With me not working lately, I haven’t felt the need to cut my nails. I’m a professional flutist and work with my hands a lot, so long nails get in the way of my speedy fingers.
Why I decided on the Super Mario theme for this week came as an afterthought. Whenever my nails get on the long side, I try to think of doing some sort of French tip manicure because I’ll have the surface area to make it look nice. This time, I thought to myself, “Oh, doing mushroom tips and an invincible star as an accent nail would be cute, and it will be easy to do.” Famous last words.
The first step was to gather my colors together. These are the ones that ended up in the mani:
Sephora by OPI- Give Peach A Chance (How perfect is that name for this mani?!)
Sephora Nail Lacquer 5 Day Shine- Happy hour!
Sephora Nail Lacquer 5 Day Shine- Banana split
Nicka K- NY 139
Essie- Pretty Edgy
Sephora by OPI- White Hot
I started out by painting what turned out to be 3 coats of Give Peach a Chance on all my nails except the ring fingers, on which I painted 2 coats of Banana split. The intention was to later paint Happy hour! onto Banana split to outline the star because it’s always easier to paint a darker color over a lighter color.
Next came the French tip portion. I originally set out to do only the topmost parts of the my nails with NY 139 and Pretty Edgy in the manner of a regular French manicure. I wasn’t planning to paint the eyes on the mushroom nails but rather wanted to just give the impression of having the mushroom heads there. But then I put the tips on and realized how awful they looked with so much of the peach color on the nail bed. FAIL.
At this point, I decide to make the peach part more of a half-moon to get the ratio looking right, and it occurs to me that I can maybe cheat with this step and use reinforcement stickers as templates rather than have to paint the curve manually. But for this, I’ll need to let the peach polish dry. So let’s try doing the star…
I took a flat brush and started painting the blue color over the yellow one. Oh, no, no, no… The blue didn’t have enough coverage in one coat to look good, and because I suck at painting star outlines, the whole thing looked like a streaky mess beyond repair. FAIL. A few swipes of acetone over the accent nail, and it was good to start over again, this time with Happy hour! as the base. I figured that maybe if I painted some of the yellow polish onto a plastic bag, I could let it dry and then punch out the star shape with a craft punch. Clever, right? So while that was drying, I went back to the mushrooms…
I have a love/hate relationship with using pre-cut stickers/tape as stencils because I don’t have the patience to let everything dry to the extent that it needs to be dry to not damage the base coat of polish. I tested my right hand with the reinforcement stickers first because I almost always end up photographing my left hand for my Instagram and Tumblr feeds.
The stickers took a tiny bit of polish off in almost every case. FAIL. I was so happy I didn’t at least mess up my left hand! I managed to patch up the weird looking spots and then manually drew in the colored tips on my left hand.
At this point, I tried checking my yellow polish to see if it was dry yet… Nope. So onto the eyes of my mushrooms.
I used my smallest dotting tool to put the eyes on with black acrylic paint. If you happen to see modern images of the power up, you’ll notice that it has white dots at the top:
I tried to paint white dots at the top to replicate the look, but it didn’t look right. Then I realized that the eyes have a gradient effect, so I tried to add gray underneath the white… at which point it looked like a hot mess. FAIL. I ended up painting the eyes with black again. Thankfully it covered up all the other atrocities!
At this point, I realized that the yellow polish for my star was never going to dry in time for this manicure. I have little patience when it comes to drying time! I took some yellow acrylic paint and painted the star by hand with a tiny brush.
While that dried, I had to go back to add the white dots on the mushroom heads. Silly me tried to use a dotting tool with white polish at first, but I pushed too hard, and the white looked like a mess combined with the green polish underneath it. FAIL. So my trick: paint the light colors with acrylic paint and a brush, then paint over the acrylic paint with the color of polish that you like so that the texture evens out. It’s twice the work, but it looks much nicer in the end. I did this with all the spots and the star, at which point the only thing I had to do was apply a topcoat. And voilà!
Finally done! With only 5 fails!
But then I ended up smudging my 1-up guy with a bra hook. 😦