Victorian Love Letter Manicure

February 15 was a vintage love letter theme for the @glamnailschallenge prompt.  I have to say, using peel off base coat is making it a lot easier to get myself to paint more because I keep losing nail polish off my fingers by accident, making it necessary to change my manicure!  Good thing that these prompts are so fun to fulfill.

The first step was to choose a nice base color.  I toyed with the idea of staining some tan polish with alcohol ink to create that old paper look, but I didn’t have that much time to paint my nails.  I found this beautiful crelly from Pretty & Polished in my collection that reminded me of pretty speckled stationery, so I went with it.

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This color from Pretty & Polished is appropriately named Antique.

I envisioned script overlaid with roses, but after digging through my extensive stamping plate collection, I couldn’t find anything that looked like what I wanted.  I made the gut wrenching decision to attempt painting the words myself.  Mind you, I have never felt comfortable with writing words on my nails because painting with a brush really doesn’t work the same way that a pen does.  I probably could have used a fine tipped Sharpie to do this, but I opted for the harder route and used acrylic paint with a fine brush and winged it.  A challenge for the challenge!

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In retrospect, a little planning would have gone a long way.  My first mistake was that I didn’t give myself enough time to do this manicure before having to leave for an appointment.  I actually had to apply topcoat after I took the upper right hand corner picture so that I could leave and come back to the details of the flowers later!  I took the most time with my index finger, which is why the text looks so much better and clearer than it does on the other fingers.  But unfortunately, acrylic paint dries quickly, and my mix of black and brown paint got thicker and thicker as I moved from nail to nail.  I guess I might need to get one of those fancy palettes that keep the paint moist.

I also felt like my text was too unevenly spaced, although perhaps that adds a more realistic charm to the look.  Ever try writing on an unlined piece of paper before?  I guess that makes my handwriting look more authentic.

My saving grace was being able to place the roses over the bits where I thought the penmanship looked too sloppy.  This was easily done with a few kinds of nail polish and some dotting tools.  The leaves are Monet Money from Finger Paints, and the different shades of pink are all colors from Nicole by OPI: (from darkest to lightest color) Berry the Hatchet, City-Pretty Rose, and Carnival Cotton Candy.

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The letter that I’m holding is a facsimile of one written by Eugene O’Neill to Beatrice Ashe on November 1, 1914.

The result turned out very pretty, and I’m sure that people will assume that I stamped the script when really I cursed a lot over the cursive writing!  While it’s not my best freehand work, I’m still satisfied with it.  I’ll just keep practicing my brushwork and see if I can do better the next time.

Happy polishing!

 

Hibiscus Nail Art

I love floral manicures for the spring and summer seasons, and it’s so easy to make a pretty looking mani with stamping plates, so let’s do this!

Materials:

Sephora by OPI- White Hot
BMC Nail Lacquer- noir black
Essie- Pretty Edgy
Julep- Nellie
Nicole by OPI- Berry the Hatchet
Julep- Karen
Ya Qin An- Y015 plate

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Clockwise from top left: White Hot, noir black, Pretty Edgy, Berry the Hatchet, Nellie, and Karen.

You’ll notice that Berry the Hatchet and Nellie are very similar colors.  I just wanted to have a little difference in the shades of the flowers.  Much like in nature, not every bloom looks alike, but if you want to recreate this look, you can stick to the same shade for each flower.

I wanted the floral pattern to stand out, so I started out by painting White Hot on all my nails.

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2 coats of White Hot by Sephora by OPI, no topcoat.

For the floral pattern, I used plate Y015 by Ya Qin An.  The brand of the plate wasn’t listed on the packaging, but I saw the name pictured with this plate on the Born Pretty Store website.  A review of the plate will be coming soon.

Plate Y015 by Ya Qin An

Plate Y015 by Ya Qin An

Because I wanted to color in the different elements of the image, I used the reverse stamping technique where you transfer the image onto the stamper and then paint the colors onto the stamper before transferring the image to your nails.  The technique itself is very simple, but it’s a very time consuming process and requires a lot of patience.  I like using dotting tools to color in the sections because dotting tools are easier to clean than brushes, but you can use whatever works best for you.  If you don’t have dotting tools or brushes, I’m sure a toothpick would work just as well.  Just be careful to not touch any of the stamped lines directly or else you will end up lifting part of the original image.

Stamp your image. I used noir black by BMC Nail Lacquer.

Stamp the desired part of the image. I used noir black by BMC Nail Lacquer.

Color in the sections with a dotting tool and your desired colors.

Color in the sections with a dotting tool and your desired colors.

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Transfer the design from the stamper onto your nail.

Repeat this process for each nail, and you’re all set!  The result looks gorgeous, and I’ve been getting so many compliments about this design.  Good luck, and happy stamping!

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