Frozen Olaf Nails

With the recent deep freeze across the US, I decided to paint Olaf from the movie Frozen. What better way to stay happy in the cold?

To start, I applied and cured 2 coats of color TC06 from Aimeili (literally called Glitter Purple to Glitter Blue) along with their gel base and top coat. This gel polish is from their thermal collection, so the color is dark purple in the cold and turns into a medium light blue when it’s warm. The jelly formula also has different sized pieces of silver glitter in it, which remind me of snow.

Here’s a shot of it mid-transition!

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Radioactive Frankenstein Manicure

It’s less than a week away from Halloween! Do you know what you’re putting on your nails yet?

I’m probably going to end up changing my manicure again before the big day, but I wanted to do a cute take on Frankenstein first! It’s been awhile since I’ve done some freehand nail art, so it was nice to pull out the brushes for this one.

I started by painting my nails black except for my ring finger, which I painted green. I used What’s A Tire Jack? from Sephora by OPI for the black color and Radioactive from Formula X for Sephora for the green shade.

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This color combo looks very Wicked!

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Hollywood Movie Nails

My orchestra had a “Lights, Camera, Music!” themed program last Sunday where we played musical selections from different films alongside a projection of either related images or actual clips of the movies themselves. It was a super fun concert, and it inspired me to paint these sparkly gold Hollywood inspired nails.

The real star of the artwork was the holographic polish. Honestly, I don’t think anyone can go wrong with holo polish because it is just so beautiful! I started by painting my nails with Heart of Gold from Born Pretty Store for some talons worthy of an Oscar.

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2 coats of Heart of Gold from Born Pretty give you opaque coverage with a gorgeous color.

I found the cute filmstrip image on plate BM-421 from Bundle Monster. The panes are empty so you can really get creative with what you want to put into the design.

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BM-421 plate from Bundle Monster.

I used Ya Qin An Stamping Nail Polish in Black along with the filmstrip image from the uppper left side of the plate and haphazardly stamped it at different angles on my nails.

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The stars on this design come from BP-64 from Born Pretty Store. I thought I could isolate a row of 3 stars to make the transfer process easier, but unfortunately the spacing didn’t match the image from Bundle Monster. I ended up stamping one star at a time into each frame. To do this, you only need to apply a little bit of polish over one of the stars, scrape off the excess, pick up the image with your stamper, then remove any extraneous parts around the design with tape before stamping it onto your nail. It’s a very tedious process, but it is easy enough to do.

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BP-64 plate from Born Pretty.

After some top coat was applied, these stars were ready to shine!

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You get a gold star if you try this mani!

This design was eye catching enough that several strangers (male and female!) made comments about how they liked my nails. And of course, the concert was a great success as well. Now to find inspiration for my next design…

Happy polishing!

Balloons in the Sky Nail Art

Leave it to my precocious 9-year-old student to keep me on my toes with nail art ideas.  This time she wanted me to do balloons.  I envisioned a bouquet of them floating up into a sky with puffy clouds, kind of like in the movie Up (although I’ve never seen it).  I’m pretty sure this was not what she had in mind, but my muse doesn’t always cooperate!

The first step was to choose a nice sky blue.  I loved Destiny from Formula X for its pearlescent effect.  The color has subtle lavender and pink undertones that give it nice dimension.

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Destiny by Formula X.

After applying some top coat, I used Craft Smart acrylic paints to do the rest of the manicure.

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The clouds were simple to do. I painted a circle and added two more smaller [uneven] circles on each side of it to form each cloud. They kind of look like Princess Leia buns!

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The balloons weren’t too hard to do, either- they’re basically ovals in different colors that overlap each other. I used a thinned out striping brush to paint the strings and an ultra fine detail brush to paint in the little white highlight on the top right of each balloon. I added a little nub for a knot for the balloons at the bottom of the design.

The hardest part was really just having the patience to keep cleaning my brush in between each color balloon and making sure the paint was dry before moving on to the next color.

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Macro shot. My one complaint is that the balloon strings didn’t tie together at the exact center of my nail. Then again, I think I painted this at 1 in the morning!

It’s a very cheerful design that brings a smile to people’s faces.

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A friend noted that the clouds look somewhat 3D.  This is achieved in part by having the top coat applied before painting the clouds.  The clear layer in between means that they are literally floating over the base color.  Also, acrylic paint tends to have more texture due to its fast dry time, and my white is starting to get a little clumpy in the bottle if truth be told.  It worked in my favor for the clouds, but to counteract the thickness of the paint for the strings, I made sure that my brush was slightly damp with water before dipping it into the paint so that the lines would stay thin.

You better believe that my student loved the design in the end.  She thought I had either used stickers and/or stamping, so she was totally amazed to hear that everything was hand painted.  *pats own back*

In terms of freehand nail art, this is definitely on the easier side of the spectrum, but the scale of the design is what makes it hard to get right.  Don’t hesitate to try it, and let me know if you do!

Happy polishing!

Computer Geek Nails

I have to get my fingerprints taken for a job application, so I thought it would be cool to do computer circuit board nails.  I’ve been wanting to do this idea for years but never got around to it until now!

I went with yellow-green for the base color and decided to stamp with gold polish.  I added the last two polishes after literally sleeping on that idea.  More on that in a bit.

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Colors from left to right are Hot Fun In the Summer-Lime by OPI, Ya Qin An polish in Gold, Born Pretty Stamping Nail Polish #12, and What’s A Tire Jack from Sephora by OPI.

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I painted all my nails with the light green color first.

For the circuit board, I used the pattern from the bottom right hand side of plate L004 from Harunouta.

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Harunouta L004 plate.

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I stamped the pattern across my nails with gold polish.

I had done my nails super late at 3 am (night owls, can I get a holla?) so after getting some sleep, I decided that I needed an accent nail to break up the design.

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I removed the polish from my ring finger and painted the nail black instead.

Binary code is always appropriate when it comes to computer themed nail art.  I used the same pattern to make Matrix themed nails last year, but I finally have a good quality light green stamping polish to use with it!

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Hey look, another circuit board! Plate BM-415 from Bundle Monster.

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I finished up by stamping the pattern from the top of the plate onto my accent nail.

It was a cute and simple manicure that geeks like me can really adore.  Wish me luck now that I’m entering the system!  Happy polishing!

Pole Dancer Nails

After doing the silhouette of the rhythmic gymnast for my Olympics themed nails, I felt the urge to do something else with a silhouette.  Thankfully, I didn’t have to rely on my freehand painting skills for this one because I have a stamping plate that fits the bill perfectly!

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Can you get jiggy with it?  Plate BP-X07 from Born Pretty Store.

Seems to me like there were quite a few pole dancers and sexy girls on there, so I went with a holographic polish base to fit the mood.

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My holo polish of choice was Things That Make You Go Bloom by KB Shimmer.

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I used bmc nail lacquer in noir black to do the stamping, but I wasn’t that thrilled with the opacity.

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I ended up going over a lot of the images with craft smart acrylic paint in Black to intensify the silhouettes. The poles were corrected with paint and a striping brush, and I had to draw in the bust outline for the girl on the far left.

Of course, the lesson is to make sure you use good quality stamping polishes in the first place so that you don’t have to paint over your stamping to make it look good!  I suppose it would have looked fine in either case, but certain details didn’t get picked up from the plate so well, and my OCD wouldn’t let me leave things like that.

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My “pole” is actually my flute!

It’s still a cute idea, and it reeks of Showgirls.  Don’t you think Nomi Malone would approve?

Happy polishing!

Antique Damask Print Nails

I have a lot of friends who recently got married, so it was in my head to do something with light blue polish in the “something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue” tradition.  I turned to my stamping plate collection for the rest of the inspiration.  I ended up using plate BP-X01 from Born Pretty Store for the damask print.

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My choice was the design in the middle of the top row as well as the two images in the bottom left corner for this mani.

I wanted a subtle blue print, so I chose a base color that was only slightly lighter than my stamping polish color and then used gold and silver stamping polishes for the antiques.

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Colors from left to right: Infatuated by Formula X for Sephora, Born Pretty Stamping Nail Polish #9, Ya Qin An polish in Gold, and Konad Special Nail Polish in Silver.

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I first painted all my nails with Infatuated.

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Using a darker light blue stamping polish with BP-X01, I varied the angle of the damask pattern on my nails.

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For the mirror, I stamped the design with gold polish and then filled in the empty space with silver polish. I waited several minutes for it to dry completely before stamping it onto my nail.

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I stamped the candelabra on my middle finger, which gave this mani a Beauty and the Beast vibe.

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After adding top coat, I glued small pearl rhinestones to my antiques to make them look more distinctive.

And there you have it!  It’s an easy manicure that looks very pretty.  Good luck to all the brides and brides to be out there!  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!

Audrey Hepburn/Breakfast At Tiffany’s Inspired Nails

I have been hanging onto these Audrey Hepburn water decals for the longest time now, so I wanted to finally use them in a manicure.

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YE-261 water decals from Born Pretty Store.

This manicure is so simple to do once you have the decals.  I started out by picking out which ones I wanted to use and cut around my selections with a small pair of scissors.

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My left hand and right hand decal choices. The words have some typos (“beauliful” and “Angd an eaeth” should read “beautiful” and “Angel on earth”), but no one really notices that they are misspelled unless they look closely.

I also prepared a small container of water in which I could soak the decals later.

For the polish colors, I wanted white nails for the decals and black nails for contrast.

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Left: Johnny by Julep. Right: Alpine Snow by OPI.

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Does anyone else feel like playing Othello after seeing this?

I worked with the decals one at a time, first soaking the decal in water for about 10 seconds before sliding it off the paper backing, applying it to my nail, and blotting it dry with a napkin.

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Underwater Audrey.

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The decal can float on the surface of the water after you slide it off the paper backing.

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The final decal layout.

I wanted to add some pearl studs to liven up the black nails.  After all, Holly Golightly wears quite an impressive pearl necklace along with her iconic black dress.

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Pearl rhinestone decoration wheel from Born Pretty Store.

I opted to use two different sizes of pearls to mimic the necklace, so I placed a larger sized pearl in the center of my nail and flanked each side with a smaller pearl.  I used Kiss Nail Art Glue to secure the beads.

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The finished look. Of course I made sure that Audrey had her tiara on for her closeup.

I know using water decals is kind of cheating for a nail artist, but I really loved the artwork and couldn’t resist buying these.  I don’t think I’ve used water decals since I was in junior high (trust me, that was quite a long time ago), so it was great to see how much more advanced the artwork has become.

In any case, classy ladies will love this manicure, and if you have any friends who are fans of Breakfast At Tiffany’s, these decals make a great gift.  Using code RSSPX31 will save you 10% off any regular priced items in your order from Born Pretty Store.  Happy polishing!