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How to do Rhinestone Gel Nails at Home

rhinestone nails

I worked as a nail technician for over four years. It was a really fun job but, doing nails for that long really made me lose my love for it. When I first started I was always coming up with new nail art or fun nails to do. But the past 2 years I’ve been lucky if my nails weren’t chipped lol. Now that I don’t do nails anymore I’ve really started to have fun doing my nails again. The other day I came across a picture of rhinestone nails on Pinterest and I knew I had to recreate it. I went on Amazon and started buying fun glitter and rhinestones, and I’ve had so much fun playing with nails again.

I’m going to breakdown all the products I use and a step by step on how to do these rhinestone gel nails!

 Here’s a list of all the products you’re going to need to do Gel Nails at home. All of the links are all the products I personally use. I will also have a list of other, cheaper product options you can use at the bottom of this post.

*Affiliate links may be used in this post, which I may receive a commission from, at no extra cost to you.


Nail Prep

The most important part of doing gel nails at home is prepping your nails correctly or the gel won’t last and it will lift.

  1. Start by shaping your nails
  2. Push your cuticles back. You really want to spend your time on this and get as much pushed back as you can. If the gel gets on your cuticles it’s going to cause the gel to lift a lot faster.
  3. Buff the whole surface of your nail, you want the shine to be gone but don’t over buff your nails because that’s how you can damage them. I usually use a 180 grit buffer.
  4. Soak a lint-free wipe (or you can use a paper towel) in rubbing alcohol and wipe all of your nails. This gets all the dust off and takes the remaining moisture out so the gel can adhere properly.
  5. Apply your primer. When I do my own nails I do one hand at a time, if this is what you’re doing I would apply the primer one hand at a time as well.


Applying the Gel and Rhinestones

  1. Apply the base coat to your first hand and cure for 30-60 seconds. Before you cure it, make sure you have an even layer and you covered every part of your nail. I will always do 2 layers of base coat on myself just because I know it lasts longer on me. But everyone is different so you can play around with 1-2 coats to see what works best for you. Adding a second coat can also be helpful to even out the base coat if you didn’t get an even coat the first time.
  2. This step is optional, you can leave your nails natural under the rhinestones but I like a little bit of color so I did one thin coat of pink. I used Young Nails Pink 102. I’ll leave some links to other colors you can use at the bottom of the post.
  3. To do the rhinestones I do one finger at a time. So before I start, I get all the stones I’m going to use ready and I put a few drops of top coat on my table. That’s what we’re going to use to pick up the stones. I normally just use an orangewood stick but you can also get a crystal pickup tool.
  4. Apply one layer of top coat to the nail. Dip the orangewood stick into the top coat and pick up a rhinestone, then place it where you want it to be on your nail. Keep repeating this until you have the rhinestones how you would like them.
  5. Cure your nail for 60 seconds.
  6. Repeat on each nail
  7. Apply two coats of top coat and cure each one for 60 seconds.
  8. Use another lint-free wipe soaked in rubbing alcohol to get the sticky layer off of the top coat
  9. Apply lotion and cuticle oil

And there you go, you have DIY Rhinestone Gel Nails! I’m going to do a step by step of how to do these same nails with regular nail polish below. They definitely won’t last as long with regular polish but it would be fun if you have a special occasion or an event!


Rhinestone Nails with Regular Nail Polish

List of what you need for regular nail polish rhinestone nails. Like I said above these are the products I personally use, doing nails I get picky about what I use. I will list some other options in different price ranges below.


  1. Shape and buff your nails
  2. Apply Base coat
  3. Paint a thin coat of color, again this is optional.
  4. Apply top coat, and wait for it to dry completely.
  5. We’re going to apply the rhinestones the same way as the gel but instead of sticking the stones to the top coat were going to put nail glue on the bottom of the rhinestones and stick it on the nail that way.
  6. Once the nail glue has dried, apply a few coats of top coat to your nails to make sure they stick to your nails.


Other Options for Products

These are all products I have used and loved, the ones I have listed above are just my 1st choices when it comes to nail products.


There you go, that’s how I did Rhinestone gel nails at home! What’s awesome is once you have the gel products you can take these instructions and start doing your own gel nails at home! Once you practice a few times you really do get the hang of it! If you recreate these nails tag me in them on Instagram – @paytonnlee




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