How to Use Acrylic Powder Without Acrylic Liquid

Published on: Apr 5, 2022 • 5 min read


At-home manicures are, well, the bomb. They’re cost-effective, and you can create whatever style of artificial nails you desire.

But what happens when you’re getting ready to apply your acrylic nail, only to realize you’re all out of the essential acrylic liquid (otherwise known as monomer)?

You don’t have to skip your acrylic manicure because you don’t have acrylic liquid.

You can use a few other options in place of monomer to pair with your acrylic powder.

acrylic powder without acrylic liquid

What is Acrylic Liquid (Monomer)?

Before discussing which other solvents work with acrylic powder, first, we need to discover what monomer actually is.

After all, there is a reason why nail technicians at nail salons use it to apply acrylic.

Monomer liquid combines with acrylic powder to create a putty-like consistency that forms the acrylic nails.

Together, they act as the “powerhouse” for acrylic nail formation. Without its liquid counterpart, the acrylic powder would be rough and not aesthetically pleasing.

What Can Be Used in Place of Monomer?

Needless to say, the best option for your acrylic nails is an acrylic monomer.

But you stumbled on this article because you’re looking for how to use acrylic powder without acrylic liquid.

So, if you do not have the proper liquid monomer on hand, you can try one of these other methods.

However, keep in mind that they may not work as well as the actual monomer when applied with acrylic powders.

1. Dip Powder Activator

Dip powder is one of the best options for creating acrylics. That’s because it is essentially a form of traditional monomer used in combination with acrylic dip powder.

However, dip powder tends to be a lot pricier than acrylic liquid. Some dip powder bottles are also not big enough to accommodate an acrylic brush, making your job that much harder.

Instead of opting for dip powder with your acrylic, why not use dip powder nails instead? They are much more straightforward than acrylics from start to finish.

2. Rubbing Alcohol

If you’re in a serious pinch and only need acrylic nails to cover your natural nails for about a day or two, you can opt for rubbing alcohol instead.

This won’t create the most jaw-dropping nail design you’ve ever seen. It may also be way lumpier than what you’re used to.

However, it can work as a short-term, last resort option, for example, when you want beautiful nails for a special date night.

3. Nail Glue

If you happen to have some of this lying around, go ahead and use it!

Surprisingly enough, it comes with some of the same chemicals found in the “base coat” product for dip nails.

So, you should have no problem getting your acrylics to stick onto your natural nail plate.

Just keep in mind that the texture will be relatively runny and may be challenging to work with.

4. Polyester Resin

Polyester resin can be an excellent alternative to liquid monomers.

However, most people do not have this on hand, so it is not a very convenient swap.

The other issue is that this can cause the surface of acrylic manicures to turn a slight greenish hue after you let it dry completely.

Obviously, this can result in an undesirable acrylic color.

What Not To Use

A few items will not work with the acrylic dipping powder, even though you may see them suggested elsewhere.

1. Acetone Polish Remover

Don’t do it! Acetone polish remover is designed to do one thing: remove nail polish.

If you try to use acetone in combination with dipping powder, you will be upset by the outcome.

2. Water

Another big no-no is water. Water does not have any necessary compounds to help the acrylic adhere.

How to Use Acrylic Powder Without Acrylic Liquid

If you decide to try out one of these methods, you will essentially use the same steps as you would for a typical set of nails.

Prep and Shape Natural Nails

Regardless of what kind of manicure you’re creating, always start by prepping the nails.

This includes using nail polish remover to get rid of any current nail polish and buffing the nail bed.

At this point, you will also want to use a nail file to shape your nails.

If you’re looking to extend your nails (for example, if you have bitten nails too short and want them longer), you will want to apply the fake nail tips at this time.

Apply Primer

A primer will be _essential _when applying acrylics without the use of acrylic liquid.

Not only will a primer prepare your nails for adhesion, but this necessary top coat smoothes the nail so that acrylic paint goes on smooth and easy.

Create Acrylic Nails

Use your brush to dip into the monomer liquid substitute.

Then, dip it into the acrylic powder.

Place a dollop of the acrylic powder and monomer liquid mix on the nail, then form the nails to your liking.


Once the nails have fully dried, you can opt to file down any smudges or rough spots with a nail file.

Then, you can add a pop of color if desired.


Can I make acrylic liquid at home?

Some people have had luck by mixing water and non-toxic glue (not specifically for nails) in a bottle.

What ingredients are in acrylic liquid?

The ingredients found in acrylic liquid include ethyl methacrylate, triethylene glycol dimethacrylate, and dimethylamylamine.

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