Game of Thrones House Greyjoy Nails

How many of you watched the Season 7 premiere of Game of Thrones on Sunday? I’ve been eagerly awaiting the new episodes, so it was fitting that I do some Game of Thrones nail art to celebrate the day!

Why House Greyjoy, you ask? It’s definitely not the house that I’m rooting for. I’m not a fan of anyone from that family except for maybe Yara/Asha. But I had been approached on Instagram to do a Game of Thrones house sigil collaboration and ended up choosing the kraken because it seemed like it was the most adaptable sigil to fit across my nails, and a few of the other houses had already been taken. Little did I know that everyone in the group decided to bail on the collaboration and didn’t bother to tell me! Oh, well- at least I got some cool nail art out of it.

House Greyjoy’s sigil is described as a gold kraken on a field of black. I went through my black polishes and chose this shimmery version that I had never tried out before. I suppose a basic black would have done the job equally well, but this shade was gorgeous.

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Black Dress Not Optional by OPI is the perfect shade of shimmery black.

The easiest part of the manicure was my thumb. The words of House Greyjoy are “We do not sow.” so I wrote this out with yellow acrylic paint from Craft Smart with a fine detail brush. To aid with the spacing, I wrote “do not” first across the middle and added the “we” and “sow” afterward.

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“We do not sow” is a whole lot easier to write out on one nail compared to “What is dead may never die but rises again harder and stronger.”

The kraken proved to be an interesting conundrum. Pretty much all graphic images of the sigil make the kraken look square and spread out, but it still looks like a cross between a squid and an octopus. I initially sketched out a rough draft with pencil and paper to get a better sense of the spacing across all four nails, and then I took yellow acrylic paint and started by painting the head and worked my way across each nail, attempting to center the design as much as as possible and make sure parts connected to each other. The tentacles were essentially squiggly lines, so it wasn’t the hardest thing to paint, although it was hard to keep the lines looking clean and somewhat symmetrical. I also chose to not be too detailed with the image to keep it looking bold.

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My kraken was painted with yellow acrylic paint first to establish the layout of the image and to provide a more opaque base for the gold polish applied afterward.

I applied a bright gold polish (Charge It! by Sephora by OPI) with a small detail brush over the yellow acrylic paint to smooth out the design and stay true to the Greyjoy colors. This part required patience more than anything.

A nice layer of top coat from Seche Vite smoothed everything out a little more, and with that, a kraken was born!

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House Greyjoy represent!

It was great to see the episode afterward and watch the Greyjoy ships flying their banners. My fiancé recognized the image immediately whereas previously, he probably wouldn’t have known whose ships they were. It’s great that nail art can be so educational in that respect!

I’m looking forward to seeing the next episode, but until then, happy polishing!

Minnie Mouse Themed French Manicure

Hello, lovelies! I’ve got a Disney themed manicure for you today inspired by Minnie Mouse. This is dedicated to my toddler niece Sarah, who isn’t even old enough to appreciate nail art yet, but she loves Minnie!

This design was also done in part to fulfill the French manicure requirement of a nail collaboration I participated in on Instagram, which required that the design be done freehand. Done and done!

My nails have been slightly discolored from different past manicures, so I first applied a sheer pink polish to my nails to make my nail beds look like they’re naturally healthy.

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This is one coat of Sally Hansen Advanced Hard as Nails in Pink Whisper Creme.

Next, I took a bright red color and painted the tips of my nails for a simple French manicure. Those with unsteady hands can use vinyl guides to keep the lines crisp. After allowing the polish to set a little, I dipped a striping brush into craft smart acrylic paint in black and drew a fine line between the tip with the nail bed. I planned to paint Minnie’s ears with her signature bow on my ring finger, so I outlined the top of her head and added more red polish in a bow tie shape for that nail.

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That gorgeous red is NY139 from Nicka K.

To finish up, I placed white polka dots on the red tips and the bow with b.m.c. nail lacquer in Angelic White and a dotting tool and outlined the bow and added the knot details with more black acrylic paint.

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A very French Minnie Mouse!

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Macro shot of the bow design for the collaboration.

My only grievance with this design is that my nails aren’t wide enough to really show Minnie’s ears. You can only see a hint of them along the sides of my nails, but it’s not very obvious because my nails also have a defined C curve. That’s why I can only call this inspired by Minnie Mouse.

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A look that Minnie would love to rock as well.

On a side note, this is probably the longest length that I have grown my nails, and I know they’re not even that long! I love the way they look, but it’s so uncomfortable for me to do normal activities like write and put in my contact lenses! Does anyone else feel this pain?

I’ll catch you guys again once I trim and file my nails. Happy polishing!

 

Rhythmic Gymnastics Nails

I’m very fortunate to have made friends with some very talented nail artists on Instagram through the magic of collaborations.  About a month ago, we started a group chat discussing the plan to do an Olympics theme, so each of us picked a sport to represent.  Because of the time differences between us 13 nail artists across the world, I was one of the latecomers to the conversation.  A lot of sports had already been picked, but when I saw that rhythmic gymnastics was available, I jumped on it!  I had visions of the ribbon twirling in my head.

For those who have never seen a routine, you really ought to watch at least a little bit of the video here!  The amount of skill needed for this sport is insane!

For the color palette, I picked the following polishes.

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Pictured from left to right: Bunny by Julep, Only Gold For Me by Sephora by OPI, Folies Bergère by Cupcake Polish, and Copa Girls by Cupcake Polish.

Because the mat in the Olympics is white, I painted all my nails with Bunny to serve as a base.

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Go for the gold! Bunny by Julep has gold micro glitter.

I tried to play up the gold of the micro glitter with Only Gold For Me, which is actually a glitter top coat.  I applied it with a sponge to soak up the extra fluid from the top coat, but it still makes a lovely natural glitter gradient.

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I used different colored acrylic paints by craft smart to paint the Olympic rings which were a required element for all the designs of the collab. I used a striping brush and a dotting tool with holo polishes from Cupcake Polish to paint ribbons and balls soaring through the air.

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You’ll notice that I added more glitter to fill in empty spaces around the Olympic Rings in the bottom left hand picture. I didn’t want any glitter getting in the middle of the rings, which is why I didn’t apply it over my entire nail to start.

I used a striping brush and a detail brush with black acrylic paint to outline the ribbons and the balls so that they would stand out more in the design.

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Five gymnasts usually compete as a team, so I had two ribbons and three balls represented in the design. Coincidentally, there are also five rings in the Olympic symbol.

I imagined that I would have a silhouette of a gymnast twirling a ribbon on my thumb.  I have pretty short nails, so this was the only space where I had room to do this.  I had to sketch this out with pencil and paper first before I tried to paint it.

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I used a detail brush with pink holographic polish to paint in a twirling ribbon, then I painted the silhouette of the gymnast with black acrylic paint and outlined the ribbon. The gray line is the handle of the ribbon.

Here’s the finished look!

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Yay for rhythmic gymnastics!

I had the foresight to use a peel off base coat with this design so that I can keep it forever.  For the record, Ünt peel off base coat really does work well!

 

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It’s sure a lot easier to arrange peelies for a pose than it is to get my hand in the right position!

As for that collab, I think that everyone did a fabulous job!

Best of luck to Team USA in all their events at the Olympics in Rio this year!  Happy polishing!

Chessmen Nails

Ever since I painted this design, people have been asking me if I play chess.  The short answer is no, although I vaguely remember the basic rules from when I was taught them a long time ago.  The last time I did any sort of chess game was online with a friend in the late 90s.  My claim to fame was beating my brother, who is nine years older than me, shortly after he taught me how to play the game at the age of 7.  I know he didn’t let me win because he wasn’t too happy about that one!

The inspiration for my chess themed nails comes from the checkerboard pattern on plate Qgirl-046 from Ya Qin An.

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I used the checkerboard print at the top of the plate for this manicure.

In retrospect, I would have painted the checkerboard by hand to get the lines more exact and consistent, but I didn’t have a lot of time to paint that night.  More about that in a bit.

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I started out by painting my nails with Silver Holo from UO Nail Lacquer. Honestly, who doesn’t like a good holographic polish?

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I used Konad Special Nail Polish in Flash Black to do the stamping. Of course, I bumped my nail against something and was too lazy to fix it, so I left the damage there. After all, I knew I was going to paint over it anyway.

I want to also point out that it’s super hard to get a checkerboard pattern like this one all even and precise if you use a squishy stamper.  The softer head makes it easy to stamp over curvy nail beds, but it also distorts the pattern as it transfers.  So you can see the difference, I used my Konad stamper on my ring finger, but I didn’t scrape the plate very well so it picked up everything.  It’s funny because I’m so used to other stampers being more forgiving in that sense.

In any case, I know I did a hack job of the stamping, but it’s only the background so…

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I took a small brush and used craft smart acrylic paint in White to paint the basic shapes of the chess pieces. I decided on painting two pawns, a king, a queen, and a knight, which sounds like the beginning of a bad joke.

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To make the pieces stand out, I outlined each piece with a detail brush and craft smart acrylic paint in Black. I also used the black paint to fill in any weird spots in the checkerboard print.

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I finished by applying Seche Vite Top Coat.

I was going to use Dazzle Dry Top Coat, but it started smudging my stamping with the first stroke, so I quickly changed plans.  Just remember that not every top coat will work with every manicure!

Hope you enjoyed reading about how to hide a bad stamping job.  😉  Happy polishing!

Emoji Nail Art

Nothing is so loved in social media as the emoji.  Being an Android user, I didn’t get into using them until I started using Instagram.  It seems like no one knows how to comment on a post there without adding emoji to it, so I ended up adding an emoji keyboard to my phone as a result!

The real reason why I did emoji nails was because my 9-year-old student had been begging me for weeks to paint them.  She loves following nail art, so she must have seen someone else do this theme before.  When I asked her why she didn’t try painting them herself, she said, “Mommy doesn’t let me wear nail polish!”  I guess she has to live vicariously through me instead.

My girl really wanted me to do a white background, but I preferred to use blue because it contrasts against yellow really well.  Why not go for blue holographic polish then?

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Born Pretty Holo Polish in #10 gives you the rainbow shine you crave.

Because of the intricacy involved in painting this design, I used blends of different colors of craft smart Acrylic Paint for the emoji faces.  It was difficult to choose which faces I wanted to do, but my student insisted that I had to at least include the one with the sunglasses and the one with the hearts for eyes.

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All the faces have the same contouring done to them.

In the top left picture, you can see that I painted a yellow circle centered on each nail.  Because painting thin lines is hard, I outlined the top half of each circle with a mix of orange and yellow paint (top right picture) and then painted over that with a mix of white and yellow paint to form a highlight, letting part of the darker color show through along the edge (bottom left picture).  I formed a gradient by dipping my brush into yellow paint, wiping off the excess, and then dragging the color from the bottom half of the circle into the light yellow section (bottom right picture).  I followed up by hand painting all the details of each face.

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I tried to copy the artwork from these cute emoji stickers as closely as possible.

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The kissy face one was my student’s favorite.

This design took me a few hours to paint because I go slow and steady.  You can cheat and paint your entire nail yellow if you want to escape having to paint a circle and eliminate the shading steps to make this a slightly easier mani to copy, but the details really make the emoji look accurate.  I also like having the bragging right of saying that I do NOT have stickers on my nails!

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This mani easily represents all the emotions I had after finishing it.

Hope you enjoyed this one!  Happy polishing!

 

 

Star Wars Nail Art

I’ve never considered myself to be a good painter, so I knew that I was going to be suffering to complete a Star Wars collaboration with my sweet and talented Instagram friend Bev @thehumblebear.  She was inspired by some R2D2 nails that I reposted from Star Wars Day 2015 and suggested that we paint a different character from Star Wars on each nail.  Lucky for me, I insisted that we only paint our left hand nails for this, and she agreed.

My goal was to try to make the characters look as simple as possible yet have them still be recognizable.  The Lego collection was great inspiration as well as the Funko Pop series.

As for which characters I wanted to do, it was a hard choice.  We were thinking of doing the same ones for a twin mani, but the more I searched for inspiration, the more I kept wanting to change it up.  I considered doing the Cantina band (too alien), Boba Fett (crowd favorite), a storm trooper (too cloned), Chewbacca (too furry!) and even joked with Bev about wanting to put Jar Jar in there, just because he was so hated.  What I settled on were the human characters Darth Vader, Han Solo, Leia Organa, and Luke Skywalker… and Yoda.  He was modeled on Albert Einstein, so close enough!

I had to use a ton of different polishes and acrylic paint for this one, most of which are listed in my galaxy nails post.  I did have to use a few other colors as shown below.

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From left to right: What’s A Tire Jack?, Pale is the New Tan, and Read My Palm all by Sephora by OPI.

I did a modified galaxy nail art base on all my nails to provide an interesting backdrop for my characters.

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Step 1: 2 coats of Estelle from Julep.

Because the galaxy is just a backdrop for heads of characters, I modified the layout of the colors.  For a full galaxy nails tutorial, you can reference the post I did for my right hand nails.  I have all the polishes that I used listed there.

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The making of the most involved nail art that I have done to date!

First, I sponged on a blue color, focusing on the middle top half of each nail.  I also sponged on some purple to add more of a gradient effect.  I then applied a little bit of a white highlight with a sponge to where I thought the tops of the heads would be.  This was done to make it easier to see the hairlines of the characters with dark colored hair and to give them a halo effect.  It’s Star Wars according to the gospel of finepolish!

I painted a rough outline of each character with white acrylic paint from craft smart.  This made it easier for colors to show up over the dark galaxy base.

I used the brushes straight from the bottles of Pale is the New Tan and Read My Palm to color in the skin tones of each character accordingly.  After the polish dried, I went back with white acrylic paint and fixed the necklines for each character’s clothes.

The hair was added in next along with Yoda’s robe.  I used brown acrylic paint for Han and Leia’s hair and light brown for Luke’s hair.  Conveniently, Yoda’s robe was also done with brown and light brown acrylic paint.

The last part consisted of painting in the facial and clothing details.  You can see subtle wrinkles in the white areas of the shirts of the guys and the cowl of Leia’s gown, achieved by mixing white and gray paints to get a lighter shade.  Yoda of course has a lot of wrinkles and has huge eyes, so that’s why he looks a bit bewildered.  Han came out looking fatter than I intended, too.  Oops.

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I love how top coat makes everything look so smooth in the end!

Where’s Darth Vader, you might ask?  He was outcast to my thumb.

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Darth Vader is too O.G. to be with the other characters.

Darth Vader is so dark that I used gray acrylic paint for his outline rather than white.  It was easier to see than painting with black, and it allowed me to leave a slight outline of him to help him stand out from the background when I painted over it with What’s A Tire, Jack?

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Darth Vader is many shades of gray… and white and black.

Before you start criticizing how crooked my lines are, let me say that the canvas is way smaller than you think, and the macro shot blows it out of proportion.  My detail brush probably needs to be thinned out some more, too.  I also saved Darth Vader for the end because the color palette was so different from those of the other characters, so I was also tired at this point.  That’s the power of the dark side.

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The final look!

While I complain a lot about not having any painting skills, I guess I might have some.  This could have been a total train wreck!  I really pushed myself beyond what I thought my limits were thanks to Bev, but I guess that’s what good friends do!  She believed in me the same way I knew she would rock this collaboration as well.  Speaking of…

Bev’s attention to detail is just insane.  She can legitimately paint, and it shows!

I got pretty burned out on nail art after all the time I put into painting this, so that’s why I had to take a break from the blog.  I’m hoping to get caught up by the end of the week now that my schedule is a bit more calm.  In the meantime, happy polishing!

Clownfish Finding Nemo Nails

The other week, I painted clown inspired nail art, so naturally the next thing I thought to paint was clownfish!  Finding Dory is coming out soon, so I couldn’t help but put Nemo on my nails.

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Colors used include from left to right: Radiant by Formula X, Zing by Formula X for Sephora, and White Hot by Sephora by OPI.

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I also used craft smart Acrylic Paint in Black, White, and Dark Grey for some of the details.

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I started by painting most of my nails with Radiant.

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For the clownfish stripes, I used white acrylic paint to form the basic shape, layered it with white polish to give it a more even texture and shine, and then I outlined the white sections with a striping brush dipped in black acrylic paint.

You might be wondering why I applied white acrylic paint first rather than painting white polish directly onto my nails.  In my experience, layering polishes over each other causes the colors to bleed, even if the base color is dry.  The thicker the coat, the more the bottom color melts into the top one.  Acrylic paint does not have that effect because it simply dries as a separate layer on top of the nail polish.  Had I only used white nail polish, there would have been a good chance of it turning slightly orange or getting slightly streaked with the other color.

Also, white polish is not a one coat color.  You need to apply it at least twice over an area to get decent opacity, so it was easier to use acrylic paint to get the opacity right off the bat without making a total mess.

The clownfish stripe design is also awesome for beginner nail artists because the lines don’t have to be so precise.  It just looks like a mod pattern from afar.  Also, the black lines on a clownfish aren’t exactly the same width, so it’s easy to forgive any variances in thickness in the painting.

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I didn’t try to exactly copy the pattern of the fish in this photo, but you get the idea.

I only painted Nemo on my thumb because I wasn’t going to do a full set of characters from the movie.

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I started by painting my thumb with Zing, then I painted a rough outline of where Nemo would go with white acrylic paint. I used Radiant to color in the section orange, outlined the entire shape with black acrylic paint, added the stripe and eye details with white acrylic paint, and finished by painting in the rest of the face and fin details with a dotting tool and a small brush.

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A good clear top coat seals all the layers together and smooths out everything to a fine polished finish.

Nemo is just the cutest!  And yes, I own a plushie of him.  🙂

Just keep swimming, lovelies!  Happy polishing!