Projects > Fiberglassing Your Nail
Typical artificial fingernail systems can compromise the health of the nail by covering up the nail bed. Here’s how you can “fiberglass” your fingernail tips, not the entire nail, using a bit of cloth and some superglue.
This system is strong, and if done right produces a good tone and won’t pop off or separate like acrylic nails. Separation can lead to that annoying scratchy double attack. Here is a description of the process, and some pictures to tell the story.
There are a few tricks to keep in mind. First, shape the cloth with scissors to follow the contour of your nail-bed. You are only going to cover the tip of the nail; you don’t want to cover the nail bed.
Next make sure the cloth is tight against the nail. You have to develop the technique for holding the piece of cloth. A cotton handkerchief, or similar cloth works best. Be sure the nail is clean, no dirt grease or oils; buff sand lightly before stretching cloth in place.
With the cloth placed properly, and tight against the nail, flow the glue through the cloth to the nail below holding the cloth in place as you apply the glue. Be careful not to overdo it. Use a smooth application of the glue so that the glue “stain” doesn’t have a chance to start drying before you have covered the cloth patch across the nail contact area.
Let it set for a minute or two and then trim off the cloth with scissors. After a few minutes apply one more light layer of glue. This is best when the first layer is still tacky.
You can use regular super glue for both applications. This will dry quickly & be useable in about five minutes. Or use regular superglue for the first application, and Gorilla Super Glue for the second application (only). The Gorilla Super Glue has rubber in it which helps with impact resistance, but takes longer to set - about half an hour. Gorilla glue doesn’t flow through cloth very well so use it only for the second application.
When the glue is set enough - 5 or 10 minutes is good, an hour is better - trim the cloth back to the nail edge . You don’t want the cloth to separate from the nail at the tip of the nail, which can happen if it is stressed before the glue sets.
Once it sets you can trim the excess back to the nail tip and then polish it up a bit with an emery board. Then apply one more layer of glue. Again, if you have the time use Gorilla Super Glue (with rubber polymers). It’s got an orange label with a blue plastic screw-on cap. This stuff resists cracking. It takes longer to dry but is worth it. Careful sanding and final glue application will create a nail patch that flows evenly from the nail edge.
If I am planning to use the Gorilla glue I do this process at night before bed, or when I might be driving a long distance in the car, or watching TV...any time when there will be time for everything to dry. If you are in a hurry before a gig you can do it all in ten minutes if you leave off the Gorilla Glue. It’ll hold up & you can do the Gorilla Glue later. That’s it. (picture 10)
This system leaves your nail bed alone completely. The repair is tough and can last 2 to 4 weeks depending on abuse and growth rate. New Super Glue will last longer.
Super Glue doesn’t like alcohol or petro-chemicals. These can weaken the patch. Also a lot of time in hot water can wear off some of the glue...I don’t know how...but you just add a little glue after all the water really dries off. In these pictures the patch on the ring finger has been on for a month. It never cracked. The pictures are of two nails being done - the middle finger through the entire set of pictures.
Viva el tone!
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