the nail with primer and it deposits chemical magnets that promote acrylic polish retention.

Items you will need

  • Ventilated work area
  • Lint free nail wipe
  • Rubbing alcohol or water
  • Cotton ball
Step 1

Prepare the work space and the supplies. Work in a well-ventilated area. Gather enough acrylic nail primer to cover ten fingernails. Remove excess primer from the brush by touching the brush to a lint free nail wipe.

Step 2

Apply the primer. Dab with the brush just enough primer in the center of the nail to cover only the exposed natural nail. Spread the dab of primer out into a thin layer towards the edge of the cuticles.

Step 3

Swab any skin exposed to the primer using a cotton ball and either rubbing alcohol or water. The chemical reaction can burn the skin.

Step 4

Allow the primer to dry to a chalky white before painting with the acrylic polish.


  • Priming the plastic nail tip is not necessary, but won't cause any harm when applying the acrylic paint. Don't apply primer to inflamed nails or skin it can cause burns.


  • Never apply or sculpt with additional primer over a wet layer of primer. This could inhibit the acrylic nail polish adhesion or cause cross contamination.