Can You Use Regular Nail Polish for Stamping?

There is nothing quite as frustrating as having all the right stamping tools but still failing at nail stamping. The thing is, it might not be you that’s doing something wrong. It might be the nail polish you’re using.

So, can you use regular nail polish for stamping? Could that maybe be the reason for running, faded, or messy nail stamping art looks? And if so, what can you do about it? We’ll help you through this trying time by answering these questions. 

We’ll also offer some advice as well as some tips and tricks to help your nail stamping game reach the next level. By the end of this article, you’ll know exactly how to achieve the perfect nail stamping look. 

What This Article Covers:

Can You Use Regular Nail Polish for Stamping?

Technically, yes. You can use regular nail polish with your stamping tools. Will it look like the best nail stamping art you’ve ever seen? Probably not. Unless you have really great long-lasting nail polish, results might always be a little lacking.

How Do You Use Regular Nail Polish for Stamping 

It’s not something you are doing wrong. Nail stamping requires polish that is thick to hold form on the nail, pigmented enough to be opaque after one stamp, and dries in a certain time frame. 

Most regular nail polishes are a little runny and require two or three coats before they have the desired amount of color. 

So while regular nail polish will work, it will require a bit of extra work and won’t utilize the full potential of your stamping tools and your skill. To make the most out of using regular nail polish for stamping, you’ll need to thicken it. 

The Pros of Using Regular Nail Polish

If you are looking for a budget option to nail stamping, you can use your regular nail polish. It won’t damage your nail stamping tools and will get the job done. With a simple, beautiful base color, like our Impressions Lacquer 6PIX, and contrasting stamping color, it can turn out really nicely. 

How to Use Regular Nail Polish for Stamping

Using regular nail polish for nail stamping is also a great way to repurpose old nail polish or runny nail polish. You can do this by thickening these nail polishes to improve the consistency of the polish for stamping purposes. If you want to try this method, we have a guide on how to thicken nail polish for stamping. We recommend using a nail polish that is extra pigmented to ensure a thick, opaque nail stamp.

Or read about the best nail polish for stamping. There are thick, opaque nail polishes available on the market - it’s just a matter of finding them.

The Cons of Using Regular Nail Polish

One of the biggest problems with using regular nail polish can consistency. 

Most polishes won’t have the consistency to fully realize all the intricate stamping design details.

And if it doesn’t run and stays on the nail, chances are it’ll be quite transparent. Most regular nail polishes are meant to be applied with multiple coats. Unless you can line up the designs perfectly and transfer them to overlap without any mistakes, two coats just won’t work for nail stamping.

But, as we’ve mentioned, you can always thicken your nail polish to use it for stamping. This will give it a much better consistency, and means you can use just about any nail polish on the market.

What Kind of Nail Polish Should I Use for Stamping?

For nail stamping, nothing will beat the power of nail polish with a thick consistency and deep pigmentation. With the right kind of nail polish, you can create sharper lines with vivid colors.  

Do You Use Regular Nail Polish for Stamping

Perfect Consistency

You’ve probably heard only bad things about thick nail polish. It’s usually followed by words like “old” and “goopy”. But these polishes work really well for stamping because of their consistency. When stamped, they dry without losing form. 

They don’t all have to be older polishes. Some nail polishes are just produced thicker, such as glitter nail polish. Be careful to choose glitter polishes with very fine glitter particles. Otherwise, they can ruin the stamp. 

To check how thick the polish is, just lift up the applicator and see whether the polish drips down or stays on the applicator brush. If the polish drips down, it will be too runny for nail stamping. If it stays on the brush, it’s safe to assume it will also hold form on your nail when stamping. 

A few years ago, regular nail polish was the only option available for nail stamping. But today, there are so many types of polish out there, all with different consistencies. Besides regular nail polish, you can use almost any nail polish for stamping if the consistency is right. There are tons of options available when stamping your nails. 


Nail stamping is all about contrast. You should choose nail polishes with a lot of pigment. The more opaque they are, the better. The goal is to have a clean, sharp, and bright design transfer when doing nail stamping.

The goal is a polish that shows up opaque after one stamp. Nail polish that is pigmented after one coat is your best bet. 

Use ORLY Glosser as a top coat with your nail stamping. Not only will Glosser protect all your hard work, but the gloss will deepen the color and ensure maximum pigment payoff.

Use of Regular Nail Polish for Stamping


There is no denying that nail stamping is a super versatile nail art technique and a fun way to embellish your nails.

If you’d prefer nail stamping art that is on a professional level, we’d recommend nail polish that has a thicker consistency and vivid pigmentation for a fast, even design transfer. Coupled with a beautiful creme nail polish base color, you’ll be sporting the most gorgeous nails. 

But if you only have runny nail polish available, don’t give up just yet. You can thicken your nail polish and use a good, contrasting base color to make the perfect nail canvas for your nail stamping. 

And remember, whichever option you choose, don’t forget to have fun when doing your nails!

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