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!

 

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!

Q*bert Nail Art

After feeling so unsatisfied about my Matrix nails, I decided to look through my plate collection once again to try to find new inspiration.  This time I focused on the cube design on Cheeky Jumbo Plate 10 because it reminded me of Q*bert, a game I really sucked at because my age was in the single digits when I first saw my brothers playing it.  Q*bert was also featured in Wreck It Ralph and more recently in Pixels.

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Cheeky Jumbo Plate 10. I used the cube design 2 rows from the bottom and 3 columns from the right.

Obviously I wanted to paint Q*bert, so I planned to put him on my thumbnail so that I could make him big enough to stand out.  I also decided to paint Coily, the snake who is out to get Q*bert on the board during game play, so I planned to put him on my ring finger.  To make the characters stand out, I used a plain black polish as a backdrop.  I wanted to put the cubes on the other nails, so for a base, I used yellow polish, decided to stamp with a blue one, and colored in the other squares with a red polish.

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The color line up from left to right: b.m.c. nail lacquer- royal blue, Sephora by OPI- What’s a Tire Jack?, Sephora by OPI- Cab Fare, Sephora by OPI- And A Cherry On Top.

I painted the base colors first.

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Buzzing around with yellow and black polish.

Cab Fare takes 3 coats of polish to look opaque, so I needed to wait for that to dry before I could do any stamping.  I used the time to paint Q*bert and Coily instead.

For the characters, I used acrylic paint by Craft Smart and various sized detail brushes.  You can follow the painting process in the photos below.

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Q*bert step-by-step photo tutorial.

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Coily step-by-step photo tutorial.

A note on Coily- I know he’s supposed to have more coils, but I don’t have long enough fingernails to paint the extra loops!  I think you get the picture, though.

All that was left to be done was the stamping.  I tried using all 3 of the stampers that I own to save time, but I have to say that the Konad stamper still works the best.  In any case, after stamping the pattern, I filled in the striped boxes with And A Cherry On Top.  I used the mini bottle of polish for this because I turned the brush for this bottle into a striping brush awhile ago (just cut off 3/4 of the bristles from the original brush).  If you do this yourself, you can use a dotting tool or a detail brush to fill in the red boxes.

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Coloring in red boxes on a Konad stamper.

After transferring the pattern to my nails, here is the finished look:

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Q*bert and Coily amidst their cubes.

For those keeping track of which stampers work the best, the Konad stamper was used for the pointer finger, a large and squishy stamper from Amazon was used for the middle finger, and a stamper from Born Pretty Store was used on the pinky.  You can see that the Konad stamper picked up every detail without a problem.  You can read the original review of these stampers here.

This is maybe not the cutest mani that I’ve done, but it certainly evokes a lot of nostalgia for the 80s and arcade games!  I might decide to revisit Q*bert again because I’ve decided that an all hand-painted design is more preferable to a half hand painted and half stamped one- at least for me.  But if you love gaming and don’t want to let Pac Man steal all the 80s thunder, Q*bert is a great option.  Have fun!