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.
Destiny by Formula X.
After applying some top coat, I used Craft Smart acrylic paints to do the rest of the manicure.
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!
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.
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.
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!