Things I have learnt along the way
Make sure you have everything to hand:
polish remover (one without oils or moisturisers, I use pure acetone),
cotton bud (q-tip)
paper towels (kitchen roll).
I have the plate holder but never use it. It gets very mucky and adds to the cleaning process, I found the plate can slip out of it, plus I found it felt a teeny bit wobbly as the plate can rotate inside it, I prefer not using it. I think it works best if you put the plate on a paper towel and scrape onto that.
The cotton bud can be soaked in polish remover and used to clean-up any polish that ends up on your skin.
The scraper. I don't use the Konad metal scraper as it can scratch the plate. Old plastic cards work great. I use an old iTunes card cut in half and it's perfect. Any old credit card, membership card or anything like that will work. I have a few I use, cut them in half or even quarters and you have plenty of spare scrapers to use. Keep them clean between stamping so you get a good clean swipe each time. Polish can get loaded up on them and cause problems.
The method. Sweep the polish over the design, then scrape using medium pressure. Push the stamp using medium pressure onto the design then lift. You can also try rolling across the design to pick it up. Then line the design with your nail from the side and roll the stamp over the surface.You are going from one side of the nail to the other.
If in doubt YouTube it, there are many videos showing the method of application, watching them will help you see how it's done.
There are also instructions and a video here, to help you. (Link takes you to Konad USA)
Use a top coat over your base polish. When you make a mistake, you can simply give the nail a quick swipe with polish remover on paper towel, and the base polish will be fine as only the top coat will be removed. Once you add your final top coat the dullness caused will be gone and the nail will look great!
Make sure your base colour is really dry, otherwise it may wrinkle from the pressure of the stamp.
You need to work quickly. Once the polish is on the plate, scrape and stamp pretty swiftly. If the polish dries, it will not pick up or transfer to the nail properly. We are talking under 10 seconds from polish on plate to transfer, sounds fast but you'll be amazed at how fast you actually do it. Konad polishes give you more time as they dry slower, Chrome type polishes dry super fast so you have to speed up when using those.
You don't necessarily need to buy the Konad special polishes, some other polishes work very well, chromes and thicker, opaque polishes are worth a try. I use China Glaze Romantiques and Khromes collections with great success, however, they dry super fast so you need to be super quick, otherwise they peel.
Why Konad Polishes are worth getting anyway. The Konad special polishes are very thick and dry more slowly, giving you a little bit more time. They are very opaque and show up well, they will also give you a fighting chance as you learn to Konad.
If things are going wrong and you are using normal polish, you won't know if it is your technique or the polish at fault, this is why I recommend at least starting out with the konad polishes. The white and black ones I think are valuable ones to get anyway. The gold and silver konad polishes are not great, quite sheer, I use China Glaze Khromes for this.
If the design isn't picking up or transferring to nail, try wiping the stamper and plate with pure acetone, this works for me every time. Oils on the stamp or plate will stop it working correctly, this can come from your fingers or a polish remover containing moisturisers.
Pure acetone will remove all traces. I wipe the stamp after every nail, the plate after every one or two. Also wipe the scraper, as residual polish can cause a bump and then scrapes unevenly or scrapes too much polish from design, a clean scraper ensures a clean, even swipe.
Some people gently file the stamper to get it to pick up. I personally have never needed to do this, I have 3 stampers (the short, long and double ended stampers) and all them pick up fine just making sure they are clean.
You don't always have to cover the whole design in polish. You can usually put a good glob or line at the top of the design, making sure you go the full width of the design, then as you scrape you will pull the rest of the polish over the full design. Saves polish :o)
Another sticking point is the top coat application. I have tried a cheap top coat and it smudged. I use the Konad top coat and it seems great. You can apparently use other top coats, like Seche Vite, but I haven't tried it yet, so can't comment on it's success rate. Make sure you have a good glob of topcoat on the brush and glide it over the nail, once and one only!!! The trick with any top coat and konad, is to only go over the design once, and do so very lightly.
Experiment on old mani's before you remove them. That way you are not ruining a new mani and you can try various polishes and designs and your technique, all without the stress of getting it wrong. Trying it out on old mani's is the best way to learn, without pressure.