Nail art is messy business–or at least it is when you’re as clumsy as I am. My nail mat has saved basically every surface in my house.
Nail mats are made of silicone which provides a non-reactive a layer of protection for your surfaces. If you’ve ever spilled nail polish, you know how hard it is to clean up because nail polish remover can do more damage to your furniture and clothing than the polish did.
Dripped some pure acetone on your mat? Silicone doesn’t care. Nail polish spill? Comes right off.
Beyond that, most nail art mats provide an organized space with helpful guidelines, rulers, patterns, and color swatches to make creating your nail art easier and faster.
Silicone mats take some of the frustration out of nail stamping because you can stamp directly onto the mat, color it in, then peel it off, effectively making your own nail decals. Check out this quick YouTube tutorial showing how to make reverse stamping nail decals using a silicone mat.
Swatches of color printed on nail art mats allow you to stamp over them to test how your stamping polish will show up over tricky colors like black or red.
To store them, most mats simply roll or fold up into a flexible tube that you can stick wherever you keep your nail supplies.
If you’ve found this article because you’ve stained something and are determined to not do it again, the University of Illinois has a page on Nail Stain Solutions that may be helpful.
What are the best nail mats?
- Best All-In-One Mat: Twinkled T Glamour Mat | Check it out on Amazon – $10.99
- Most Spill-Resistant Mat: Bliss Kiss Simply Neat | Check it out on Amazon – $10.97
- Best Portable Mats: BMC Lotus Mat Go & Mini | Check it out on Amazon – $14.99
- Most Templates: Beaute Galleria Rollable Silicone Mat | Check it out on Amazon – $8.99
- Best For Freehand Art: UberChic Beauty Uber Mats | Check it out on Amazon – $7.95
1. Twinkled T Nail Art Glamour Mat – $10.99
This mat by Twinkled T is like nothing else on the market and at the very top of my wish list. Besides being a nice, extra thick silicone mat, it’s also a great size at around 12 inches by 16 inches, giving you plenty of room to work.
It has 10 nail templates in white and 10 nail plates in black as well as the standard black and white template swatches. There are six pastel color swatches along the side for checking your color combinations against.
Here’s where it gets fun. In the top left corner are 13 circular divots which create little wells for your polish or paints. When you’re doing freehand work or reverse stamping you often need a few colors of polish on your palette and sometimes they can run into each other or dry out super fast. These little wells keep them separate and with less surface area they stay liquid longer.
In the top right corner is an attached silicone cup which is collapsible. When you open the cup up it becomes large enough to do water marbling. Fully collapsed it’s the perfect size for holding nail polish remover for you to dip into for easy clean up.
It’s an acetone or water marbling cup that is really hard tip over: that’s the dream of clumsy nail art lovers everywhere.
Because of these extras, Twinkled T recommends you store your mat flat which doesn’t work for me in my small space so I’d love to hear how people are storing theirs and if it can handle being rolled or folded up for storage.
2. Bliss Kiss Simply Neat Manicure Mat – $10.97
If you knock over a bottle of polish or cup of acetone, having a mat down is all well and good until it flows off the mat and onto the surface you’re trying to protect. Bliss Kiss tackles this problem with their Simply Neat Manicure Mat which has a raised ridge around the perimeter of the mat keeping spills from leaving the mat.
The 16 by 12 inch nail mat also has black and white swatches for color testing and five raised rings where you can contain your rhinestones, 3D nail decoration, or loose glitter. These circles also hold small amounts of liquids like acetone for cleaning or watercolor nail art and work as a color palette for your polish.
The nail templates aren’t nail shaped and instead are marked with a grid which allows you to size your decals up and down to fit your nails and keep the size consistent across all the templates. There is a more narrow grid for a pinky and a wider one for a thumb.
Thing is, there are only nine finger template grids. Given you won’t often be using all of them at the same time, but still. Would it have killed them to add a tenth template?
3. Bundle Monster Lotus Mat Go & Mini – $14.99
Large mats are overkill for some folks. You may not have the space for it. You might only want a manicure mat for protecting surfaces or maybe for your kids learning to do their own nails. For all of this the Lotus Mat Go and Lotus Mat Mini are a good option.
There are no nail art grids or swatching colors, just a reliable silicone workspace with 10 finger-shaped templates on each mat. The black and white lotus can work to check color swatches but it’s limited space.
The small mat, the Lotus Mat Mini, is 8.2 inches by 5.5 inches and the larger one, Lotus Mat Go, is 11 inches by 8.2. They’re both reasonable sizes for travel whether you’re working on location or simply traveling to a friend’s place. Bundle Monster also has a full-size Lotus Mat comparable to the mats above at 15.7 inches by 11.75 inches.
4. Beaute Galleria Rollable Silicone Mat – $8.99
The Beaute Galleria mat has a huge array of nail art guides with a total of 40 decal templates. You get 10 white grids, 10 black grids, five square nail templates, five squoval nails, five almond nails, and five oval nails. You’ve got a ton of options here.
This mat also has black and white swatch circles and eight color splats, one of which is black which seems weird to me. The splotch design is cute but I would have rather they used larger plain circles of color so more of the swatch would be usable.
There’s a right angle ruler at the corner for measuring and the mat is full-size at 15.8 by 11.9 inches.
It’s not as thick or opaque as some other mats so if you’re working on a patterned or dark surface you’re likely going to see that through the mat.
5. UberChic Beauty Uber Mats – From $7.95
Here UberChic has three very different mats. Their full-size mat has 20 fingernail templates, 10 in white and 10 in black. The nails have different shaped edges so you can work with more square nails or more oral shaped nails depending on your personal nail shape.
There are four black and white swatch areas as well as a ruler section. It’s a standard size at 16 inches by 12 inches.
The unique part of this nail mat is its freehand guide which outlines letters, numbers, and popular nail art shapes so you can easier trace them and create uniform decals.
Both colors have 20 finger templates which all appear to be the same nail shape. The choice to have a black background is pretty neat.
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