Filing/Shaping Tips (step-by-step)


Welcome back to my blog!! I’m sorry I’ve been on and off but these last few months have been cray! Anyway, I’ve been wanting to get back into regularly blogging for a while now and what better way to start than talk you through my shaping tips?

I get asked about my shaping E.V.E.R.Y day! Which is lovely, but it’s also one of the hardest things for me to explain – especially over the internet. But, I’m going to try my best! So here goes…

I’ll start off by showing you my recent work that I’ve been getting on with as I feel my shaping has been improving even more in these last few weeks…


So, I thing my forte or whatever you call it, is my ballerina/coffin shaping. It’s my thing, I’m most confident when I am creating that shape over any others. So I’ll try and break it down and explain what goes through my head when in the process of achieving the slender and in my opinion, most feminine and flattering nail shape.

I always work with a clear base and nine times out of ten, I sculpt. This for me is important (and why I take so damn long to do a set 😩) to ensure that my shape and c-curve is refined before I go in with my design. Providing you work neatly and use minimal product, there is only little refining you need to do when filing to finish after capping any design in clear.

Processed with MOLDIV

My first tip when filing a clear base (or any nail in general), is to clean up any acrylic that is jagged. This is when you use your file (I use Naio 100/180 grit straight files) underneath the extension to remove any unwanted or uneven acrylic. You should be able to see a perfectly straight line when looking at the nail side-on.

The next step, is the one that I struggle to explain the most, but it is THE most important step that will get you that perfectly straight an slender side wall. You want to take your file and sit it against the side of the extension (from cuticle corner to free edge) and keep the file dead straight. (If looking at the nail from the same angel as the photo… the file would be going up and down instead of left to right. The foam of the file should e facing upwards and it should be snug against the nail. This will achieve a STRAIGHT line from the top of the side wall, to the tip. See the vertical file marks on the bottom photo? That is what it should look like before you file the surface of the acrylic.

Processed with MOLDIV

Again, from the top… I always go straight in and file the right sidewall, the free edge, then the left side wall. Photo four in the collage above demonstrates exactly what I was talking about further up. A LOT of people who ask me how I get my side walls so straight, or those who feel frustrated because they just can’t understand where they’re going wrong… THIS is it πŸ™‚ A Lot of the time, nails look wide, bulky or bowed out because nail technicians try to attack the free edge shape. It really doesn’t take much work to get the actual shape correct (this can always be seen when looking at the nails from behind), where the problem actually lies is the bulk of the acrylic just a bit further in from the side walls. If the acrylic looks bulky, then it’s not always necessarily the shape, it could just be that you have too much product on top of the nail which will protrude out to the sides. *I really flipping hope this is making sense because it’s actually one of the hardest things to explain*.

Processed with MOLDIV

This is what my clear base looks like once filed and shaped. It only needs to be thick enough so that it doesn’t snap when filing prior to applying your design work. If you do this layer too thick, then you are setting yourself up for bulky nail and/or the annoyance that we’ve all experienced which is filing off the design we’ve spent ages applying, capping and filing haha. Keep this thin and don’t skimp of this stage. Pay attention to your surface, and make sure that there is no bulk anywhere. I can try and explain it alllllll day, but it really does just click one day.

Another tip that I can give, is that when filing your finished nail, the top of the apex to the tip of the nail should be dead straight. I see so many nails that look bulbous in this area, almost like a hill. Make sure that this is straight and it will help with the overall refinement.

Below I’ve added a step-by-step of the shaping that I try and achieve at each stage of a custom set. I hope this blog has helped! If it has, please let me know in the comments! ❀

Love to you all xox




14 thoughts on “Filing/Shaping Tips (step-by-step)

  1. Awesome, thanks! I’m going to try your technique on myself now… as I’m just now about to do MY Christmas nails- finally! lol I totally understood you btw. I think you did very well explaining it

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Wow I truly appreciate you taking the time to make this…I’ve always wanted to ask how you get them so lovely and crisp…but I know you have so many things going on at once…I want to Thank you so much for making this blog it has truly answered a lot and very straightforward and helpful πŸ˜˜πŸ’•


  3. So glad ure back Hun, been missing u 😊. Wow what a great in-depth description, I do struggle a bit with shaping but this has helped make things a bit more clearer for me! Thanku for taking the time to share πŸ’•xx


  4. Love your shaping!!! Nail goals right there! Do you find after a few days that the crisp corners wear down and end up a bit rounded? Maybe I’m just rough on mine but they don’t seem to stay that crisp shape 😬


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s