Product Review: Barbie Doll’d Up Nails Digital Printer

Disclaimer:  The Barbie Doll’d Up Nails was the only thing my eight year old daughter wanted for Christmas.  I got the last one on the shelf and spent every bit of the $174 to get it.  If ONLY the company had provided me with this to review!

doll'd up nailsDo you or your daughter want to create, customize and print “perfect, professional quality designs for your nails right at home?”  Mattell says the Barbie Doll’d Up Nails Printer will give you salon styled nails right from your own home.  But will it?

This digital nail printer was one of the hardest to find toys of the season.  I literally bought the last one off of the shelf at a whopping $174.  Later, these nail printers were selling for more than $300 on eBay.

The Barbie Doll’d Up Nails digital printer plugs in to your computer’s USB port.  It is important to download the latest software before using the printer.  Unfortunately, it took at least ten times for me to finally get the latest release.  The software would freeze or fail at finding the new version.   Many reboots later, I was ready to plug in the new printer.

After installing the ink cartridge, you have to place a special card in the nail slot to align the printer.  This has been my ONLY problem with the printer and my only complaint with the printer.  You just can’t align it correctly.

Since we started using the nail printer, I have aligned it at least 50 times.  I’ve tried to trick the printer, I’ve done it the correct way – I’ve used every bit of my A+ Certification skills to make this printer align – but to no avail.  I’ll explain further down.

Before printing on your nails, you have to put a coat of white nail polish on.  The polish is a bit clumpy and will not spread evenly.  When my eight year old daughter puts it on by herself it becomes a huge gunky mess.  I usually put it on for her, making it as evenly brushed as possible.

After the white nail polish dries, you put a top coat of clear on.  You have to be patient before doing your nails on this printer, allowing both coats to dry completely.

nail reviewThis is where the fun begins.  The software for this printer is amazingly user (and kid!) friendly.  There are more than 1,000 nail designs to choose from, each beautiful, unique and sometimes funny.  And if that weren’t enough, you can upload any picture of your choosing to place on your nails.  Your dog, boyfriend, surfboard or teacher can be printed on your fingernails with three simple clicks.  This is a LOT of fun.

Once you choose your design, the process begins to slow down a bit.  You place one finger inside a bin that gently holds on to it so you won’t move it.  Then you have to use your OTHER hand to click an icon that will make the printer take a picture of your fingernail.  Once you click the icon you have to sit and wait for the printer to flash, then push the flashing button on the printer.

After this step, your nail shows up on the screen and you are able to move the design a bit to match where it should print.  This is where we have trouble.  With the alignment not working as it should, we rarely get the design to print exactly on the nail.

Our first attempt resulted in the following design:

alignment nails

I found that as an adult, if I push my finger as hard as I can to the right, I can get a fairly aligned design on my nail.

Back to the process.  Once you are happy with the picture of your finger, you have to click another icon, telling the printer you are ready for it to print.  Then you wait a few more seconds for the flashing light to begin.  Pushing the flashing button results in a quick swipe of the ink cartridge, spraying a fabulous design on your fingernail.

For one fingernail, you have to keep one finger in the printer while using your other hand to manipulate the mouse.  You have to click two icons, wait a significant amount of time for flashing buttons, and then push those buttons when they are ready.  If you are lucky, you will have aligned the printer in such a way that the design will actually be on your finger.

After each nail has gone through this process, you have to put a top coat of clear nail polish on the design for it to last through hand washings.  The printer comes with one bottle of each of the three polishes required for the manicure.  It also includes one ink cartridge.  The instructions list a number to call for replacements, but states, “while supplies last.”

Although this review seems somewhat negative about the process, I’ve got to say that this nail printer is tons of fun.  The fact that nails take a long time keeps patient children occupied – a good thing for mom and dad, no?  And the endless design possibilities make this a very cool toy indeed.  My daughter and I have played with the printer for hours, making countless nail designs together.

The cost of the Doll’d Up Nails printer is $174 or higher.  This is more than any household desktop printer, despite the software included with the nail printer.

If you purchase this manicure printer, remember it takes patience and time to design each individual nail.  You will need some dexterity as you keep one hand in the printer and the other on the mouse.  (This is a much easier process if you are using the printer with a friend.)  It will take even more time to play with the alignment.  But the finished product is amazingly fun, as is the design process.

After using this product, you won’t be leaving the house with a “salon manicure” or “perfect, professional nails.”  But you and your daughter will have hours of fun with the Barbie Doll’d Up Digital Nail Printer, as long as you are patient and understand it’s limitations.

doll'd up nails