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      /  Simply Crystal Nails   /  What’s the difference between nail stickers and nail decals?

    What’s the difference between nail stickers and nail decals?

    What's the difference between nail stickers and nail decals? Simply Crystal Nails

    What’s the difference between nail stickers and nail decals?

    We get this question a lot. What is the difference between nail stickers and nail decals? Well, today we’re going to break down each item and tell you exactly what’s the difference. We’ll also be giving you all the details as well as the pros and cons and why you should select one vs. the other!

    What are nail stickers?

    Nail stickers are are a piece of printed paper, plastic, vinyl, or other material with pressure-sensitive adhesive on one side. They are used to decorate the nail and come pre-cut on an adhesive sheet or completely cut out.

    What are nail decals?

    Nail decals are waterslides. Waterslides are ultra-thin clear or white paper that has water-activated adhesive on the back of them. This paper usually contains uncut with printed images/designs that are transferred to the nails. The adhesive is not strong enough to stick to the nail, so it’s usually secured with a polish, UV/LED gel polish, or an acrylic compound.

    Nail Stickers Pros & Cons


    • Comes pre-cut.
    • Can get any decoration or illustration added to a sticker.
    • Easy to use. (User friendly)
    • Contains own adhesive.
    • Can be used temporary.
    • Offer a printed vinyl options and a cut only option.


    • Not great for intricate designs/fonts
    • Requires an outline on many of the images.
    • More costly than decals.
    • Thicker than decals.
    • Images/fonts that are separated require a background.
    • Separated images must be placed on the nail individually or with transfer paper.
    • Can not be cut smaller than the small size.
    • Larger images do not fit the shape of the nail.

    Nail Decals Pros & Cons


    • Works well with intricate and separated designs
    • Can print extra small images.
    • Easily fits the shape of the nail.
    • Cost effective.
    • Thinner than stickers.
    • Has ultra clear backing for ultra clear decals.
    • Offers a cleaner finish.
    • Can have any image or design added to the decal.
    • Does not require a border around images.


    • Not user-friendly. Requires instructions and practice.
    • Requires an additional adhesive to make products stick.
    • Requires a topcoat or two.
    • Is not temporary.
    • Time-restricted. (Once the decal is dry it can not be repositioned.)
    • Needs water to activate.
    • Longer preparation time.
    • Must be cut by user.

    Nail decals and nail stickers both offer amazing outcomes for nail designs! While they both have their pros and cons, each person has to decide what option is best for them. Whether you have it figured out or require an additional nudge we will be here to assist in the process. For more information about nail decals and nail stickers check out our youtube channel. Simply Crystal Nails

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