At-home acrylic nails can be a lot of fun to mess around with and experiment with different techniques, colors, lengths, etc. However, a common problem with people that do DIY acrylic nails (or even in people that go to the salon and have an inexperienced nail tech) is ending up with bumpy, uneven acrylic, which is not only unsightly but is also structurally unsound, as the nail can chip or break due to acrylic is thicker in some places than others. If your acrylic breaks way down near your natural nail, you might even break your natural nail… let us tell you, it HURTS.

If you have milky or cloudy-looking acrylic or dip nails, click here to read our guide on fixing them.

What Am I Doing Wrong?

If you’re DIY-ing your nails for the first time and they come out all lumpy and weird-looking, don’t be alarmed. It was your first try. The best nail artists in the world have laid acrylic down hundreds, if not thousands of times; practice makes perfect. “Every master was once a disaster.”

If you’re starting to get more attempts down and your result isn’t changing, it might be an issue with your technique or products.

Low-Quality Acrylic Powders

Don’t get us wrong; there are plenty of cheap acrylic powders out there that you can get for half a dollar. However, these acrylics are so low quality that they often do not lay flat (and possibly contain carcinogenic chemicals), no matter how good your bead placement is. On the other hand, our acrylic powder lays beautifully, and each batch is made with quality at the top of our list. Click here to view our entire powder catalog; we have hundreds of options to choose from!

Too Much / Too Little Monomer Solution

Monomer solution is the bonding agent used to turn acrylic from a powder into a semi-liquid that quickly dries down into a solid; think how water is used to activate cement. However, using too much of it will result in a watery acrylic bead that takes forever to dry and often moves too much around the nail to places you don’t want it to go.

Using too little activator is the leading cause of bumpy acrylics. Because only the top layer was exposed to monomer solution, the rest of the acrylic on your brush will clump together and never lie down flat.

A good rule of thumb is to only dip the tip of your brush in monomer and gently tap it on the side of your glass to remove any excess.

So What Should I Do Instead?

First of all, make sure to use Fairy Glamor acrylics for best results. Our powders have been tried and tested by nail lovers all over the country.

Nail Prep

Proper nail prep is a big player in making sure your acrylic goes on nicely. Click here and scroll down a little to see our step-by-step guide for nail prep. If your nail beds are bumpy and uneven, you can expect your acrylic to be rough and uneven, too.

Buffing Acrylic Smooth

If you do happen to get a bump in your acrylic, you can attempt to buff it out with a nail file or nail drill. Simply file down the bump until the bump is as flat as the area around it. It’s important to note that this isn’t a save-all; if you have powdery pockets in your acrylic powder due to grabbing too much acrylic or using too little monomer solution, you’ll have a weird circle in your nail that is much lighter than the rest of the acrylic.

If you’re at a nail salon and you notice the acrylic is getting bumpy, ask your nail tech to buff out the nails a bit to see if it reduces the problem.

Quick Recap

  • Practice makes perfect! Try laying acrylic down on full-cover nail tips for practicing; that way, you can pop off the tips if you make a mistake. You can also use a false nail holder and practice that way
  • Stay away from low-quality acrylic powders; we know the prices are tempting, but these are the worst powders on the market, and it shows
  • Find the sweet-spot of monomer solution on your brush for best results
  • Use our acrylic powders if you want a beautiful manicure
  • Spend enough time on your nail prep
  • Try buffing bumps out
  • BONUS: practice pulling beads of acrylic before placing them on your nail, and lay them down onto a paper towel to see how well you did
September 21, 2021 — Sydney Howe
Tags: help question


Cass said:

This article was a game changer for me on how to do my own acrylics!!! Great tips and tricks! Thanks for sharing. :-)

Ariel Charles said:

I do my own nails every week sometimes everyday and I’ve never used acrylic powders or the liquid that I normally buy from the beauty supply store, and I wanted to know how much liquid am I suppose to use in order to get a smooth set of nails? I used it one time now that I can remember and it didn’t come out right and I figured I didn’t have enough liquid, but how am I suppose to know how much liquid to powder am I suppose to use for it to come out smooth and what tool do I use to apply the acrylic to the nails.

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Fairy Glamor designs unique 3-in-1 dip and acrylic nail powders in Galveston, Texas. We're a 100% family owned business that was founded in 2020 and went from making handmaking powders in our spare bedroom to shipping out of a big warehouse. We believe in both quality and affordability--that's why our powders are used by both professional nail technicians and in homes. Our unique colors are hand-designed to give you gorgeous manicures that'll make your nails feel magical.