Musical Nails

As you probably know, I’m a flutist who just happens to paint her nails a lot these days. It’s only natural for me to try to hunt out nail products that feature music notes, and I decided to feature one of my finds in this manicure, for better or worse, as you will soon learn!

I picked Aimeili’s 016 Tinsel Toast Gold Diamond gel polish as a base because of its dusky rose gold color. It surprised me that it painted on as a jelly with silver glitter because I was expecting it to be more gold because of its name, but it happens to match my gold and silver flute, so I was ok with this.

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2 coats of 016 Tinsel Toast Gold Diamond from Aimeili were applied with each layer cured for 60 seconds in a 36W UV/LED lamp.

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Musical Ballerina Nails

My nails have been growing out decently, and with the length comes French manicures! This design joins some of my favorite art forms: ballet, music, and nails!

I started by painting my nails with a pretty pink gel polish from Aimeili in color 019 Cake Pop. It really does remind you of candy when you see it!

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3 thin coats of Cake Pop were applied for this swatch with each coat cured for 1 minute.

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Glam Punk Sheep Nails

I had the wonderful opportunity to play with New Camerata Opera last week for their double bill of John Blow’s Venus and Adonis and Savitri by Gustav Holst. Everyone sounded amazing, but I was especially inspired by the costuming for the production of Venus and Adonis. They went for an MTV 80’s glam rock/punk interpretation of this 17th century opera with vibrant neon pinks and black mesh, leather, and lace.

After our first dress rehearsal, I promptly went home and created these nails.

I started by painting my nails white with Laguna Moon Classic Soak-Off UV-LED Gel Polish in color CL361.

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2 coats of gel polish were applied with each coat cured at 30 seconds with a UV/LED lamp.

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Holographic Foil Spring Concert Nail Art

I have finally returned after a hectic month of taxes and concerts! I’m still quite busy, but I managed to put together some quick nail art in the meantime using nail foils.

I wanted to try out some gel polish from Born Pretty with the expectation that I was going to keep this manicure on for awhile. I used Born Pretty gel base coat, 2 coats of their black Color Coat polish, and a layer of their gel top coat, curing each layer for 1-2 minutes.

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Born Pretty Color Coat gel polish in Black is deliciously shiny and inky.

I can’t get away with wearing solid colors anymore because people expect me to have some sort of nail art on my fingertips. Nail foils are a great way to have a dazzling effect without having to try too hard.

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These foils are just a few of the 12 different designs included in Born Pretty’s item 41600. They are awesomely holographic when they catch the light the right way!

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80s Equalizer Nail Art

Today I’m stepping out of my comfort zone and trying a different technique with something I’ve never been great at using: nail foil. Anyone who has experience with it knows that it can be temperamental to use, and even when you get the application right, the wrong top coat can ruin the whole thing and make it look as if it was never there. Yet here I am testing my patience with this material. Off we go!

To start, I painted all my nails black.

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This is stamping polish from b.m.c. nail lacquer in noir black. Not sure why it looks textured though- it might be the pigments.

To make the decals, you will need a plastic bag or a silicone mat. I used the Lotus Mat from Bundle Monster for mine. Start by applying swatches of top coat onto your chosen surface. The top coat will serve as the base of your decal. Wait for your top coat to fully dry before you proceed to the next step.

Next, choose a pattern that you want to stamp and transfer it to a swatch of top coat. You must act very quickly to apply a piece of nail foil over the stamped area so that the foil can adhere to the wet polish. Rub over the piece of foil with your finger, then lift the foil quickly, and you should be left with a cool foil embossed pattern.

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For this manicure, I used the pattern in the lower right hand corner of plate BP-L059 from Born Pretty.

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The stamping polish used was the same b.m.c. nail lacquer in noir black from my base color. I did this so that it would not look obvious if the foil did not transfer fully.

The foil was purchased in a large lot from an eBay seller, and there is no brand associated with it. You can see that the foil that I chose to use has a natural rainbow gradient effect, so it happens to match the levels that you would see on an equalizer. In case you don’t know what an equalizer looks like, here’s an example:

Very 80s techno chic.

At this point you can gently peel the decals off the mat and cut them to fit your nails. In order to hide some of the transfer imperfections, I also re-cut the levels of the bars. You can apply a cut decal by painting another layer of black polish or some top coat onto your nail and then gently press the decal onto the wet surface.

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You can see where I cut the levels of the bars for the decals, but they more or less stick to the base color. This look reminds me of Tetris.

Disclaimer: Because I didn’t like the finish of the b.m.c. nail lacquer as a base color, I applied the decals using What’s A Tire Jack? from Sephora by OPI.

It’s easy to say just apply top coat to seal in everything, but here’s where things can get tricky. I’ve heard that a water based top coat works best with foil, but I don’t have any. I also know that pretty much anything that is branded as “fast drying” will cause the foil to shrink and/or break up. If you don’t use a top coat at all, the foil will quickly rub off on its own. I took a chance by using my Ya Qin An top coat, seeing as it never smears nail art, and it worked pretty well. Thumbs up for Ya Qin An!

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Nail foil success! Too bad this took forever to do.

Fun fact: I’m holding a record that I actually played on! It was for a private project, but it’s still cool as a collector’s item.

In any case, I love how I conquered my fear of nail foil. That’s not to say that I don’t curse a lot when things don’t work out the right way, but at least I know that I have another technique that I can use. Maybe practice does make perfect!

Happy polishing!

Birds and Music Manicure

As some of you know, I am a professional flutist and do this nail art thing as my hobby. It’s only fitting that today’s manicure pays homage to the job that pays my bills!

I wanted to create an antique parchment look for the background. It was hard to find exactly the right color, but I opted for this neutral tan called Samoan Sand from OPI to do the job.

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Samoan Sand by OPI. It takes a few coats to get it opaque, but it’s a perfect nude shade for your nails.

To stain the “parchment,” I used some alcohol ink made from a BiC Mark It Permanent Marker in Woodsy Brown. To do this technique, color part of a plastic bag with the permanent maker, then take a small brush, dip it in rubbing alcohol, and pick up the marker pigment with the brush. You can then paint with this alcohol ink on your nails.

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My attempt at creating a stained look with alcohol ink.

One thing I didn’t like about the color of the marker that I chose was that the brown had more of a red tint to it than I thought. It definitely changed the color of my base shade more than I would have liked, and I probably would have used a different base color had I known that that would happen. This was only one of many mishaps that occurred while I was painting this manicure.

Because of the 3-4 layers of nail polish that were needed to make Samoan Sand opaque, I had to wait quite awhile to let my nails dry enough before I could proceed to stamping my chosen pattern, shown on the plate below.

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Perfect for musicians: plate BP-L059 from Born Pretty Store.

Being a flutist, I’m always learning music that sounds bird-like so the image from the top row, 4th from the left appealed to me the most. Using black stamping polish from Ya Qin An, I transferred the image to my nails. I used a clear stamper to make sure the lines of the staves were fairly straight and perpendicular to my nails. I also took care to try to stagger the image to make the design look more unique.

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Stamping from a single image from plate BP-L059.

You’ll notice that there’s a suspicious looking burn mark in the middle of one nail. That was not supposed to be there originally. I made a mistake while double stamping the lower part of that nail- the first transfer had thin stave lines, so when I went over the bottom part a second time, I failed to line up part of the image correctly in one place. I tried to lightly rub the area with a cotton swab and acetone, but the black polish started smearing over the nearby areas. I ended up removing a larger section of polish than I had intended to, refilled it with Samoan Sand, and reapplied the alcohol ink, but the remnants of the smudged black polish still formed a ring around the area. I decided that this added to the antique flair and went with it. This just goes to show that sometimes things don’t go according to plan, but you can still roll with the punches.

Speaking of, I had also horribly smudged my pinky nail right before I was going to take the photos for this manicure, so I had to completely redo that nail for these shots as well. Sigh.

In any case, I applied a layer of Ya Qin An top coat to prevent the stamping from getting smudged, then applied a layer of Matte Top Coat from Sephora by OPI to finish up this manicure.

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This one’s for the birds!

Here’s to hoping that the next manicure won’t have so many nail fails involved! Happy polishing!

 

Rainbow Musical Nails

I’ve been so busy that I haven’t had time to update the blog lately, so I apologize for that.  These nails are from May, so even though I’m posting in June, I’m filing this under last month.

I really felt like doing a rainbow gradient across just the tips of my nails, so I had to pull out a whole arsenal of polishes for this one.  Pictured below from left to right are the following colors:

OPI- Privacy Please
Sephora by OPI- Curve-aceous
Sephora by OPI- Cab Fare
Formula X for Sephora- Danger Zone
Confetti- Ice Ice Baby
Sephora by OPI- Gleek Out
Sephora by OPI- Who Let the Dorks Out?
Formula X for Sephora- Hyped

I tried to pick polishes with shimmer in them so that the overall look would be more unified.

I started out by painting my nails with a nude color base.  You can opt to only do the gradient if you have nice looking nail beds, but I wanted to even out the tone.

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Privacy Please by OPI- a neutral shade that makes it look like I have healthy nail beds.

Using a small sponge, I applied dabs of each color in rainbow order: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple.  Each nail has 2 colors on it starting with red on my thumb and ending in purple on my pinky.

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The rainbow gradient is beautiful by itself.

I wanted my rainbow to have some more sparkle, so I added a stroke of Ice Ice Baby, an iridescent glitter, to the top half of each nail.

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The lighting doesn’t pick up the different reflections of the glitter, but it’s there.

Finally I took craft smart Acrylic Paint in White and drew in a few lines with a striping brush to draw two lines across the tip of each nail.  I made little note heads with a dotting tool and painted in the stems with a detail brush.

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The notes are entirely optional, but I wanted to acknowledge my music career with this design.

I think it’s pretty and represents what a colorful part music plays in our lives.

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My two loves: my flute and nail art.

Can you paint with all the colors of the wind?  😉

Happy polishing!