Egyptian King Tut Nails

Tonight is our first official performance of Verdi’s Aida, the story of which is set in Egypt. I decided to go with an Egyptian theme of gilded gold nails, hieroglyphics, and the head of King Tutankhamun’s (Tut’s) sarcophagus as an accent nail.

I started by painting all my nails a shiny metallic gold. I used Charge It! from Sephora by OPI.

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2 coats of Charge It! from Sephora by OPI turn your nails into opulent gold works of art.

While looking for Halloween manicure ideas in the past few weeks, I came across plate BM-S250 from Bundle Monster, now called Maniology, that had an Egyptian theme. They clearly thought that it would be used for the mummy aspects of it, but you can create a pretty classy looking manicure from some of the other designs.

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King Tut was the highlight of this manicure, so I opted to work on him first before proceeding with the rest of the design.

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Fall at Sunset in the Park Nail Art

Oh, fall. It’s the perfect time to bring out all those toasty, golden colors that match the leaves outside. While most of the leaves are still green in NYC, I decided to get a jump start on the season with my nails.

For my base, I used a shimmery lemon shade from Julep called Nadia.

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2 coats of Nadia by Julep were applied for this swatch.

To create fall vibes, I used a fan brush to streak Pam from Julep (holographic orange) and Charge It! from Sephora by OPI (gold) across my nails. I used a slightly wavy motion to get a wind swept effect.

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Game of Thrones House Greyjoy Nails

How many of you watched the Season 7 premiere of Game of Thrones on Sunday? I’ve been eagerly awaiting the new episodes, so it was fitting that I do some Game of Thrones nail art to celebrate the day!

Why House Greyjoy, you ask? It’s definitely not the house that I’m rooting for. I’m not a fan of anyone from that family except for maybe Yara/Asha. But I had been approached on Instagram to do a Game of Thrones house sigil collaboration and ended up choosing the kraken because it seemed like it was the most adaptable sigil to fit across my nails, and a few of the other houses had already been taken. Little did I know that everyone in the group decided to bail on the collaboration and didn’t bother to tell me! Oh, well- at least I got some cool nail art out of it.

House Greyjoy’s sigil is described as a gold kraken on a field of black. I went through my black polishes and chose this shimmery version that I had never tried out before. I suppose a basic black would have done the job equally well, but this shade was gorgeous.

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Black Dress Not Optional by OPI is the perfect shade of shimmery black.

The easiest part of the manicure was my thumb. The words of House Greyjoy are “We do not sow.” so I wrote this out with yellow acrylic paint from Craft Smart with a fine detail brush. To aid with the spacing, I wrote “do not” first across the middle and added the “we” and “sow” afterward.

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“We do not sow” is a whole lot easier to write out on one nail compared to “What is dead may never die but rises again harder and stronger.”

The kraken proved to be an interesting conundrum. Pretty much all graphic images of the sigil make the kraken look square and spread out, but it still looks like a cross between a squid and an octopus. I initially sketched out a rough draft with pencil and paper to get a better sense of the spacing across all four nails, and then I took yellow acrylic paint and started by painting the head and worked my way across each nail, attempting to center the design as much as as possible and make sure parts connected to each other. The tentacles were essentially squiggly lines, so it wasn’t the hardest thing to paint, although it was hard to keep the lines looking clean and somewhat symmetrical. I also chose to not be too detailed with the image to keep it looking bold.

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My kraken was painted with yellow acrylic paint first to establish the layout of the image and to provide a more opaque base for the gold polish applied afterward.

I applied a bright gold polish (Charge It! by Sephora by OPI) with a small detail brush over the yellow acrylic paint to smooth out the design and stay true to the Greyjoy colors. This part required patience more than anything.

A nice layer of top coat from Seche Vite smoothed everything out a little more, and with that, a kraken was born!

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House Greyjoy represent!

It was great to see the episode afterward and watch the Greyjoy ships flying their banners. My fiancé recognized the image immediately whereas previously, he probably wouldn’t have known whose ships they were. It’s great that nail art can be so educational in that respect!

I’m looking forward to seeing the next episode, but until then, happy polishing!

Wedding Cake Inspired Manicure

I’ve surprisingly been able to keep up with the February @glamnailschallenge prompts so far.  Feb. 8’s theme was Wedding Cake, so I channeled my inner Duff Goldman from Ace of Cakes to come up with a wedding cake design to put on my nails.

I started by painting all my nails white.  I chose Bunny from Julep because it has subtle gold microglitter in it that would match the gold stamping and accents that I planned to add later.

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Bunny by Julep.

For the icing scrollwork, I chose to stamp on a pretty filigree from plate BPL-027 from Born Pretty Store.

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I chose the pattern from the upper left hand corner for this manicure.

I used Charge It! from Sephora by OPI to do the stamping.  I tried to align the point of the design with the center of my nail, and I also left a little bit of space between the point and the cuticle so that it would more closely resemble a cake layer.

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Subtle gold stamping finished off with a matte top coat from Sephora by OPI to give it the look of fondant.

Because I wasn’t so sure about the next part of the design, I added pearl rhinestones from Born Pretty Store so I could get a “finished” shot before I proceeded just in case I didn’t like how it turned out.

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Tiny flatback pearl rhinestones were applied to the center of each nail in the same part of the design with Kiss Nail Art Glue and some tweezers. I am holding the color Charge It! from Sephora by OPI, which was used for the stamping.

The next part consisted of adding a band of gold fondant to the top of my cake layer, otherwise known in the nail art world as French tips.  I used the brush from the bottle of Charge It! to paint a stripe of polish across the top of each nail and then added gold striping tape underneath it to neaten up the line.  I applied some more matte top coat, and declared this manicure finished.

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I’m amazed by how much matte top coat makes this look like a layer of fondant.

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Requisite bottle shot.

It’s funny how I kept wondering what I was going to do for this theme, and I managed to put this look together in the end.  I feel like doing nail art is like choosing an outfit for a special occasion- you just have to look through everything you have and figure out what goes together the best.

Happy polishing!

 

Hibiscus Flower Manicure

Hello!  It’s time to fulfill another @glamnailschallenge prompt.  The theme for Feb. 5 is Red Flowers, so rather than do something with roses, I chose to feature the hibiscus flower.  I have fond memories of these big red blossoms growing all over my mom’s garden, and they were always her pride and joy (aside from me, haha).

I used plate BPL-024 from Born Pretty Store for the design.  Something tells me that I’m probably going to end up doing a lot of stamping this month to keep up with the challenge prompts.

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Plate BPL-024 from Born Pretty Store has all the flowers you could want. I used the image in the bottom row, 3rd from the right.

I planned to put the hibiscus flowers on only my middle two fingers, so I painted my other nails basic black to keep the focus on the flowers.  I went with a gold polish for the middle and ring fingers because that was the lightest shade out of the colors that I planned to use for the hibiscus decal.

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Goldfinger! The gold polish is called Charge It! from Sephora by OPI, and the black polish is What’s A Tire Jack? from Sephora by OPI.

Making decals is fun, although I really dread the application and clean up process.  I would have liked to simply reverse stamp it onto my nail, but I had to paint over pretty much the entire image, so it didn’t want to transfer in one piece as my botched right hand can testify!

The colors used are as follows:

Ya Qin An stamping nail polish in Black
Red: American as Apple Pie by Nicole by OPI
Gold: Charge It! by Sephora by OPI
Light Green: Tatum by Julep
Green: Little Butterfly by Cupcake Polish

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The making of a nail decal.

  1. I stamped the design with Ya Qin An Black stamping polish.
  2. (not pictured) I applied a layer of Ya Qin An top coat over the stamped image to prevent polish bleed and assist in making the removal of the decal easier.
  3. I used a dotting tool to apply the gold polish to the stamen of the flowers and used the brush from the bottle to apply the other different colors to the image.
  4. After letting the decal dry completely, I carefully removed it from the stamper with tweezers.
  5. I applied a layer of Glisten & Glow HK Girl Top Coat to a gold nail and placed the decal on my nail, smoothing out the surface.
  6. (not pictured) I used a cuticle pusher to cut away the excess decal from my nail and filed away the extra bit from the free edge.
  7. Repeat these steps to make additional decals for your nails.

After some additional clean up with acetone and swabs and brushes and a layer of Seche Vite top coat, I finally finished!

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Pretty, although it’s not 100% perfect.

I have to admit, decal transfer is still one of my weaker points, especially because my natural nails have some funky contours.  If anyone has any additional pointers, I’d love to hear them!

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Finished hibiscus manicure.

Incidentally, you might have noticed that I used three different top coats with the manicure rather than just one.  This is because I find that each top coat has certain strengths that I like to save it for.  For instance, the Ya Qin An top coat is the best thing since sliced bread for stamping.  It never smears the polish underneath it, no matter how many times you brush over the design.  Glisten & Glow’s HK Girl top coat is supposedly a blogger favorite, but I don’t like using it because it tends to smear colors easily.  However, because of this, it “melts” decals quickly so that they conform to the nail’s shape in no time.  Seche Vite top coat remains my #1 pick as a finishing gloss because it seals all the layers of polish underneath it, dries super quick, and has the best amount of shine.  I say mix and match for best results!

See you in a few days for the next prompt.  Happy polishing!