Artificial nails can be found at most any drug or grocery store but for many of us they are too narrow and just don’t fit. If they do that’s great and you will have a much easier time finding them. For those who have large fingers or want longer nails than the store offers this will be interesting for you. Longer nails make your fingers look thinner.
I use unpainted Talon Nails purchased from their website listed on our LINKS section because they are well made, extra long, and have numbers on the end that you don’t file or cut off. I cut the nails with scissors to my length and then file to the desired shape.
I made a lazy Susan then drilled holes for 1/4 inch dowels for the fingers and 1/2 inch for the thumbs. I sanded them so they are rounded on top to make them fit the underside of the nail. The smaller dowels go on the outer edge of the wheel and the larger thumbs toward the center. Placing two sided tape or the press on nail tabs on top of the dowel will grip the bottom of the nail so it stays put while you paint he nails. Press the nails firmly onto the dowels and then just rotate the wheel in front of you while you polish.
After two coats of polish followed by a clear top coat and drying overnight they are ready to wear. The best way that I have found to secure the nail is from CHIC’s first president Lane who used Dap contact cement pictured above. You can get it at Home Depot along with the throw away metal flux brush. Contact cement is in the paint section and the flux brush in tools where the solder is.
The very last thing that you do before you go out after hair makeup and everything is the nails. To put them on wash your hands then clean the underside of the nail and the top of your nails with alcohol and let dry. Using the flux brush spread a thin coat of contact cement on both the underside of the artificial nail and your nail and let dry for 10 minutes. IMPORTANT don’t cheat on the time because it works much better if you are patient. After the 10 minutes is up take the artificial nail and hold it at an angle so the back edge touches your cuticle. Align it with your finger and then press down and quickly check for straightness and make any adjustments quickly before it sets. Next roll your thumb over the nail so it is firmly in place and repeat with the other nails. Watch TV or play solitaire for another 10 minutes and you should be good for the night.
To take the nails off when you get home just grab the end pinched between your thumb and index finger and twist the nail off with gentle steady pressure. You can clean the contact cement residue off your nail with nail polish remover or acetone but be careful not to get any on the artificial nails.
UPDATE April 2016 I found a much better way to get the contact cement off of your nails when you remove them.
I discovered this one by accident when I ran out of polish remover pads that were my previous solution. I had just returned home and removed my eye makeup so it was still on the sink so I gave it a try. It worked like a charm removing all of the contact cement without removing the natural oil from my finger skin. AWESOME!
The nails can be used over and over again if you put them in a tin can or something that you will never eat or drink out of and just cover them with Goo Gone for 24 hours. Pictured below a BBQ grease cup is being used positioned as shown and then Goo Gone is added to just cover the nails.
The contact cement will just roll right off and then you can rinse them off in warm water but be sure to wipe them dry with a paper towel to avoid water marks. I store mine in one of those plastic pill cases with the days of the week on them that you get at the drug store.
UPDATE January 2014
Talon Nails asked me to try out their already painted nails which worked out very well and saved time in the process. They are the same material as their unfinished nails coming in popular colors looking great when done. The picture below shows the nails as they come in the package. I made a fixture from an unfinished table leg bought from Home Depot.
The nails are sitting on ice cream sticks glued together then to the leg. To give the nails a uniform size I used fewer sticks on the left for the pinky finger and more for the thumb and middle fingers. The nails should not extend more than 1/4 inch beyond your finger to avoid pulling off accidentally.
The nails can be cut to size using either scissors or the special nail clipper available at beauty supply stores. I recommend the clippers because they have a slot that they nail goes through and will give a much more uniform cut. Having the nails cut to a uniform size allows you to create spare nails should you lose one and know it will match the other nails.
Once the nails are cut to size you can just trim the corners and then file to the desired shape. Be sure to file the nails in downward strokes from the outside in otherwise you will create a beveled edge which will look like a white stripe around the edge.
The picture below shows the finished nails ready to wear. If you can find a color that you like on Talons Nails website you will save a ton of time using this method.
The finished product is very elegant and ladylike fingers. This nail length is very complimentary to your hands making your them look very feminine.