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:

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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!

 

 

London Bridge Nail Art

I had to fine tune my last manicure to be more functional because the glitter kept catching on everything and falling off, but I wasn’t about to get rid of that lovely flag yet because of how long it took to paint.  I knew I had a template for London Bridge on one of my stamping plates, but I opted not to use it the first time around because I thought it didn’t look enough like the real structure.

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Cheeky Jumbo Plate 3. I wasn’t totally digging the London Bridge graphics on this one, but I used one anyway. It’s in the 5th row, 2nd image from the right, and a single version of it is in the 2nd row, 3rd image from the right.

London Bridge is a sandy color, so I picked a nice tan polish and decided to go with a sky blue background.

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From left to right: b.m.c. nail lacquer in noir black, Infatuated by Formula X for Sephora, and Vera by Julep.

After removing the glitter from my original manicure, I repainted those nails with Infatuated.  For a full tutorial on how to paint the flag, please refer to my last post.

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British pride!

To add color to the bridge, I stamped the image onto several stamper heads before coloring it in with Vera and a small dotting tool.

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A set of stamp heads makes working on several images a piece of cake.

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I used a dotting tool to color in the image. I could have been more precise if I used a detail brush, but I hate cleaning nail polish off my nail art brushes.

I didn’t bother to put the stamper heads back into the holder to transfer the image onto my nails.  After letting the polish dry a little, I took a head and gently rocked the stamper back and forth across my nail to make sure the image transferred.

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Closeup of my index finger.

The plate image still looks hokey in my opinion, but it’s still somewhat recognizable.  The simplified design along with the color scheme also makes me think of sand castles.

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London Bridge hopefully won’t fall down like it does in the song!

So ends my Anglophile week.  I’m playing a recording session tomorrow and Friday that will also be filmed, so I’ll need to change my nails lest people start wondering why a NYC musician is sporting UK nails!  I’ll be sad to lose the flag, though.  I hate working with striping tape, but I love how clean the lines turned out.

Happy polishing!

UK Nail Art

One of my friends went to London for the month, so naturally she put in a request for London themed nail art.  I joked that I could simply paint my nails all gray and say that it was London fog, but I didn’t think that was what she had in mind.

I could have opted to paint some of the landmarks- Big Ben and London Bridge came to mind, but I feel like my ability with acrylic paint couldn’t do justice to the structures.  In the end, I decided to make the fuzzy texture of the hats of the royal guard flanking the British flag.  If I had long nails, I would have included a face with the hats, but with my current length, I felt like the heads wouldn’t have the right proportion if I went that route.

I really wanted the flag to look nice, so I decided to use striping tape to keep the lines super straight.  I hate using striping tape because it involves lots of drying time, patience to apply many pieces of tape correctly, and the possibility of messing up your nails when removing the tape, but my friend deserved the best.

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Flag colors: White Hot by Sephora by OPI, Blue It by Sally Hansen Hard as Nails Xtreme Wear, and And A Cherry On Top by Sephora by OPI.

Because your nails have to be complete dry before applying any kind of tape, I painted my thumb, middle and ring fingers with White Hot to start the drying process as soon as possible.

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Please excuse the nail discoloration- the red glitter from my last mani somewhat stained my nails.

While the white polish was drying, I decided to do the fuzzy hats.

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The “hats” are done with What’s a Tire Jack? by Sephora by OPI and Recollections Signature Glitter in Ebony.

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To apply the glitter, I first painted my nail with black polish.

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While the polish was still wet, I sprinkled on the glitter. Keep a piece of paper on your table to catch the excess so you can pour it back into the container when you’re done.

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I used a fan brush to dust away the excess. I cleaned up the extra pieces of glitter by running an orange stick along the borders of the polish on my nail.

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After patting down the glitter a little, the resulting manicure looks rather chic and interesting. Lovers of texture polish will love this look.

I waited a few hours for the white polish to fully dry before attempting to apply the striping tape.  Be sure to test a small area of your nail with the tape to see if you will ruin your base color before proceeding.

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This was the layout for the striping tape. You can see that it already resembles the British flag.

When working with striping tape, it is best to use thin coats of polish so that the color you are painting doesn’t bleed into other areas when you remove the tape.  Also, try to remove the tape as soon as possible so that the polish doesn’t start stretching and/or blending with the base color as you pull each piece off.  Because of this, I don’t have pictures of every single step, but suffice it to say that I colored in the blue areas first and the red stripe down the middle of the flag as shown below.

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You can see that even though I tried to follow my own tips, some of the blue polish leaked into the white area. You can fix this later by going over these spots with a dotting tool and some white nail polish.

Of course, I totally forgot to color in the horizontal red stripe, so I had to reapply the tape to fill in that area, and I left it on to paint the red diagonal stripes as well.

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I reapplied striping tape to fill in the horizontal red stripes. I used a striping brush to draw in the diagonal stripes by hand.

Incidentally, painting the flag by hand is a ton faster. Start with a blue base color, use white acrylic paint and a striping brush to paint large stripes, and then add red polish over the white paint.  You will save yourself hours of drying time and not be super frustrated with placing all those pieces of striping tape.

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My finished Union Jack done with striping tape.

But wait, what did I do with my thumb, you ask?  I painted another flag of course…  because it’s so clear that I loooooove using striping tape.  The steps are pretty much the same as for the bigger flag, but I took more pictures this time.

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Lots of striping tape.

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I painted the red stripes first with the assumption that if I bled into a blue area, the blue polish would cover up any red mistakes more easily.

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I used the brush from the bottle to paint the blue sections, so that’s why it’s a bit messy.

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After removing the striping tape, I still had to use red polish to finish the cross in the center, but you can also see what happens when you leave striping tape on for too long. Because the polish set more during the time that I used taking extra photos, the colors pulled up with the tape and created a bleeding effect along some of the edges.

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I wish my thumb looked cleaner, but it’s not bad.

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The guards are at attention!

My friend loved the nails, thankfully, and now another friend has put in a request to do a South African theme in honor of her homeland.  I better start doing some research on the area!

Incidentally, I didn’t apply top coat to the glitter for the photos, and most of the glitter will flake off if you don’t.  The texture doesn’t look as nice once you apply top coat, but it’s a real pain feeling like you’re shedding glitter on everything, so I had to change those nails.  But that’s for the next blog post…

Happy polishing!