How to Use C-Curve Rod Sticks and Nail Guides for Acrylic Gel Application

Acrylic nails are shaped and formed on a metal nail guide.
Acrylic nails are shaped and formed on a metal nail guide. (Image: Creatas/Creatas/Getty Images)

Most nail technicians apply false nails using the tip and acrylic overlay method that involves gluing on a nail tip and brushing on a thin layer of acrylic. True acrylic nails are formed freehand without tip application. Technicians that use this method form the nail on a bendable, metal nail guide. Once the acrylic dries, the guide is removed. C-curve rod sticks are used to form the nail guide in a curved nail shape before it is put on the finger. The nail guide and rod stick make it possible to form nails freehand without tip application.

Place the metal nail guide on the rod stick and shape the bendable metal around the stick.

Gently remove the metal guide from the stick without changing the shape of the guide. Tuck the curved portion of the guide under your nail and wrap the arms of the guide around your finger to hold the guide in place. Turn your finger to the side and check the angle of the guide to ensure that it follows the natural line and bend of your nail.

Prep the nail bed with bonding solution. Brush on bonding liquid and allow it to dry.

Dip a nail brush into the liquid monomer and then into the acrylic powder, forming a moistened ball of acrylic material.

Place the ball of acrylic material on the metal nail guide and shape it into a thin, nail shape. Use the lines on the nail guide to measure the length of the nail.

Pick up another ball of acrylic material by dipping into both liquid and powder again. Place the ball on the nail bed. Form into a natural nail shape and connect to the nail shape already formed on the metal nail guide.

Let the material dry for several minutes. Remove the nail guide. File, shape and buff to perfection.

Tips & Warnings

  • The acrylic needs to be laid on a bit thicker than in the tip method, but be careful not to get it too thick. The thinner the application, the more natural the nail will look.
  • Perfect the form and shape of the acrylic before you let it dry. If it dries bumpy or misshapen, you will spend a great deal of time trying to file it into a natural-looking nail.

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  • "Milady's Standard Textbook of Cosmetology"; Milady, Diane Carol Bailey and Margrit Attenburg; 2008
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