Note: Almond Nails is reader supported. If you make a purchase through a link on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission - at no extra cost to you. This includes links to Amazon.

How To Shape Nails At Home With Nail Cutter – Step By Step

Are you wondering how to shape your nails at home with a nail cutter? Then you’ve come to the right place. In today’s tutorial, I’ll be walking you through the process steps and all you need to do and watch out for to ensure you do so safely and effectively.

So, how do you shape your nails at home with a nail cutter? Begin by cleaning your nails, including removing debris underneath, with a nail file. Then proceed to use your nail cutter from three angles on your nail – each side, one at a time, and then on top in the middle. Depending on the shape you want you may need to cut more or less off at various angles.

That’s the simple overview.

But we will be getting into a little more detail below.

So, be sure to keep reading.

And besides, it doesn’t matter how much experience you have with your nails, this tutorial has been designed with all experience levels in mind.

Equipment You Will Need:

  • Sharp Stainless Steel Nail Cutter,
  • Nail File

My recommendations for each are below:

I personally bought the Dr. Mode Nail Cutter because of their great price and excellent customer reviews.

They’re very sharp and the ergonomic design of the handles increases traction and has helped us to avoid finger slippage and thus unsymmetrical nails.

Plus I love the fact we can use the nail files to clean up our nails beforehand.

And they throw in a trimmer and file for free which can be great for shaping nails at home!

How To Shape Your Nails Using A Nail Cutter

Step One: Clean Your Nails

Firstly, you will want to ensure that your nails are clean and that they do not have any dirt underneath.

If they do have any dirt, remove this out using a nail file or using the edge of your nail cutter.

Be careful not to split or crack your nail tips; we just want to ensure that they are clean.

Step Two: Lay Your Hand Flat

You then want to lay your hand flat with your palm facing down and all your fingernails facing towards you.

Step Three: Make Your First Cuts

You will first cut the nails of your middle finger.

Take the nail cutter and cut the first side of your middle nail.

Once you are finished, move onto the other side of the nail and cut symmetrically.

Be careful prior to cutting your nail, and ensure that you are cutting symmetrically and that you are cutting an equal amount off.

Step Four: Proceed To The Middle

Once both sides of your middle fingernail have been cut, you then want to cut the top of your middle fingernail.

Step Five: Determine Your Shape

It is at this stage that you can determine the nail shape that you want to create.

If you would like Almond Nails or even Stiletto Nails, you can angle the cutter to create the following shapes:

If you wanted Oval, or Square, you would adjust the nail cutter accordingly.

The more curved you go, the more you will elongate your nails and create the Almond/Stiletto look.

The more you ‘round off’ the nails, the more you are heading towards the Oval shape.

Step Six: Repeat On All Your Fingers

At this stage, you want to follow the same technique and steps outlined above to all of your remaining fingers.

Be sure to be consistent and create the same effect across your remaining fingernails.

You’ll also want to replicate on your other hand!

Step Seven: Apply Polish

Once you have finished both of your hands, you can apply your gel nail polish.

Additional Tips

  • Ensure you are using strong, clean nail cutters that you know how to use and has the shape and effect you desire.
  • Ensure that your natural nails are long and strong enough prior to cutting. If you feel they are weak, we recommend instead you use a nail file. We’ve written a full guide to using a nail file to create your nail shapes at home if this is you.
  • Utilize white nail polish to outline the shape you are creating prior to cutting your nails. This way you can use the nail polish as a guide and as a stencil line to cut around and in accordance to. This can help to ensure you do not cut too much nail off.
  • Start by cutting off the least amount of nail as possible. You can always use the nail cutter to cut off more if required. Unfortunately, if you cut off too much of your natural nail you cant go back!

If you wanted to know how to shape your nails at home with a nail cutter, but your natural nails are not quite long enough or do not seem to be growing fast or strong enough, then we have a few tips that can help:

Put On Cuticle Oil Each Night

When nails get moisture, they can then grow and strengthen.

Prepare with Manicures

If you decide that you want either the almond or oval nails shape, you can start rounding them through regular manicures done by either yourself or at the salon.

This way your nails can grow into the shape.

Get Some Nail Gel

It is widely known among professionals that gel manicures help nails grow. 

This is because they give the nail extra strength which stops them from breaking or snapping so easily.

If you decide to apply gel, refrain from peeling it off, and be sure to change the color every fortnight.


Hopefully, this tutorial helped you work with your nail cutter to shape your nails.

Nevertheless, it will take time, practice, and patience.

The more you do it, the easier it will become 🙂