Porcelain China Inspired Nail Art

Fancy a spot o’ tea?  I’m planning to dress up as Alice in Wonderland for Halloween, so I did my nails already to plan ahead.

This one was a pretty simple one to do despite the complexity of the design.

I started out by painting all my nails with mayfair by nails inc.  The color is a perfect porcelain white with a pearl finish.


mayfair by nails inc.

I used plate BPL-003 from Born Pretty Store for the two designs.  This plate has a great variety of tile type patterns, so I chose a somewhat busy looking one for the middle two nails and thumb and a more understated one for the other two fingers.


Plate BPL-003 from Born Pretty Store. The designs I used for this manicure are in the top row, 2nd from the left and the first one on the left in the bottom row.

The stamping was done with royal blue from b.m.c. nail lacquer.


b.m.c. nail lacquer in royal blue and mayfair from nails inc. Doesn’t anyone capitalize their company name anymore?


The stamped design with Seche Vite topcoat added.

I didn’t do a perfect job with the stamping on my index finger, so I created a distraction by added some pearl studs from Born Pretty Store to the middle of the bottom curve of my index and pinky finger nails.  Tricked you, didn’t I?  😉  Pearls make this manicure more sophisticated and ladylike, so I just went with it.

As an aside, I think I need to prime my stamper a little more.  I used my squishy head stamper for this manicure, and it has never been the best at picking up every detail.  Truth is that I was impatient to wait for the base color to dry, so I figured that using a squishy head would allow me to stamp my nails without having to worry about smudging the polish, so the stamper worked perfectly in that respect.


Finished tile print nails.

I could have made more literal Alice in Wonderland nails, but maybe I’ll save that for another day.  So many ideas, so little time!

Hope you all have a fun and safe Halloween!  🙂  Happy polishing!

Born Pretty Store BP-79 Stamping Plate Review

I’m a musician, so when I saw that plate BP-79 from Born Pretty Store had a design with music notes on it, I had to have it!

Shipping to the US always takes about 2 weeks, but it’s free.  Free is always good, and good things come to those who wait!

As is the case with all Born Pretty Store stamping plates, it comes sealed with blue film on top of the plate and a protective cardboard envelope.  I love using these sleeves for storage because they prevent other plates or items from accidentally scratching the etching.  Of course, some people use albums, but I’m not that fancy.  😛


Plate BP-79 from Born Pretty Store.

The backside of the plate has a thin plasticized sticker covering the metal with the company name and website.  The function of this is to help prevent the user from getting cut on the metal edges, although I suppose you probably still could injure yourself on the plate somehow if you really wanted to.


Can you guess where I bought this plate?

On the front side, the blue film must be removed before you can use it and see how beautiful and spotless it is.


The blue film is removed, so BP-79 is now ready for action.

The size of the plate is comparable to circular plates made by Konad and Bundle Monster, but the images span entire quadrants across a 5 cm diameter.  The plate number takes up some of the music note/butterfly pattern, but you won’t even notice the difference.  The image sizes are still quite large, and you’ll be able to stamp with different parts of the same image without a problem.

Stamping with this plate is a breeze because the etching is done so well.  You’ll be able to pick up every little detail from the image with hardly any effort.


Black rose manicure done with Curve-aceous by Sephora by OPI, Define Good… by China Glaze, and Konad Special Nail Polish in Black.

If you like even just one design on the plate, I would recommend buying it, especially if it is on sale.  You’ll find that the other images will appeal to you as well, and your manicures will look instantly professional with minimal work, and your wallet won’t complain, either!

Diamond rating: ♦♦♦♦♦ (5/5)

If you are interested in purchasing BP-79 (retail price is $2.99 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!




Black Rose Gothic Nail Art

Seems like there are so many Halloween nail art videos being shared on social media lately that I wanted to take a completely different approach to the usual kitsch.  With my schedule being so hectic lately, my stamping plates have come to the rescue again.

My weapon of choice?  BP-79 from Born Pretty Store.


BP-79 from Born Pretty Store. The roses from the top right hand corner of the plate were used for this manicure.

I wanted to have a somewhat Goth look for this one, so I opted to paint my nails red and stamp them with black polish.


Curve-aceous by Sephora by OPI is a gorgeous shimmery red.

I wanted to make the base color a little darker, but I was afraid that the stamping wouldn’t show on top, so I attempted to add some darker patches with a sponge and Define Good… by China Glaze.


A very subtle blend of the two colors is accomplished with a sponge dipped lightly in Define Good… by China Glaze.

The stamping was done with Konad Special Nail Polish in Black.


Every rose has its thorns. A dark take on a classic pattern.

And so here I am, slightly bucking the trend with this sophisticated manicure during Halloween season.  It’s totally perfect because I was told to dress in formal black with a red accent for today’s concert.  🙂  Happy polishing!

Hannibal Lecter Nail Art

Every once in awhile, I’ll have a friend request that I do specific nail art.  At the beginning of October, I was approached by Sung Jin Hong, the conductor of One World Symphony, with the idea of doing some Hannibal Lecter themed nail art to commemorate the October 25 world premiere of his Hannibal opera.  You can find the details of the upcoming concert here if you are interested in attending.  I kind of love the challenge of coming up with a look to fit the theme as it always gets my creative juices flowing, so I agreed to it even though I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to pull off a good looking mani.

The first order of business was to watch Silence of the LambsHannibal, and Red Dragon to see what would inspire me and what I could paint to represent Hannibal Lecter.  The only thing that really made sense to me was to paint his face in the mask, which appears in the first two movies.  I could have painted some of the finer things that he adores, but I felt like nothing would stand out as distinctly Hannibal unless I painted the man himself.  That’s when I knew I was going to be working for a long time on this manicure.

The plan was to paint Hannibal’s face in the mask across both hands because my nails are too short and small to be able to give him enough detail on one hand alone.  I’ve never considered myself a real artist, and I’ve definitely never had to paint a realistic looking face before, so I wanted to give myself some room.  I figured 3 nails would be sufficient for the width, so I put him in the center and planned to do a bloody splatter on the surrounding nails.

But first, I had to pick some colors.  Nothing is worse than digging through your nail polish collection when you haven’t finished a design, so I always try to plan ahead.


Left to right: White Hot, Give Peach a Chance, and Caught with my Khakis Down by Sephora by OPI, and Janae by Julep.


Left to right: Sweet Daisy by Nicole by OPI, Tip Your Hat by China Glaze, and Blue-Mmmm by Piggy Polish.


Clockwise from top left: acrylic paints by craft smart in White, Dark Grey, Black, Bright Red, Golden Brown, and Brown.

With this design involving two hands with differing elements, there are twice the number of photos.  Let the slideshow begin!


The left hand starts out with White Hot on my thumb and pinky while the other nails get Give Peach a Chance. This will become the top half of Hannibal’s face.


The right hand gets White Hot on the thumb and pinky again, Caught with my Khakis Down on the middle finger, and Give Peach a Chance on the outside 3/4 of nails. This will be the bottom part of the mask, so the peach color is supposedly the skin of his neck.


After allowing the peach color to dry for a little bit, I finished off the shape of the bottom of the mask by painting Caught with my Khakis down.

A few notes about the mask.  I realize that in the movie, the mask is more of a flesh color, which is what makes it look that much more terrifying.  I don’t own many polishes in that color family, and I didn’t want to have to paint an entire nail with acrylic paint, so I went with the khaki color.

Also, were I to do this again, I would have made the shape of the mask less chunky.  Anthony Hopkins’ face looks much slimmer through the jawline.  But as I said before, I haven’t had to paint a realistic looking face… on my nails…  with my left hand (I’m right handed, FYI).  So I think I’m allowed a few concessions.  😉

I wanted some time to gather the courage to finish the rest of the face, so I went on to do the blood spatter (or splatter) portion of the design next with Tip Your Hat by China Glaze.  You can read the tutorial on how to create this murder scene look on my previous post.


Left hand with the splatter added.


Right hand blood splatter.

With that much done, I decided to try to finish the right hand details.  I always like to paint with my non-dominant hand first whenever I’m not sure if I can pull off a design or not.  The theory is that if I can get my right hand painted, then my left hand will look even better.  🙂


Start by using a detail brush and Golden Brown acrylic paint. The dots are the ventilation holes in the mask, and the rectangular sections are where the nose and mouth openings are. Sounds creepy already!


The lower lip is the only one you can see through the mask, so I applied Sweet Daisy with a dotting tool. I wonder if Hannibal would approve of the shade- it’s from the Carrie Underwood collection from Nicole by OPI. 😉 The only reason I didn’t use acrylic paint here is because I don’t own a pre-made pink color and was too lazy to mix one. 😛


Some nostrils and the opening of his mouth are added with black acrylic paint. I also fixed the shape of the nose holes by adding a dab of Caught with my Khakis Down.


Hannibal gets some pearly whites with some acrylic paint. I used a dotting motion with a detail brush to give a more realistic look to the teeth without having to outline each one.


The metal bars are painted over the mouth area and between the nostrils with Dark Grey paint.


Some contouring of the sides of the face and nose is done with a sponge and Janae by Julep to try to give some depth to the image. I also changed the color of the metal bar between the nostrils to black. In hindsight, I should have also painted the metal bars over his mouth black as well because the grey color blended into the khaki color once topcoat was added.


The finished right hand! Hey, that wasn’t too hard…

One hand down, one more to go.


Using a striping brush, I painted the outlines of the mask with Caught with my Khakis Down. For the middle section, I used the brush from the bottle.


I filled in the outlined area using the brush from the bottle.


Where did all this detail come from? Almost everything new in this photo is done with acrylic paint and a detail brush except for the blue eyes, which are painted on with a dotting tool and Blue-Mmmm by Piggy Polish. It’s a shimmer polish, so it gives the eyes more dimension.


The last few steps were to add the hair, ears, and eye detail with acrylic paint.


A little more contouring done on the mask with Janae and a sponge, and the left hand is done! Yay!

I love how I can use my left hand alone to add some creepiness to everything.


This photo was taken a week after painting Hannibal, but I had to keep him around for at least the first rehearsal for the opera!

The finished look is just as disturbing.


Hannibal the Cannibal.

This was an amazing thing to paint, at least for me.  I know it looks cartoony, but considering that I have no experience with portraiture, I’m impressed that I got some of the resemblance down!  It was nice to have the challenge, and now all that’s left is to premiere the opera on Sunday.  Wish me luck!

Happy polishing!  🙂

Halloween Blood Spatter Manicure DIY Tutorial

Looking for some creepy nail art to do for Halloween?  Try this fun blood spatter manicure!  It’s actually really simple to do.

Here’s what you’ll need:

White nail polish
Red nail polish
Scotch tape (optional)

First, paint your nails all white.  I used White Hot by Sephora by OPI.


All white and so bright: White Hot nail polish by Sephora by OPI.

To keep things neat and to minimize the clean up effort afterward, I applied a piece of Scotch tape over my cuticles.  You can opt to also cover the skin on the sides of your fingernails as well, or you can choose to skip this step completely if you don’t care about cleaning up the excess spatter (great if you want the final look to be extra gory).  But let’s face it- the polish on your skin will rub off in a day or two, anyway.


Scotch tape is applied to the skin to catch any excess spatter that might happen outside of your nail bed.

The spatter technique is done with a straw.  This part works best if you can get a straw with a very narrow opening.  If you can’t get one, no worries, you can make any straw into the correct size.  Take your straw and using a stapler, attach a staple lengthwise towards the opening that goes through both sides of the straw so that you create two small channels at one end.


This straw was obviously used before I took the photo, but you can see how I flattened out the straw and positioned the staple in the middle fairly close to the tip.

Now here’s the fun part.

Brush the openings of the straw with your red nail polish so that the holes are filled.  They don’t need to be filled a lot, but you need to block the holes with the nail polish.  If you’re having trouble filling the holes, try making a new straw with a smaller opening and only block the small hole with the nail polish.

Aim the straw so that the polish is close to your nail and blow!  The polish should splatter all over your nail like it does in a good murder scene.  Keep repeating this technique until you’re satisfied with your blood spattering, and then peel the tape off.


It’s a crime scene! Spatter nail art using Tip Your Hat by China Glaze for a bloody look.

Apply a top coat, and you’re all done!

I wish I had a full manicure of this look, but the blood was just a small part of a bigger picture:


Hey, isn’t that Hannibal Lecter?

I also apologize if this does not seem like a very thorough tutorial.  The truth is that I wasn’t planning on making this post, but I realized that I would have to break down the steps in my bigger entry about the above design.  I’m still in the process of editing photos for the Hannibal nails, so I figured I could save a step and give you a how-to on the bloody part first.  I think the blood turned out the best, anyway.  😛

Hope you have fun trying this out at home, and have a great Halloween!  Happy polishing!

Review of BPL-029 Stamping Plate by Born Pretty Store.

If you love flowers, you will love plate BPL-029 from Born Pretty Store.


BPL-029 from Born Pretty Store is full of floral prints.

Like all the long plates from Born Pretty Store, the metal plate is mounted onto a white plastic backing.  It also comes shipped in a cardboard envelope with blue film covering the image.  The blue film must be removed before you can use the plate.


Protection of the plate is key, especially during shipment, and a cardboard envelope and some blue film are just what the doctor ordered.

The rectangular images are all 1.5 cm wide, but the 2nd row images are slightly taller than the 1st row measuring at 2.4 cm versus 2 cm for the top row.  Even the individual flowers on the bottom are fairly large, the smallest one being 0.7 cm wide and the longest one being 1.7 cm.  In any case, you should easily be able to find something suitable for your nail size.  The individual flowers are great for making patterns on extra long/wide nails.

The images are etched deeply into the metal and transfer easily to a stamper.  I find that you can use a lot of pressure to scrape the excess polish off the plate to get a clean image.  With plates by other competitors that are etched poorly, I find that I will end up scraping off all the polish if I scrape too hard.  With Born Pretty Plates, you don’t have to worry about the frustration associated with the aforementioned problem.

To illustrate the point, here is a rose print manicure I did that shows the most solid background in the image.


Beautiful rose print nails done with Awaken by China Glaze and mayfair by nails inc. along with plate BPL-029 from Born Pretty Store.

The image transferred perfectly with no empty patches of polish.  It should be noted that I stamped the darker polish over the white one, not the other way around.  That is an impressive feat, indeed!


A closer look at the stamping compared to the image on plate BPL-029.

Plate BPL-029 is full of spring flowers, but I made it fall appropriate using the right blend colors.


Autumn foliage nails done with reverse stamping of an image from plate BPL-029 over a gradient base.

With a good color scheme, this plate is usable all year long!

Overall, I think this plate is well made and a great buy.  It will keep you coming back for more looks over and over again.

Diamond rating: ♦♦♦♦♦ (5/5)

If you are interested in purchasing this stamping plate (retail price is $5.99 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!




Autumn Foliage Nail Art

The crisp autumn air is something else.  It’s the perfect weather in which to take a walk outside and enjoy the wonderful golds, reds, and browns of the season.

For this manicure, I started by painting all my nails with Keep Me On My Mistletoes by Sephora by OPI.


Beautiful shimmery gold nails courtesy of Keep Me On My Mistletoes by Sephora by OPI.

To make the leaves in the design change colors, I added a gradient to the gold base with a sponge.


The colors I used for the gradient pictured below are Keep Me On My Mistletoes, S-age Is Just A Number, and I Think I Cayenne, all by Sephora by OPI.


Gold, green, and orange gradient. I mixed up the direction of the fade to make things more interesting.

The next part of the manicure was stamped with plate BPL-029 from Born Pretty Store.  I used the design in the top row, 2nd from the right.


Nature lovers will love plate BPL-029 from Born Pretty Store.

The color palette for this next part incorporates red, copper, and brown to complete the quintessentially fall spectrum.


Pictured from left to right are Olivia by Julep, New Year’s Red-solution by Sephora by OPI, and Don’t Be Egg-nogious by Sephora by OPI.

To color in the flowers, I used the reverse stamping technique.


The stamping was done with Olivia by Julep.


I lightly brushed on New Year’s Red-solution by Sephora by OPI to the flower petals in the design using the brush on the bottle.

At this point, I should have taken a photo, but I have to admit that I was half asleep and forgot to do so.  -_-  Needless to say, I stamped the colored in pattern directly onto all of my nails, varying the position of the image for a more random look.

For extra shimmer magic, I swiped Don’t Be Eggnog-ious by Sephora by OPI over only the leaf parts of the design before I applied a topcoat.


Autumn foliage nails!

Even though there is a lot going on in the design, it was fairly simple to do.  Hope you all get your fill of pumpkin-spice goodies while the season lasts!  Happy polishing!

Hurricane Joaquin Inspired Floral Nails

NYC has been all abuzz about whether or not Joaquin was going to make an appearance here, but thankfully all we got was a Nor’easter, and I ended up with an idea for a manicure.

Looking through my plates, I found a floral image that looks a lot like a bunch of hurricane symbols.


How does your garden grow? Plate BPL-029 from Born Pretty Store is all about flowers.

The roses in the 2nd row, 3rd image from the right proved to be the starting grounds for my stormy manicure.  Little did I know how tempestuous this design would end up being.

Here is the color palette I used:


Silvery grays and blues. From left to right: Silver Bells by Finger Paints, Caviar Cocktail by nailtini, Sailor’s Lure by Finger Paints, and I Don’t Give A Rotterdam! by OPI.

I wanted the eye(s) of the storm to be in the center of the manicure, so I painted Silver Bells on my middle and ring fingers and I Don’t Give A Rotterdam! on the other fingers.  I figured that when I did the stamping, the flowers (hurricane symbols) would be glittery, something that is seldom seen because people can’t really stamp successfully with glitter polish.


Very pretty start to a stormy manicure using I Don’t Give A Rotterdam! by OPI and Silver Bells by Finger Paints.

For the two outer nails, I wanted to do a gradient that darkened toward the two middle nails.  For this, I used a mix of Caviar Cocktail, Sailor’s Lure, and I Don’t Give A Rotterdam! and tilted the sponge at an angle for the index and little fingers while I kept the sponge vertical on the thumb.


A gradient of blues and grays is applied with the darkest sections facing the glittery parts.

It should be mentioned that I didn’t realize that Sailor’s Lure is a textured polish.  It isn’t marked as such on the bottle, so I was wondering why it looked so clumpy on the brush.  It still suits our stormy purpose, so it was fine.

Here is where the storm truly begins.  I thought I was going to stamp with Sailor’s Lure, but the thought of trying to scrape the polish off the plate with all the texture in it was making my skin crawl.  I couldn’t stamp with Caviar Cocktail because the color is too similar to the silver glitter.  I tried using royal blue by b.m.c. nail lacquer, but the design didn’t show through well.  I tried layering noir black by b.m.c. nail lacquer over the blue color, but it looked like a mess.  Neither one looked good nor fit my color scheme, so I had to wipe those two nails clean and try a new approach.


Nail fail: bad stamping because my blue polish wasn’t dark enough and the black polish didn’t match my color scheme.

I decided to use a white polish as a base instead of the glitter and decided to stamp with a chrome polish because the royal blue color would seem out of place.


Enter two new contenders: mayfair by nails inc. and Awaken by China Glaze.

Luckily I used school glue as a base coat, so I scraped the glitter off the two middle nails and applied mayfair first.


Newly revamped nails with mayfair by nails inc. in the middle.

I did the stamping with Awaken and was fooled again by the polish.  This is what I get for not swatching colors before I start.


Stamping done with Awaken by China Glaze.

While the polish stamped better than expected, the color was not what I thought it was.  Even when I originally bought the color, I thought that it had more of a dark blue tint to it, at least from the look of it in the bottle.  Instead, it is more dark silver gray with a lavender hue, and now I got to be frustrated all over again that my stamped nails didn’t match the gradient around it.

Ultimately I scraped the gradient off and painted Awaken on those nails instead.  You can see a difference in the color of the stamping compared to the color of the polish in the bottle more clearly below.


The final result- not exactly what I intended due to being misled by the color of the polish in the bottle versus the color actually being swatched.

So that’s how I weathered this storm.  It took a few unexpected turns, but all ended well.  Hope you all have been staying warm and dry!  It’s a great excuse to stay indoors and do your nails.  😉  Happy polishing!