Dip Powder Nails · Tips and Tutorials

Tissue Paper Tips

I’ve been cleaning like a mad woman lately, trying to make the household run like clockwork while fighting back at the chaos that ensues when three littles under 6 are the true rulers of the roost. This means I’ve found myself at a crossroad more than a few times in the past month. You know what I’m talking about- you’re going to town scrubbing that pan or throwing those clothes into the washer and you hit the cast iron or the metal of the washer just right and CHIP.

Down goes the length. Immediately, you’re faced with a decision. You could leave it as is and let the black sheep traitor lie in the bed it’s made. This isn’t an option for me, I would go crazy with multi-length nails. You could cut them all to match and rock shorties, OR you could patch the downed nail and keep on keeping on with your day.

I decided to go the patch route since I wasn’t ready to say goodbye to the mid-length quite yet. I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not a fan of tips. I hate having to search through and find the right size, I hate trying to get them to not be crooked, I hate blending them at the seam…just everything, I dislike. For the longest time, I used a coffee filter to build a quick and customizable tip for downed nails until my good friend Amber (Hombré) taught me about the wonder of tissue paper tips (yes, like Kleenex!). Sold. Amber is super fun and kind of new to the insta-nail scene. Go follow her and show her some love for this technique.

Unlike coffee filters, there isn’t a struggle to form or keep the paper down on the nail with tissue. The first swipe of base is all that’s needed to get the paper to really lay flat, and it doesn’t add any more bulk than a single, thin layer of dip powder. I’ll show you guys my process for using it with clear prior to peel base, but you can follow the same process without clear, or with clear and without peel base. Make it your own. And before we begin, I apologize for you having to see the state of this nail. It’s met a rough demise, but it will rise up and soar once more. There’s some leftover clear in the center, I hurt my cuticle and it’s just super sad looking. Sigh.

A sheet of tissue paper, separated to single ply (clean please. Don’t embed boogers onto your nail cause eww)
Nail nippers
Your desired base (quicker drying is my preference here. I used Dipalicious)
Clear dip powder…or whatever color you want
Nail file

Step 1: Prep and Trim
Place the tissue paper over the cleaned up nail you’re trying to patch to gauge size. Trim a piece about the width of your nail and just a smidge longer than you’d like so you have room to shape. It’s better to go a little wider than you need than too narrow, because you’ll trim and file at the end too.

Step 2: Apply Base
On clean and prepped nail, apply a thin layer of base to the tip, and situate the paper piece, hanging off the free edge. Now is your chance to fix it if it’s leaning in any direction, but be quick about it and don’t glue your fingers together.

Step 3: I Dip You Dip We Dip
Apply a thin layer of base all over the tissue paper, and lay flat into your clear. It’ll probably be easier to lay flat or sprinkle than it would be to dip straight in and crinkle your paper, but do you booboo.

Step 4: Dip your apex layers…if you want.
I like to do my apex layers 1-4 in clear, which you can find details for in this post.

Step 5: Apply Activator and Shape
Again, this is for when you’re doing clear under peel base. You should probably still activate and shape and give a good amount of time before you move on to the final color layers, only because I’m certain you probably need some nipping and shaping. I like to do generous activator application, then immediately pinch in the sides to give the tip a c-curve. I wait a few seconds before letting go.

Step 6: Nip It, Nip it Good
Use the nail nippers to give precise cuts to the overhang that’s going on on the sides and tip of the nail. It instantly looks so much better. You were worried, weren’t you?

Step 7: File to a Crisp
Seriously, I love crisp lines on nails. I know some of you adore almond or whatever, but I’m all the way for some square, coffin and ballerina shapes. Take this chance to firm up the lines on the sides and tip of the nail, but also to really smooth any lumps or bumps out. You could take out your e-file if you have time or need it. I didn’t have time, but I probably could have used a once over.

Step 8: Business as Usual
This is the point where I use peel base and let dry completely, then I top with two full layers of color, activator and two layers of top coat.

Happy patching!


Liquids: Triple Vitamin
Colors: Diplomatiq Brianna and Evelynn

P.S. For anyone curious, the hamsters have been returned to their rightful homes (maybe, or maybe their wrong homes, idk). I found the first by stepping on it in the middle of the pitch-black night, letting out a stream of curses and diving for it right before it tried to escape to its new home under the sink. The second I found the following night when it ran over my foot as I was making a cup of tea at the stove. You can imagine how quickly I went from quietly steeping tea to freaking out and removing the drawer underneath the stove. I’m guessing this second one is Harry, judging by the way he screamed at me repeatedly after being captured. He didn’t bite me, but he tried.

2 thoughts on “Tissue Paper Tips

  1. You are a magician! I could never patch my nails and make it look right. I do however appreciate the tips and will be sure to pass them along to my more gifted friends.

    As for those hamsters, Lord they to go through obedience school. (giggles)


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