Nail Art Tutorial: Engraving Designs with an E-File

Electric files and specialty bits open up an entire world of design possibilities and fun ways to expand your service menu. Using your electric file bits, you can carve out or engrave a design in artificial nails. Contrasting nail product can be placed in the engraved area and, once it is cured, buffing the surface smooth will reveal the design! Click through to see step by step how it’s done.

Step 1: Begin with a sculpted or tipped nail extension. For this type of nail art it’s a good idea to use a camouflaging pink or peach to extend the nail beds so that the nail will look balanced and the extra length will give you room to safely drill the extension. This design can be created with either traditional gel or acrylic, but if using gel, be sure the extension is created with gel that is fully cured. You won’t be able to cut into it if there’s any uncured gel. Warning: be sure you are completely away from the nail bed and working ONLY with the extension when drilling designs! Using a ball-tipped cutting bit, cut several “stripes” across the nail extension. The firmer the pressure, the deeper and wider the stripe will be, so as you move the bit across the nail, lift the bit away to create a pointed end at the sides of the stripes.

Step 2: Once the stripes are all cut, use a contrasting color to cover and fill all the stripes. Be sure to keep the engraved stripes shallow and then fill them with two or more thin, fully cured layers of the contrasting color, rather than one thick one. This will ensure the stripe color is fully cured.
Step 3: After it hardens, carefully file away the color you’ve added, and the design will be revealed.

Step 4: Add a shiny top coat to finish the look! Additional embellishments can be added on top of the design.

[Photos courtesy of Melodee Lange Christensen]

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