Back to School Chalkboard/Bus/Crayon Nail Art

Who is ready for the upcoming school year?  Not me!  Most NYC schools don’t start until after Labor Day, so I’ve got a little bit more time for myself before the crazy student hustle begins again!

I teamed up with @tamiiinails on Instagram this time to do a collaboration to celebrate the return of the school year, so we both agreed to have some kind of chalkboard element in our designs.  The rest was up to us!

I decided to use the chalkboard as my accent nail and paint the stripes of a yellow school bus across the other nails.

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I used Lighthouse by China Glaze and Johnny by Julep for my base colors. I guess the shimmer makes my school bus look more magical!

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I painted my nails with the corresponding base colors that would go with my concept.

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I used a striping brush and black acrylic paint to make the double stripe pattern across my nails. I later refined the lines with a detail brush to get them filled out and straight. Then I painted the 1+1=2 on the black nail with white acrylic paint and a super fine detail brush and applied matte top coat from Sephora by OPI over the chalkboard design. Regular top coat from Seche Vite was applied to the other nails for shine.

It’s a fairly simple design, although getting the details to look perfect is where a steady hand and some OCD come in handy!  Believe me, I wish I had black striping tape that I could have used instead!  Speaking of which, if you don’t think you are capable of painting straight lines, you can lay 3 pieces of striping tape on top of the yellow polish to form a stencil for the black lines and paint over the empty spaces with black nail polish.  Personally I’m faster at painting them freehand, not to mention that I don’t have a lot of patience when it comes to waiting for my polish to dry before applying striping tape!  But this technique may work better for you.

Also, it occurred to me afterward that the lines resemble the ones on crayon wrappers, so you can also opt to change the colors on your nails and purposefully turn them into crayon nails.  Of course, you can also eliminate the chalkboard altogether and do only crayon nail art as well.

As for the collaboration, here it is!  Simple but cute.

Best of luck to everyone in the new school year!  Happy polishing!

Plaid School Uniform Nails

People are already starting to go back to school, so I wanted to do some nails that would match a school uniform.

I specifically had a gray, blue, and white plaid print in mind, so I started by picking out the shades.

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From left to right: Frankly, I Don’t Give A-dam by Sephora by OPI, Ya Qin An stamping polish #8 in electric blue, and b.m.c. nail lacquer in white.

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I painted all my nails gray with Frankly, I Don’t Give A-dam by Sephora by OPI.

For the plaid look, I used a plate from Born Pretty Store.

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Plate BP-L006 from Born Pretty Store. I used the pattern on the far left side in the second row.

It is best to use a clear stamper for the next two steps to ensure that the pattern is lined up correctly.  Please be aware that it can sometimes be very difficult to stamp straight lines because both the stamper head and the nail bed are curved surfaces, so try not to push down too hard with the stamper.  It may take a few tries and a lot of cursing to get this right, but keep in mind that if the lines don’t look straight on the stamper, they probably won’t look straight on your nails, either!  Of course, you can just be lazy like me and stamp slightly curved lines, anyway!

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Stamp the plaid pattern with electric blue polish first.

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Carefully line up your stamper over the blue pattern where you desire it, and stamp white polish with the same design. I purposefully tried to shift the white portion down and to the right of the blue part so that it did not fully cover the blue lines.

I also chose a white polish that I know is not very opaque so that the colors would blend a little more.

Also, even if you don’t line up the patterns at all, it still looks cool.  I just prefer there to be larger areas of the base color poking through.  It’s still a good rule of thumb to keep the lines running parallel to each other so that it doesn’t look like a hot mess.

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Add some top coat, and you’re all done!

Initially, when I painted these, I wasn’t in love with the result, especially because the blue color started bleeding into the white color and making a weird purple tone in the places where the polishes overlapped.  However, the look has been growing on me, and I think these would make stunning nails for any business professional out there.  With the right color scheme, I can see these going great with a nice tweed suit in the fall.

I’m getting ahead of myself, though!  Enjoy the rest of the summer while it lasts!  NYC schools don’t open until after Labor Day, so the kids have a few more weeks of vacation left.  Enjoy the time, and happy polishing!

Back to School: Crayon Nail Art

It’s almost time for kids and teachers to go back to school (at least in NYC- I know some people are already back), so I wanted to do some fun nail art to celebrate mark the change of season.  School supply shopping was always one of my favorite activities, and trying to convince my parents to get me the biggest box of crayons was high on the list.  I’ll settle for mostly primary colors for this mani, though.  😉

First off, the color selection:

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My mini rainbow, left to right: Sephora by OPI- What’s a Tire Jack?, Nicka K- NY139, Sephora Nail Lacquer 5 Day Shine- Banana split, Essie- Pretty Edgy, Formula X for Sephora- Omni, Formula X for Sephora- Haphazard.

I started off by painting each of my nails a different color.  I went in backwards rainbow order.  Don’t ask why- I think I had a sixth sense about something…

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Taste the rainbow!

The toughest part about this mani was having to do the squiggly line detail.  Trying to paint over black polish with a lighter color would be near impossible, and I hate having to clean nail polish off my nail art brushes.  My approach was to take black acrylic paint and draw around the squiggle so that the original base color showed through.

Step 1- Use a striping brush to paint the outline of the area where the squiggle will appear.

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Painting the outlines of the black section of the crayon wrapper will allow you to space your squiggles out more consistently in the next step.

For the next two steps, please refer to the photo below Step 3.

Step 2 (on green nail): Using a detail brush, paint in hills along one line. If you like more of a uniform look, put the highest peak of the hill in the center of your nail and then finish off the sides with an upward curve.

Step 3 (on yellow nail): repeat the process of painting hills along the other line to coincide with the opposing curve.

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The various stages of painting in the squiggle shape within the black lines.

For an easier mani, you can simply topcoat the result and say that you painted the bottom half of the crayon, but I like to go the distance.  😉

In order to make the wrapper look different from the actual crayon, I used matte top coat over the bottom half of my nails.

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Mattifying the squiggle section of the nail mimics the paper wrapper and gives the look more texture. I used a matte top coat from Sephora by OPI.

To draw the tip, I used a striping brush and black polish to first notch the beginning of the tapered section of the point.

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Adding notches to show the start of the tip of the crayon.

From there I painted in an angled section with the striper so that the tip of the crayon would be tapered.

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Crayon madness!

Add some topcoat to the top half of the nail, and you’re done!  It’s a very cute look and makes people nostalgic for their youth.  Now where did I put that coloring book?  😉

If you were wondering about that sixth sense that I mentioned before…  It’s because the purple color ended up being a lot darker than I thought it would be, so the black detail did not show up very well at all.  😦  I’m glad I didn’t have to photograph my thumb to get a good picture!  If you decide to recreate this, definitely choose lighter colors over darker ones.

Happy polishing!