Types of Building techniques

There are a few ways to create nail extensions. The most common ones are using

  1. Nail forms
  2. Tips
  3. Dual forms
  4. Fiber Glass
  5. Freestyle

Each nail technician has their personal favourite technique and chose to master it.

Nail FormsSculpting

The forms are disposable and look like paper stencils. They are attached under your natural nail’s free edge. The nail tehcnian then builds the nail on top of the form. Once cured, the form is removed and the extensions is shaped using a file.

This is a prefered method for people who do not have perfectly straight growing nails. It is easier to form an arch and build the nail in any shape and form.


  1. Suitable for any natural nail shape, size or growth
  2. Creativity on the extension shape is limitless
  3. Easier to create a straight nail


  1. Hard to master
  2. Harder to achieve the desired shape


This extension technique consists of gluing a ‘fake’ plastic nail tip to the natural nail. Shaping it and then puting the chosen product (e.g. acrylics, hard gel) on top of it. Once cured, you can use a file to refine the shape.

This is the most convenient and popular extension option for beginners. It is also popular among experienced masters, especially when creating extreme lengths or if it is necessary to reduce time and simplify the procedure. The tips usually come as transparent, white or natural and can be in a pre-made shape (coffin, stiletto, square etc.)


  1. Easier than sculpting on a form
  2. Faster
  3. Pre-made shapes


    1. Not recommeded for bitten nails
    2. Not recommended for nails with ridges
    3. The tip needs to be the exact width as the natural nail
    4. Limited choice of C curve and form
    5. Not suitable if your nails grow upwards, downward or on a side.

Dual FormsExpress Nails

Dual forms are used when perferoming an ‘express nails’ treatment. They are typicaly made from silicone and are flexible. They are used together with Hard Gel or Acrygel.

The Gel is applied inside the form and then pressed on the nail. Once cured in a UV/LED lamp, the form is removed.

In order for this technique to work, the nail technician needs to make sure that the form fits perfectly on the nail and cuticle area.


  1. Easy to use
  2. Reusable
  3. Fast


  1. Limited shape
  2. Needs to fit perfectly on the natural nail


Fiberglass can be used as build form for Hard Gel nails. It was popular choice a few years ago, but nowadays you will struggle to find a nail artist that uses them.


Another technique the nail artist may use when building your nail is to sculpt it freestyle without using any forms or tips. This is usually done if the nails are extremely bitten or if only a very short extension is needed.