I match my nails up with the best sized strip for each one first. Then I rub a little nail polish remover on my nail to remove any dirt or oil from my nails. Then I begin placing on the strips pinky first. The file that comes with the kit has three sides sort of. I use the white one to gently press down and smooth from my cuticle down to my nail. I bend the extra down and file using the hot pink board across the edge of my nail and then the light pink side to smooth the edge. And I always put a top coat on afterwards. Good luck!