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When apprentice nail technicians want to practice the art of working with artificial tips, painting nails and creating designs, sometimes it is difficult for them to find willing volunteers. In these instances, rubber practice hands are great alternatives often used to prepare for licensing examinations. Unlike human hands, however, rubber hands are not made with nails. Before they can accomplish any work, users must know how to apply tips to the hands. One advantage of using tips on practice hands is it is easy to remove the nails without soaking or hard grit filing.

Choose a nail tip that fits the width of the nail bed of the finger to which you are applying it.

Clip the sides of the cuticle-end of the nail tip. This will help to round out the tips' cuticle ends to suit the rounded cuticle bed of the rubber hand.

File the clipped edges of the tip for a smooth, secure fit. Filing the tips' cuticle edges will give the nails a more natural appearance when fitted into the rubber hand's nail bed.

Roll a small dot of tack adhesive about the size of a 1/2 dime between your thumb and index finger to warm it and make it pliable.

Shape the dot of tack adhesive into an oval so it matches the shape of the nail bed when squeezed down by the tip.

Apply the oval adhesive tack dot to the nail bed of the rubber hand immediately before you make the tip application.

Apply the nail tip on top of the tack adhesive. Press it down firmly and push the cuticle end of the tip firmly against the cuticle bed of the rubber hand.


If all of your tips are too narrow for a specific finger, file down the sides of a tip that is the next size up so that it will fit the nail bed. Craft tack adhesive is useful for practice hands because it allows tips to be easily lifted off for repeated use of the hand. Cover the entire nail bed with tack adhesive if you are going to leave your nail tips unpainted or are going to paint with a light, transparent nail color like light pink. You may use a small dot of tack adhesive in the middle of the nail bed if your are going to paint with an opaque color like dark red.

About the Author

Sarah McLeod

Sarah McLeod began writing professionally for the federal government In 1999. In 2002 she was trained by Georgetown University's Oncology Chief to abstract medical records and has since contributed to Phase I through Phase IV research around the country. McLeod holds a Bachelor of Arts in human services from George Washington University and a Master of Science in health science from Touro University.