American Flag French Manicure

If you’re in America, there’s no doubt that you knew it was Independence Day recently. Whether you were having a barbecue, watched fireworks either live or on TV, or just saw a lot of red, white, and blue decor everywhere, there’s no way you totally forgot about the holiday. And if you’re a nail blogger, there’s almost no excuse for you to go out without some sort of appropriate manicure!

Seeing as I did a patriotic manicure fairly recently, I wanted to create a more subtle look this time around. The idea was to do a flag French tip design over a nude base. If my nail beds were in better shape (they’re looking super sad right now after a bad reaction to too much UV light and acetone exposure from all the gel polish swatching that I’ve been doing), I would have left my real nails exposed for a “negative space” look, but I needed to use some sort of foundation to cover up the damage. Good thing I have a nice collection of nude pink colors from which to choose! I selected Privacy Please from OPI for this manicure. It’s sheer, but it’s a little streaky (maybe due to age), so I applied 3-4 coats to each nail to even out the color.

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This lovely blush pink shade hides your nail imperfections in 3-4 coats.

While my polish dried, I prepared a stamper with the flag design from the Konad m45 stamping plate. This was one of the first plates I ever bought, and I remember wondering how on earth you could produce a true red, white, and blue flag image with it. Now that I’m more experienced, I know how to do these things!

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Patriotic Graffiti Nails

Ah, Memorial Day weekend! I finally have a little time for myself after an intense period of rehearsals and concerts, so here I am celebrating Memorial Day with some abstract red, white, and blue (and silver) patriotic nails for a different take on the flag.

To start, I painted all my nails with Jelly Belly + Sally Hansen Insta-Dri polish in 621 Coconut. Can you believe I found this at Duane Reade the other day in the clearance section for just $1.24? I applied 3 coats to all my nails to get an even finish and waited for them to dry completely before continuing.

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I used the Nicole Diary-094 plate for the fun assortment of squiggles and shapes that it offered. Layering different patterns from it, I was able to make a graffiti-like version of the American flag.

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Patriotic Independence Day Nails

Happy July 4! It’s America’s birthday, so my nails are painted with red, white, and blue colors to commemorate our nation’s flag.

The easiest way to do this manicure is to start with a white base. I chose Ya Qin An Stamping Nail Polish in White because it dries quickly and is completely opaque in 2 coats.

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I used Bundle Monster’s BM-H25 plate to do the stamping. I featured the images on the top and right sides of the plate in this manicure.

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The stamping technique that I used requires the application of two different polish colors to the same design and a single scraping away of the polish so that a gradient effect is not created. It easily becomes a complete mess of colors if you’re not careful with this!

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Texas Strong Nail Art

Apologies for the lack of activity lately. The beginning of the new school year is always a tiring and busy time for me, and I haven’t had much time to paint my nails.

A friend from Texas had requested that I do some Texas Strong nails in light of the recent hurricane activity there. The victims of Hurricane Harvey have been pushed aside in the minds of many after Hurricane Irma hit the US not long afterward. Many prayers go out to those who are still recovering from both disasters. I’m grateful that those that I know who are in the affected areas are safe.

In any case, the first thing that came to mind with my Texas Strong design was to paint the state’s flag and a small version of the state on my nails. For those who don’t know what the Texas flag looks like, here it is:

Flag of Texas.svg
Public Domain, Link

I started by painting my index finger blue and the rest of my fingers white.

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The blue polish is called Oceanic and the white polish is called White Matter, both from Formula X.

I did the star by hand with a small brush and craft smart acrylic paint in White. To get a more symmetrical look, I placed dots where the 5 points of the stars would be and then connected the dots.

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To ensure that I got straight lines between the white and red sections, I applied a piece of striping tape to use as a painting guide, then I brushed on red polish (Pyrotechnic by Formula X) over the top part of my nail.

The text “Texas Strong” and the state of Texas on my pinky were hand painted with a detail brush and craft smart acrylic paint in Black. A generous amount of Seche Vite top coat finished off the look.

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It’s a simple design that gets the point across. I wish I could have done something big and grand, but I’m still struggling to find the time to do everything these days.

Hope everyone is safe and well out there! Happy polishing!

Election Day Voter Nails

It has been a crazy couple of weeks, not just for me, but for the nation.  I went to the polls immediately after I finished doing these nails, but I didn’t have time to post the tutorial until today.

I wanted an almost graffiti like look, so I went for a splatter technique in classic red, white, and blue colors.  Go USA!  This method was done with coffee stirrers that I cut in half so that the small opening could fill with nail polish easily (see the bottom right photo below for the size).  Simply brush the end of the straw with the color that you want to use and then blow through the other end to splatter the paint all over the place.  Things will get super messy, so make sure you protect all surrounding surfaces before starting!  Keep in mind that thin polish formulas work best for the actual splattering, and the farther away you hold your hand from the straw, the finer the splatter will be.

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  1. Paint your nails white.  I used wild white ways from Essence Cosmetics.
  2. Brush some red polish (And A Cherry On Top from Sephora by OPI) onto the end of a small straw or coffee stirrer and quickly blow through the other end to splatter the color onto your nails.  Repeat until you are satisfied with the coverage.
  3. Repeat the splatter technique with blue (royal blue from b.m.c. nail lacquer) and white (White Hot by Sephora by OPI) polish.  Obviously, white does not show up much, but it does look good when sprayed over large patches of red and blue.
  4. Be prepared for an intense clean up session!  I painted liquid latex around my cuticles, but I also washed my hands with a pumice scrub to get some of the polish off before wiping up the rest with acetone and a cotton pad.
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All cleaned up! Red, white, and blue patriotic speckled effect.

For the lettering, I cheated and used a stamping plate.  I seriously wish that companies would offer a full alphabetic plate, but I managed to make BM-426 from Bundle Monster work for this mani.

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Plate BM-426 from Bundle Monster. Vote can spelled from love and hate. How appropriate.

Because the letters have negative space, I filled in these parts with silver glitter polish (Silver Bells from Finger Paints) and did some reverse stamping.

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I used a clear stamper with Konad Special Nail Polish in Black to first pick up the letter from the plate, then I colored in the empty part with silver glitter nail polish and let it dry completely before transferring it to my nail.

Optional: Use a detail brush with black acrylic paint to correct and/or thicken up any lines as necessary.  I touched up some of the lettering after the stamping was done to make sure the word was visible enough even though most of the stamping came out perfectly.

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Repeat these steps until you spell out the word you want.  Then go out and vote!

I know that there are quite a few people disappointed in the results of the election.  I’m not going to voice my opinion here because this is a nail blog, not a political forum, so if you want to know my views, please talk to me in person.  It is our responsibility as a nation to try to get along with each other and accept the results instead of insulting people and their choices for supporting the “wrong” candidate.  Our voting system is the way it is for a reason, and all we can do is have faith that our president elect will make good decisions in the best interest for the country.  If not, we will have another chance to elect someone else in four years.

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People fought hard for the right to vote, so go out and register if you are able to do so.  It may not seem like one vote matters, but you never know how things might have turned out if everyone who could vote cast a ballot!

Take care, and happy polishing!

 

Animal Print Fourth of July Nails

Happy Independence Day, America!

Everyone is probably putting stars and stripes on their nails today, so I wanted to do a different interpretation of the American flag.  The first thing that occurred to me when I thought of stripes was zebra print.  So why not do an animal print interpretation of the flag?  Put some leopard spots instead of stars.  It’s like a cross between Betsey Johnson and Betsy Ross!

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My polishes from left to right: Curve-aceous by Sephora by OPI, Dandy Lyin’ Around by China Glaze, Splish Splash by China Glaze, Up All Night by China Glaze, and Silver Glitter by Kleancolor. All these polishes have shimmery finishes.

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I painted 2 nails blue and 3 nails red (the third was my thumb).

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Using a dotting tool, I applied Dandy Lyin’ Around to the blue section haphazardly to start the leopard print pattern. I used a striping brush and craft smart acrylic paint in white to paint the zebra stripes.

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I used a smaller dotting tool to apply dark blue polish around the white dots and filled in empty spaces with a few more dots of Up All Night. I used a dotting tool to also go over the solo blue dots with Silver Glitter.

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After applying top coat, the design is finished.

I admit, it’s a bit of a stretch to think that this design is symbolic of the flag, but it’s kind of cool anyway.  Perhaps if I made sure that there were 13 red and white stripes in total, this would have been more convincing, but I took some artistic license.

Now go enjoy your barbecues!  Happy polishing!

Aruban Flag Nails

My orchestra was asked to re-record the Aruban National Anthem for the first time in 40 years.  What an honor it was to participate in this event and make music with the choir full of gifted singers from Aruba!

Because of the significance of the occasion, we were warned that in addition to making an audio recording, the sessions would also be filmed and photographed.  I wanted to respect Aruba and show my support for the project by painting the country’s flag on my nails.  Thankfully it wasn’t a very complicated design.

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By http://www.vexilla-mundi.com/aruba.htm, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=375101
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I used Snowcone by Orly for the base color.

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With a striping brush and yellow acrylic paint, I marked two straight lines along the side of my thumbnail and across the tips of my other nails.

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To make the red star in the corner, I started by painting a small cross with a detail brush and red acrylic paint.

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I gently filled in the star by painting small lines over the cross shape done in the previous step.

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I finished it off by painting a white outline around the star with acrylic paint.

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The thumbnail shows the flag in its entirety.

I think the recording went well, and I’m anxious to hear the final cuts of the versions of the anthem that we did!  And who knows, maybe my nails will make it into one of the video cuts as well.

Happy polishing!