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How To Shape Coffin Nails: Here’s Everything You Need To Know

Last Updated on February 11, 2021
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written by nail expert Jess Rowley

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Here’s How To Get The Perfect Coffin Shaped Nails For Your Next Manicure:

Now I am an acrylic nails girl at heart, I get excited when new manicure day comes around and coffin nails are always my go-to. But how do you get the perfect shape of these beauties?

You may be here because your manicure mood board is full of coffin nail looks and you’re not sure where to start. Whether you can’t make it to the salon or just looking to save some bucks on an at-home manicure– I’ve got you covered. 

Coffin or Ballerina Nails are a timeless classic– whether you’re going for a flawless nude or a daring red hue a good coffin nail will top it all off!

Now let me tell you something:

My guide is packed with the best tips and tricks to achieve the most flattering of coffin shapes. From short to long shapes, you will have a manicure for every mood. 

Here’s a tip: practice and patience is the key to a good coffin manicure, you may not get it right the first time but with a bit of practice you will say bye to your monthly trip to the salon and hello to gorgeous at-home manicures.

Let’s get into all of the coffin’s secrets to achieve a home manicure like a boss! 


So, What Are Coffin Shaped Nails?

Coffin shaped nails are also known as Ballerina’s Nails, they are where the tip resembles the shape of a coffin or a ballerina’s shoe. You will find they are very popular and a go-to amongst celebrities like the Kardashians.

It is often best used with acrylic nails, as they are usually very long– of course, you can achieve this look with natural nails but they would have to be very strong and not snap easily.

I would recommend opting out and going for the acrylic or dip nail option for longevity and durability in order to pull these bad boys off for longer.

They are very similar to stiletto nails but instead of a pointy tip you have a flat, more square tip– they are always a fave of mine!

How can I do my nails to get the best coffin nails shape?

Once you’ve prepped your nail applied and trimmed your natural nails or nail tips and have a nail file at the ready, this is what you need to do:

Step one: Before you start filling I usually create a rough coffin shape (or even almond shape) by clipping the sides and top with scissors — this will save a hell of a lot of filing. It doesn’t need to be perfect as we are about to go in with the file to sort it out!

Step two: Gently file the top and sides I would aim for a stiletto shape but with a flat top in order to achieve that perfect coffin nails or ballerina nails. Be patient ladies, make sure you spend time on this step as you don’t want to file too much and not have any nail left to work with.

Step three: File down the side gently on each nail until each side is even and then touch up the top to ensure it is in the middle.

Step four: Once you are happy with the shape, gently file the edge of the tips, while trying to maintain the shape to have a very sharp, coffin-like tip everyone loves.

Step five: For my acrylic ladies out there, after these steps, you need to apply the acrylic using your favorite brush, desired Liquid Monomer, and Acrylic Powder until you have even coverage.

Step six: Once you have covered the whole nail, repeat the previous steps again while filing the top too until you achieve your desired coffin shape again that ready to paint. 

Step seven: Now this is the best bit: adding your nail design! Whether you’re going for a classic nude or the most intricate nail art, what a better way to finish off a coffin shape! 

Whatever design takes your fancy, gel or regular nail polish to natural or acrylic nails– the options are endless.

Are Coffin Nails prone to breaking?

This all depends on the method of doing your coffin nails. If you’re doing these nails on natural nails instead of acrylics they may be prone to breakage.

This is because of how length and thickness the tip may be, it can be easily caught and snap off– frustrating I know! But if you’re extra careful you can prolong the life of these beauties.

If you want to achieve a coffin shape on natural nails I would opt for a short coffin shape, rather than the long ones as they’ll last much longer and personally look much better!

For those doing acrylic, dip, or fake nails, coffin nails are actually very durable– they can last up to 21 days without breaking if you take care of them!

Ballette nails


In this article, I have gone through the best way to shape coffin nails, whether you’re a natural tip girl or looking to pull out all the stops in your next acrylic or dip nail manicure.

Coffin nails are perfect for every occasion and a timeless classic loved by celebrities and many manicure lovers and experts all over the world.


Whether you’re looking to pull off a timeless nude, classic red, or the most obscure and beautiful nail, with these tips you’ll be flaunting your nails in no time.

If you want a good gel polish to complete the look you need to check out my selection of the best gel nail polish guide, I have selected the very best for your coffin manicure needs!

Coffin Nails will add that extra touch of class to any look!

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