Poolside Inspired Nail Art

After such intensive work on the Minions last week, I wanted to keep it simple.  Brainstorming summery things, I decided a pool would be good inspiration, so I dug through my nail foils and found this beauty:

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Nail foil purchased on eBay.  Doesn’t this remind you of how inviting a pool looks on a hot summer day?

I wanted to contrast it with a silvery gray color, but apparently I’m a bit color blind at night, the time when I usually paint my nails.  Using Racy from Formula X for Sephora, I painted all my nails with 1-2 coats and realized that the color was actually a metallic purple-gray color.  And me being too lazy to take it off and start again, I just went with it anyway.  Hey, I said poolside inspired, which is the catch phrase for not having to literally paint what I said I was going to do!  😉

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Racy by Formula X for Sephora.

Using an old nail polish brush and a solution made of 1/2 water and 1/2 ScraPerfect’s Best Glue Ever (highly recommended by Robin Moses on her blog), I painted half my nail on the diagonal with glue and let it dry clear before applying the foil.

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So shiny! Freshly applied foil.

To hide slight imperfections on the diagonal border of the foil, I added a stripe of Silver Glitter by Kiss Nail Art Paint.

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Nail art featuring Kiss Nail Art Paint in Silver Glitter.

For a finishing touch and no good reason other than the fact that I wanted to use them, I added a rhinestone to the center of each silver glitter stripe.  I didn’t use glue to adhere these because they are small (2 mm diameter) and because adding a topcoat over the rhinestones would help seal them in place.

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Pre-topcoat application. So shiny!

The final dilemma was figuring out if my topcoat would disintegrate the foil.  If you’ve used nail art foil before, you’ll know this problem quite well.  Seche Vite, which I swear by as the topcoat for practically all of my manicures, breaks up the foil and dulls its appearance.  This time I tried out Miracle Gel Topcoat by Sally Hansen, and it did a pretty good job of not destroying the foil.  If any of you have recommendations for good topcoats, I’d love to hear them in the comments!

Happy painting!

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With topcoat, the foil doesn’t look as lustrous, but at least I know it won’t rub off by the end of the day!

Nail Art Problem #2: When Glued Charms Fall Off

I used to adhere my googly eyes, rhinestones, and other charms onto my nails by setting them into wet polish or topcoat.  After losing so many decorations randomly throughout my day and often even in less than 24 hours from doing my nails, I decided to try buying nail art glue for my 3D creations.

I picked up Kiss Salon Secrets Nail Art Glue from CVS.  It comes in a tube that looks like it could be Krazy Glue, but when you squeeze it out, it has a gel like consistency and is easy to apply.

I have to give props to Kiss because my wiggle eyes have been hanging onto my manicure really well.  The problem is more that I really can’t stand having things protrude from my nail bed.  The eyes have been catching on towels, in my hair, while digging through my pocketbook…  you name it, and they get in the way.  Imagine my surprise when I went to unbutton my pants, and I felt an eye pop off!  I mean, I wasn’t really that surprised that it happened, but I was definitely shocked to see how many layers of polish it took with it.  You figure the eyes had a base coat, 2 coats of yellow, a coat of silver, and a top coat underneath the glue.  That’s a lot to chip off just in the eye socket area!  I just hope that my nail bed didn’t get too damaged.  But for now, I have one minion that looks like a zombie.  😛  Guess I’ll have to paint my nails again soon!

Minions: the Nail Art

I had some friends request that I do Minions on my nails.  Before I was willing to do them, I watched Despicable Me, Despicable Me 2, and ultimately finished with Minions the Movie so I could really find out what they were about.  Most fun research experience ever.  🙂

I had a few different ideas for how to recreate these adorable characters on my nails, but what I ultimately decided to do was paint Kevin, Stuart, and Bob along with some bananas.

Because I was going to paint specific minions, I needed to figure out what makes each one look different.  The most obvious difference with Kevin, Stuart, and Bob is that they’re different heights, and each one has a different hairstyle.  With that in mind, I already realized that I wasn’t going to have enough room to paint their overalls because I have relatively short fingernails.  That worked for me because I didn’t want to have to paint more details than I had to do.  😉

Here is the material line up:

OPI- Alpine Snow
Formula X for Sephora- Zing
Sephora Nail Lacquer 5 Day Shine- Banana split
Konad Special Nail Polish- Black
Formula X- Need for Speed
Sephora by OPI- Casanova Is So Into Me
craft smart Acrylic paint in White and Black
Cheeky- Jumbo Plate 7 (Home Sweet Home)
Googly (wiggle) eyes
Kiss Nail Art Glue
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Clockwise from top left: Alpine Snow by OPI, Need for Speed by Formula X, Zing by Formula X for Sephora, black acrylic paint from craft smart, white acrylic paint from craft smart, Konad Special Nail Polish in Black, Casanova Is So Into Me from Sephora by OPI, and Banana split from Sephora.

I wanted the minions to be on the center nails and surrounded by bananas, so I started by painting the backdrop colors.  I figured that the blue I was going to use for their overalls would contrast nicely with the yellow of the bananas, so I painted my thumb and pinky with Zing.  Because I didn’t want to end up with too many layers of polish for the minions, I only painted half of my nail beds with Alpine Snow.  If you want to be super anal about painting the white background, you can use reinforcement stickers to create the curve of the minion heads, but I’m far too lazy to do that.  😛

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Painting the backdrop for the design with Zing and Alpine Snow.

Next I started painting the yellow minion heads onto the white backdrops.  Kevin is the tallest followed by Stuart and Bob, so I varied the placement of the heads accordingly, leaving room to paint their hair on later.

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Eggs about to hatch- Kevin will be on my middle finger with Stuart to his left and Bob to his right.

I wanted to allow time for the polish to dry, so I focused on doing the banana portion of the design next.  I have a cute plate from Cheeky with bananas on it, so that eliminated the need for me to have to paint them by hand.

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Cheeky Jumbo Plate 7.

What I liked about using this plate is how I still had the ability to color in the design using the reverse stamping technique.

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Stamping with black Konad polish and a Konad stamper.

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Coloring in the peeled bananas with Alpine Snow and a dotting tool.

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Coloring in the rest of the design with Banana split. How appropriate.

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The transfer of the stamped pattern is complete!

I repeated this process for my pinky and applied topcoat to the stamped nails before going back to the minion portion of the design.

Because I was going to use googly eyes, I wanted to paint the silver outline of the goggles first.  In retrospect, I could have glued the eyes on first and then painted the silver outline around the eyes, but I wanted to avoid having the clean nail polish off my detail brush.  Have you ever done that before?  It’s kind of a pain.  Plus in the past I’ve had the eyes pop off randomly leaving the design looking a bit creepy, so I figured it would look less creepy if they had silver lenses on their goggles rather than empty yellow sockets [very creepy!].  The other reason for not adding the outline afterward was because I didn’t want to apply topcoat over the wiggle eyes.  I used Need for Speed with a large dotting tool and approximated how big the goggles had to be for an outline to show up around the wiggle eyes.

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Starting to paint goggles to make creepy looking alien minions.

Next I used black acrylic paint with a very fine nail art detail brush to paint hair and the goggle straps.

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Painting the hair and goggle straps.

The fun part was trying to decide what their expressions would be.  The easiest one to paint was the smile, which I gave to Stuart, who is the cool minion.  I gave Kevin an open mouth to express awe at the bananas in his midst.  I felt that Bob was the silly one, so I wanted to have him sticking out his tongue blowing a raspberry.

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The bases for the facial expressions.

The tongue obviously didn’t look like a tongue in that state, so I had to paint on some detail, and to keep Kevin’s mouth from looking like a nose, I painted in some teeth.  At this point, I had only enough room to draw a sliver of their overalls onto the tips of my nails.  I wish I had longer nails so I could make them look more like the movie characters, but c’est la vie!

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Almost complete!

I applied topcoat to the minion nails and then used Kiss Nail Art Glue to apply the wiggle eyes for the finishing touch.

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Minion nail art!

I love how cute this design turned out!  The googly eyes give them so much character and have been quite the source of amusement for me.  The only thing I regret is not being able to choose different colors for Bob’s eyes, but I’m sure a lot of people don’t mind that that detail is missing.

And in case you’re wondering, the new movie is super cute and entertaining!  😉

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Double the minions, double the fun! I kind of cheated on my right hand by making them all have smiles, but as is always the case, I tend to rush more through my right hand because I tend to photograph only the left hand. 😉

Nail Art Problem #1: Spilling Nail Polish

Ever try picking up a nail polish bottle by the handle that didn’t have the brush completely screwed on?  The bottle goes flying, and the result is a streaky mess on the floor, or the on the carpet in my case.  Hopefully you’re lucky enough that there isn’t anything else that the bottle hits on the way down its fateful path.  It’s only a slight blessing that the opening of the bottle isn’t too large to allow for complete loss of product (and sanity) and that the resulting mess looks like a 2 year old scribbled on the affected surfaces with a marker.

Has anyone ever successfully gotten nail polish stains out of carpeting/fabric before?  Inquiring minds want to know.

Ice Cream Nail Art

I can’t believe that I didn’t know that July 19 was National Ice Cream Day!  I definitely would have celebrated were I aware of this beforehand, but I hope you guys enjoyed some ice cream.  🙂

It’s totally coincidental that I decided to do some ice cream inspired nails last night.  I’ve been in a funk because of horrible back pain that I’ve been experiencing the past few days, and I had to force myself to do my nails just to keep some sort of normalcy in my life right now.  I was not in the mood to do any freehand painting, so I decided to look through a set of Bundle Monster plates that I purchased a few months ago and thought that the two plates below would make a great looking ice cream manicure.

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Plates by Bundle Monster- the inspiration for this week’s manicure.

Next step: picking the colors.  I used only three different polishes for the final look.

Sephora by OPI- Neutral Beauty
Julep- Olivia
Konad Special Nail Polish- Pink

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Polishes for a strawberry ice cream mani.

First, I painted 2 coats of Neutral Beauty onto all of my nails to make the general ice cream cone color.  This technically ends up being the highlight color on the cone part of the design after the stamping is done.

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Neutral Beauty by Sephora by OPI

Next, I used Olivia with plate BM-418 to make the waffle cone pattern.  I kept the smaller sized part of the design toward the cuticle knowing that the larger part would be covered by the ice cream drips later on.  They kind of look like giraffe nails at this point, mainly because the brown color that I used is dark.  I don’t own many brown polishes (honestly, how many different brown polishes does anyone own?), so I had to go with Olivia.

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Slightly burnt looking (or maybe chocolate covered) waffle cone pattern done with Olivia by Julep and the BM-418 plate by Bundle Monster.

I used Konad’s pink polish to imitate strawberry ice cream dripping down the sides of the cones.  I knew that there was no way that the polish would be opaque enough to cover the waffle cone pattern, so I considered the stamping as a template for how to paint the drips on afterward.

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What Konad Special Nail Polish in Pink and Bundle Monster BM-405 look like on top of the cone pattern. Unfortunately the polish isn’t opaque enough to cover the existing design.

The last step was to go back and paint over the drip pattern directly with the brush from the bottle.  Thankfully, Konad polishes have a small and somewhat stumpy brush, so it’s easy to paint with with a little precision.  If you want to recreate this look with a different brand of polish, you can also use a dotting tool so that it’s easier to achieve the rounded edges of the drips.

Technically it’s not even necessary to stamp the drip pattern on beforehand, seeing as you have to paint over it again to make it look more opaque.  I just wasn’t feeling up to doing it completely freehand because of the aforementioned back pain, but painting over a stamped pattern definitely makes you feel more secure in the same sense that kids love using tracing paper to draw.

The result is a fun summertime mani that drips with happiness without the mess.  Enjoy!

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Melting strawberry ice cream never looked so good.

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Posing with a Cheesecake Oreo ice cream cone from Max and Mina’s in Queens. Yum.

Review of Ya Qin An Y015 Plate

I’m always looking for good quality stamping plates because they make doing nail art so easy.  What attracted me to this plate was the dragon design (hello, Chinese New Year or Game of Thrones designs!) and the hibiscus flower pattern along with its inverted counterpart.

The packaging is nicer than most.  The plate comes shipped in a cardboard sheath, which provides a little extra protection so that it doesn’t get bent during the shipping process.  I’ve had plates arrive that were slightly warped because of being improperly handled by shipping carriers, so I appreciated the packaging even more.

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The plate comes in a cardboard envelope with a label sealing the open end.

The extra benefit to having a cardboard envelope for the plate is that they have room to write instructions for how to use it.  The instructions are in Chinese, but you can figure out what you’re supposed to do by looking at the illustrations.  However, chances are that if you purchased the plate, you already know how to use it.

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Instructions for use are pictured on the back of the package.

The plate itself is covered in the standard blue film that protects the design.  You must remove the film from the top of the design before using it.

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The plate comes sealed with blue film that needs to be removed before use.

The bottom side of the plate also has the same blue film on it.  I would recommend leaving the film intact for this side because it protects the plate, gives the surface a bit more traction so that it doesn’t slip around when you try to use it, and it minimizes the chance that you will cut yourself against the metal edges of the plate.

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The back of the plate is also covered in the same blue film as the front.

Without the film on the plate, you can see the beauty of the designs, which are well etched into the metal and form a complete continuous picture.  The quality of the etching is much like the kind you find on Konad plates.  It also helps that the lines of the design are fairly thick, so there is more of a channel for your nail polish to settle into.  This also makes cleaning the plate with acetone and a cotton ball a breeze.

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Plate Y015 by Ya Qin An

The only thing that irks me about the design is that on the top right corner of the plate, you can see that the center detail of one of the flowers was not etched.  You can avoid using that part of the plate and still come up with a beautiful manicure, but it’s a slightly annoying design flaw.

The first part of the plate that I tried to use was the inverse flower pattern on the left side of the image.  I used a black polish on the plate and stamped it onto a white background.  With so much empty space for the polish to fill on the plate, it’s hard to get an even consistency in the stamped pattern.  Although having the negative image of the flowers on the same plate is a cool concept, it’s a little pointless.  I could have stamped white polish onto a black background using the right side of the plate and achieved a cleaner looking result.

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A sample of the inverse flower pattern. I stamped black polish over a white base.

Next I tried using the flower pattern etched on the ride side of the plate.  You can see how crisp the lines transfer onto the stamper.  The thickness of the lines of the image also make this perfect to use for reverse stamping.

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The image transfers nicely from the plate to the stamper.

Here’s the finished manicure I did using this plate.

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A lovely colored in floral manicure using the reverse stamping technique.

I didn’t try out the dragon portion yet, but that part of the image is etched similarly to the flower pattern.  I definitely plan on using that part for something in the future, though.

Overall, this plate is beautiful, well etched, and will make you totally satisfied with your purchase.  I highly recommend it!

Diamond rating: ♦♦♦♦♦ (5/5)

If you are interested in purchasing this stamping plate (retail price is $3.99 USD), the link for the item is shown below.  Using code RSSPX31 will get you 10% off your order, and Born Pretty Store offers free worldwide shipping.  Happy stamping!

http://www.bornprettystore.com/dragon-flower-pattern-nail-stamp-template-image-plate-y015-p-20721.html

http://www.bornprettystore.com/

rsspx31

Hibiscus Nail Art

I love floral manicures for the spring and summer seasons, and it’s so easy to make a pretty looking mani with stamping plates, so let’s do this!

Materials:

Sephora by OPI- White Hot
BMC Nail Lacquer- noir black
Essie- Pretty Edgy
Julep- Nellie
Nicole by OPI- Berry the Hatchet
Julep- Karen
Ya Qin An- Y015 plate

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Clockwise from top left: White Hot, noir black, Pretty Edgy, Berry the Hatchet, Nellie, and Karen.

You’ll notice that Berry the Hatchet and Nellie are very similar colors.  I just wanted to have a little difference in the shades of the flowers.  Much like in nature, not every bloom looks alike, but if you want to recreate this look, you can stick to the same shade for each flower.

I wanted the floral pattern to stand out, so I started out by painting White Hot on all my nails.

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2 coats of White Hot by Sephora by OPI, no topcoat.

For the floral pattern, I used plate Y015 by Ya Qin An.  The brand of the plate wasn’t listed on the packaging, but I saw the name pictured with this plate on the Born Pretty Store website.  A review of the plate will be coming soon.

Plate Y015 by Ya Qin An

Plate Y015 by Ya Qin An

Because I wanted to color in the different elements of the image, I used the reverse stamping technique where you transfer the image onto the stamper and then paint the colors onto the stamper before transferring the image to your nails.  The technique itself is very simple, but it’s a very time consuming process and requires a lot of patience.  I like using dotting tools to color in the sections because dotting tools are easier to clean than brushes, but you can use whatever works best for you.  If you don’t have dotting tools or brushes, I’m sure a toothpick would work just as well.  Just be careful to not touch any of the stamped lines directly or else you will end up lifting part of the original image.

Stamp your image. I used noir black by BMC Nail Lacquer.

Stamp the desired part of the image. I used noir black by BMC Nail Lacquer.

Color in the sections with a dotting tool and your desired colors.

Color in the sections with a dotting tool and your desired colors.

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Transfer the design from the stamper onto your nail.

Repeat this process for each nail, and you’re all set!  The result looks gorgeous, and I’ve been getting so many compliments about this design.  Good luck, and happy stamping!

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