How To Start A Press-On Nail Business.

Hello everyone!!

I’m here today to gift you with the knowledge of Custom Press On Nails.

Its 2020, and were all under Lock-down by the government. I picture people reading this article in years to come and reflecting upon these very uncertain times we are living in. Maybe someone will be reading it so many years from now that they wont even remember covid19 … AAaaah, those will be the days. Anyways. For now, nail techs across the globe are looking for ways to keep their business alive. Clients are walking around their houses with naked nails and everyone has gone a bit stir crazy. Luckily, I wrote this helpful article a couple years ago and its been sitting here since then waiting for a pandemic to give it the attention it deserves. So its getting a little update!

If this is something that you have been putting off because it was going to take too much time to research and you were too busy creating actual nails on actual humans…. keep reading because, now you have the time, and as an added bonus; I have done a lot of the work for you already. And for free no less! Some of the links included in this article are affiliate, meaning that I will earn a small amount if you purchase an item from my recommendation. This helps me to grow my brand and offer more free advice and product giveaways.

If you can’t be bothered reading this whole article, I have created an Amazon list with everything you need to get started ( besides the polish and decorations etc.)

Here are some examples of the Pre-made Custom tips I have created and sold.

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You have probably seen the pictures people post, of the beautiful designs on 10 perfectly shaped nails in a little box and thought to yourself ” Hey, I could do that!” Then you start wondering , what kind of box is that? Where are those tips from? How do they stick them in the box? How much can I make doing this? And maybe 100 more questions. Today I am going to be answering the top questions I have seen posted in various nail groups on this subject. So lets start with number 1.

What kind of box do I use?

People generally use a necklace box, there are A LOT for sale on the internet. You can get them with cotton inserts, velvet inserts, or no insert. Its completely up to you which you use. You can also use greeting card boxes, if you are wanting a more square look. I suggest you have a look at the options in your area. Search on EBAY and ALI BABA, maybe even amazon. Here is an example of some that you might like to purchase. Usually, they are costing anywhere between 75 pence and a pound each from the cheapest sellers I have found.

ring boxes blog pic
An example of the kind of boxes you can use.

Here is the link to purchase these boxes.(highlighted below)

To find these Necklace boxes on Ebay,

I searched for “ Necklace Boxes” on Ebay… Easy enough right? Well, maybe so. But there’s all different shapes and sizes, depths, and colors; even outside of this listing. So you will just have to decide what is best for your needs and get the ones you want.

You don’t have to use boxes though. I have seen people attach the nails to Kraft card stock envelopes, and that reduces shipping costs. If you would like more info on packaging, please visit my Facebook Group Custom Tip Creators – Support and Advice.

What kind of tips do I use, and where do I find them?

custom tips tips blog
An example of full cover tips you can use.

Great! Now, you have found some boxes. You’re on your way 🙂 Next, lets talk about the actual nails that you are going to put in these boxes. I went on to Amazon and searched for Full Cover Tips. There are literally hundreds and hundreds to choose from. You are going to have to decide, which ones will suit you best, depending on your budget and what shapes and lengths you are going to be offering to your customers. I would suggest starting small with just a couple shapes so that you don’t have to fork out a lot of money to get started. Once you have a few orders under your belt, and some profit in your pocket; you can order some different shapes. You’ll have to file the little knobbly bits off the ends. But they are already shaped!!


Since writing this article and joining forces with many other Custom Tip Creators, I have learned that the custom tip world has grown a lot over the past 2 years, and so now there are many companies offering full cover tips. I haven’t tried a lot of these, but I did gather some of their brand names and write them down in one spot for you. You will have to give them a google to see which you want to try. They range in price and shapes, as well as the overall feel of the material used to create them.

How do they stay stuck in the box?

glue roll pic
Craft glue strips, who knew!?

I looked on the internet for a long time, hours were spent researching what the hell I had seen other people using in their boxes to hold their nails in place. I asked around and no one would tell me. Now, I don’t know why people are like that but lucky for you… I am not. I was using craft glue strips as pictured left, but then I found out that you can get it cheaper as a clear mounting tape! Mounting tape… I have never heard of this, but I know now that it is used to hold my mirrors on to the side of my car, and now that I think about it… I have seen clear un-sticky strips when they have fallen off before! So here’s a link to the one I use. You can find your own if you want, now that you have the secret words.. clear mounting tape 🙂 Essentially, its a thick jelly type double sided tape. Its sticky AF and will really grab onto the nail tips. I use these 10mm wide strips, but I have seen people use much bigger ones. It just depends what you want to do I guess. You will figure it out.

How do I hold them while I am painting them?

This is pretty basic, but you may not have thought of it, so I am just throwing it in here quickly. Grab yourself some orange wood sticks, or something “stick like” such as a paintbrush. Use a little blob of blue tac to attach the nail on to the stick like thing of your choice, and go to town! I’m not including a link to purchase these. You will find them easily enough by searching for them on Ebay. I cant do everything for you, or there would be no sense of accomplishment 🙂


You can also use fancy nail display tip holders. You still need to use blue tac to hold the nail onto these. I do have some of these, though my son caught sight of them and promptly stole them. He is a magpie like his mama. I did steal back the big gem and one of the plastic holders, but the other 9 have vanished. Into the abyss of a 7 year old’s room. Never to be seen again. You wanna buy some fancy ones, here’s the link! Fancy Nail Tip Display Holder

What can I use to decorate these nail tips?

You can use anything you like to decorate them. I have done them in regular old school nail varnish, gel polish, hard gel, and acrylic. Keep in mind though, they are the most flexible ( and therefore give the best fit) when you do them in regular polish. Now, that’s not to say that doing them in gel polish doesn’t work. I just found they were a lot stronger/harder once the gel polish was cured, and didn’t want to conform to the shape of a natural nail as easy. You will have to do some experimenting with your products, and see which will give you the best results. I suggest making a few sets, and asking a couple of your girlfriends to trial them for you.

How are customers going to stick them on their nails?

The people who buy these beautiful creations, aren’t likely to keep them in the box and take them out on special occasions to admire them. I mean, that’s what I do with a lot of mine, but in case you haven’t noticed yet… I am far from normal. So, you have a few options here.

You can either provide the adhesive, or you can let them fend for themselves, and go to the shop to buy some glue. If you decide to provide the adhesive for them, there are more options. Do you send glue? Do you send adhesive tabs? Do you send both? This is completely up to you. Both work, but have different purposes. If you send glue, the customer will get a single wear out of them, they may last up to 2 weeks. If you send sticky tabs, they may get a couple days wear but they will be able to wash the sticky bits off the nails and reuse them. Providing they haven’t completely ruined them while out on the town with Susan on Friday night. I suggest offering all options to your customers and letting them decide what they want to buy.

Can I actually make money doing this?

Yes! You can make money doing this. How much money you make will depend entirely on you though. I can not formulate your business plan or build your website for you. Not for free anyways 🙂 Though I do get messages off nail techs everyday asking for my advice, and like a mug, I give them all the information they need and they become rich and famous. Well, no one has become rich and famous yet but its going to happen one of these days and I will kick myself. Just kidding… but really though. LOL

You will need to do some research now. I suggest you troll around different sellers websites and Ebay shops. There are hundreds of them. You will get a lot of ideas like: sizing charts, descriptions, terms and conditions, extras like little nail files and instruction packages. Some people sell 10 nails, some sell 20. Some make customers measure their own nails, some have set sizes, and packages in their descriptions. You will learn a lot from those who have already done this successfully. DO NOT blatantly steal someones pictures or their exact ideas. Use your imagination and create something that works for you, based on what is working for them. If you look at enough examples, you will get a rough idea of what all the sellers have in common, and what might set you apart from the rest. If you have done that and you havent wrapped your head around it, or maybe you just cant be asked to do that, have a look at these videos that I kindly created. They will be of great help to you, and also are free 😉 The ultimate Press on Video Playlist.

There is a lot more that goes into opening an online shop selling custom tips, than I can include in this blog. But I do hope that you have found this helpful and it sends you on your way to making a bit of pocket money by being creative ! If you would like to get more information, please feel free to join our Facebook group, dedicated to creating custom tips. Please answer all the questions upon request, or you wont get in. 🙂

Thanks again for stopping by and don’t forget to follow this blog to get an email every time I post! OH!! And, please please please, if you see anyone asking about this subject (or any of the others I have posted about) on the Nail Tech Network, or Nail Techs Helping Nail Techs, send them the link! I’m having a hard time keeping up with everyone’s posts and sometimes I miss an opportunity to share the knowledge.





30 thoughts on “How To Start A Press-On Nail Business.

Add yours

    1. Courtney, I cannot thank you enough for this article. I joined about 10 nail groups, watching, reading, asking questions. All for nothing. Yes, I tried to research on my own. Yes I’ve bought books. There was a few things I just couldn’t quite find the answer to, but no one wanted to help.
      If they thought I was trying to steal their business or their secrets, well I’m flattered. I ain’t even got started yet!!
      I learned a lot reading your article. Thank you!! xxooo


      1. Hiya! I know what you mean. I felt the same way in the beginning. What’s the big secret right?! I’m so glad I’ve helped you ❤️ that’s exactly my goal 😊 stay safe , have fun and I wish you all the success!


  1. Thanks so much for this info Courtney! You’ve saved me a lot of work. It’s a great addition to doing acrylic nails when there aren’t any bookings and business is slow. Thanks again xx


  2. Girl, you had me rolling on some of your comments like, “I can’t do all your research, where would be your sense of accomplishment.” You are so funny! Totally loved your post and I have been wanting to pursue this idea once I actually learn how to paint nails lol. I’m home disabled so sure could use a little extra pocket change, right? Anyway, thank you so very much for your links and your creative ideas and most of all your kindness for sharing this idea for us all. You are so sweet! God bless!


  3. I’ve just come across this and would like to add something like this to my business. Is it possible to have a look at the designer package.


  4. Trying to get on your FB private… Custom Tip Creators-Support and Advice. I’m a tech. It tells me there’s an error, that the page has been removed and yet mt friend…another tech is on it…PLEASE HELP ME…😩


    1. Hiya, the group has been temporarily hidden due to high volumes of new member requests. You must be invited to the group by a friend to gain entry. Send me a personal message on Facebook and I can add you. Courtney Crosbie


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