Ocean Themed Manicure

It’s still technically summer, even though in my mind, once school starts, it’s fall.  So how about one last beachy manicure?

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The polish line up from left to right: OPI- He’s My Surfing Instructor, Sephora by OPI- Looks Like Rain, Dear, Konad Special Nail Polish- Black, and b.m.c. nail lacquer- liquid gold.

It’s been awhile since I’ve used glitter polish, but I’m always looking for an excuse to change up my nails a bit more often.  I went ahead and used Elmer’s School Glue as a base coat for easy removal later on, and used He’s My Surfing Instructor from OPI on all my nails to start.

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He’s My Surfing Instructor from OPI is a jelly based glitter polish that looks like a beautiful ocean.

This polish takes quite a few coats before it looks opaque.  I think I did 4-5 coats to get the look in the picture above.  Perhaps next time I’ll use an opaque color as a base and use this color on top to give it the iridescent sheen of the polish.  It’s a really beautiful color, though.

The stamping was done with 2 different plates: BPL-026 from Born Pretty Store and Jumbo Plate 2 by Cheeky.

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BPL-026 from Born Pretty Store. I used the design in the 2nd row, 3 images from the right.

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I used the seashell that is in the top row, 3rd image from the left on Jumbo Plate 2 from Cheeky.

For the seaweed part, I added dimension by stamping the pattern in gold first before I stamped it in black.  It adds just a little bit more shimmer to the polish as well.

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Stamping done with liquid gold by b.m.c. nail lacquer and plate BPL-026 from Born Pretty Store. It looks very faint, but it adds that touch of class and unites the black and gold color theme in this design.

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Black polish by Konad is stamped over the gold part with the same pattern from BPL-026.

The shells were done with the reverse stamping method so I could color them in.

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The image from Cheeky Jumbo Plate 2 is stamped with Konad Special Nail Polish in Black.

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Using the brush from the bottle, I colored in the shell with Looks Like Rain, Dear from Sephora by OPI.

Finally I stamped the shells onto my nails with opposing angles to frame the seaweed.

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Under the sea… Ocean themed nail art! Ariel would be jealous.

And that’s all there is to it!  It was easy to do, and I’m pretty satisfied with the result for once.  Hope you all enjoy the rest of your summer!  😉  Happy polishing!

Stamped Shell Nail Art

It’s back to school time for a lot of kids right now, so I don’t have much more time to get another summery mani in this year.  😦  Because I’ve been suffering from horrible back pain and spasms all summer after my car accident, I haven’t had the opportunity to hit the beach, even though I don’t live too far away from one.  My nails this time gave me an excuse to at least hobble around on the sand long enough to take a picture while I waited for my prescriptions to be filled at the neighborhood pharmacy.

But enough of my sob story- I know you’re here to read about nail art, so here are the details behind this look.

For the base color, I used Faded Blues by Ulta Professional, which is a beautiful pearly light blue.

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Ulta Professional Nail Lacquer- Faded Blues

I wanted my nails to have a very dreamy and lighthearted look, so I did the stamping with Konad Special Nail Polish in White with Jumbo Plate 2 by Cheeky.

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Stamped shells- I used the pattern in the first column, 4 rows up from the bottom.

No special tricks or anything on this one- it’s just plain old stamping goodness!

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Sally sold seashells by the seashore- seashell nail art.

The look reminds me of beach houses and all the freshness and airiness of a fine summer day.  More importantly, these nails make me feel happy thinking about collecting shells on the beach!  🙂

Hope you all have been enjoying these past few months because soon enough it will be cold again.  :O  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!

Sunflower/Black Eyed Susan Nail Art

When I was doing my review for Temix Mini Nail Color yellow stamping polish, I had to find a plate that would go well with the shade I got.  The suns from Cheeky Jumbo Plate 2 looked like they could be turned into sunflowers or Black Eyed Susans very easily with some brown rhinestones, so I decided to make a full mani out of it.

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Cheeky Jumbo Plate 2. The design I used was 3rd from the left and 3rd from the bottom.

I liked the idea of having sunflowers being backed by a blue sky, so I used Blue Collar by Orly for my base color.

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A beautiful blue polish: Blue Collar by Orly.

After letting that dry, I went ahead and stamped the design from Jumbo Plate 2 with Temix Mini Nail Color in #3 and applied topcoat.

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Bright suns serve as the base for this floral design. Stamping is done with Temix Mini Nail Color in #3.

Afterward, I set dark iridescent rhinestones with Kiss Nail Art Glue into the centers of the suns to turn them into flowers.  The way the rhinestones protrude resemble the centers of Black Eyed Susans.

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The finished look against a bed of Black Eyed Susans.

Overall it was a very easy manicure to do, and it’s very eye catching and summery.  Happy polishing!

Temix Mini Nail Color #3 Yellow Nail Polish Review

I’ve been doing a lot more stamping lately, so I’ve found myself in the need of more polishes that I can use with my plates.  The best way to test the quality of a brand’s stamping polish is to see how well their light colors perform, so I decided to test drive yellow polish #3 from Temix to see if their line was any good.

The bottle size is only 6 ml (0.2 fl. oz.), hence the “mini nail color” part in the name.  In comparison, most regular bottles of nail polish come in a 15 ml (0.5 fl. oz.) size.  Because yellow isn’t that popular of a stamping color, this is the perfect amount for me.

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Temix Mini Nail Color: small but mighty.

Stamping polishes should be as opaque as possible in order to perform well over different colors.  Although I would never wear a stamping polish for any other purpose other than for stamping, I swatched the polish to check its opacity.

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One coat of Temix, no topcoat.

The brush is a good size and applied the polish easily, but the first coat left some coverage to be desired.  It’s pretty decent for a yellow polish, but this didn’t seem to bode well for stamping.  That still remained to be seen.

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2 coats of Temix with Seche Vite topcoat.

With the second coat, you get full coverage of the nail bed.  The polish is appropriately thick, although not in a bad way.  However, based on how this applies on its own, I probably would not go using this polish for a regular mani.

Now onto the real reason why we’re here: stamping.

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Temix looks great on a Konad stamper.

The polish spread easily onto the plate (I used Jumbo Plate 2 by Cheeky for the pattern), and my stamper picked it up well.  I was surprised by how opaque it turned out to be.

I tested it on top of hot pink, white, and black polishes and found it to perform excellently.  Any flaws you see with the stamping are because of my own user error.  What I found is that the polish dried quickly on the stamper so cleaning up the excess around my nails with Scotch tape would lift portions of the stamped pattern from the base coat of polish as well as from my skin.  The fast drying time is a good thing because it means it won’t get streaky when you apply topcoat over it.

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Temix used on top of (L-R) Keys to My Hybrid, White Hot, and What’s A Tire Jack? all by Sephora by OPI.

What impressed me was that this polish showed up well on top of a white base coat, and it didn’t come out looking faded on top of a black base coat.  If yellow polish looks this good on either extreme, it’s bound to look great on top of any color.

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Temix #3 on top of Blue Collar by Orly.

Overall, I highly recommend Temix Mini Nail Color polishes and think I might purchase the entire set of colors one day.  My poor wallet!  😉

Diamond rating: ♦♦♦♦♦ (5/5)

If you are interested in purchasing this nail polish (retail price is $4.00 USD), the link for the item is shown below.  Using code RSSPX31 will get you 10% off your order, and Born Pretty Store offers free worldwide shipping.  Happy stamping!

http://www.bornprettystore.com/high-quality-nail-template-stamping-polish-varnish-p-21124.html

http://www.bornprettystore.com/

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Minions: the Nail Art

I had some friends request that I do Minions on my nails.  Before I was willing to do them, I watched Despicable Me, Despicable Me 2, and ultimately finished with Minions the Movie so I could really find out what they were about.  Most fun research experience ever.  🙂

I had a few different ideas for how to recreate these adorable characters on my nails, but what I ultimately decided to do was paint Kevin, Stuart, and Bob along with some bananas.

Because I was going to paint specific minions, I needed to figure out what makes each one look different.  The most obvious difference with Kevin, Stuart, and Bob is that they’re different heights, and each one has a different hairstyle.  With that in mind, I already realized that I wasn’t going to have enough room to paint their overalls because I have relatively short fingernails.  That worked for me because I didn’t want to have to paint more details than I had to do.  😉

Here is the material line up:

OPI- Alpine Snow
Formula X for Sephora- Zing
Sephora Nail Lacquer 5 Day Shine- Banana split
Konad Special Nail Polish- Black
Formula X- Need for Speed
Sephora by OPI- Casanova Is So Into Me
craft smart Acrylic paint in White and Black
Cheeky- Jumbo Plate 7 (Home Sweet Home)
Googly (wiggle) eyes
Kiss Nail Art Glue
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Clockwise from top left: Alpine Snow by OPI, Need for Speed by Formula X, Zing by Formula X for Sephora, black acrylic paint from craft smart, white acrylic paint from craft smart, Konad Special Nail Polish in Black, Casanova Is So Into Me from Sephora by OPI, and Banana split from Sephora.

I wanted the minions to be on the center nails and surrounded by bananas, so I started by painting the backdrop colors.  I figured that the blue I was going to use for their overalls would contrast nicely with the yellow of the bananas, so I painted my thumb and pinky with Zing.  Because I didn’t want to end up with too many layers of polish for the minions, I only painted half of my nail beds with Alpine Snow.  If you want to be super anal about painting the white background, you can use reinforcement stickers to create the curve of the minion heads, but I’m far too lazy to do that.  😛

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Painting the backdrop for the design with Zing and Alpine Snow.

Next I started painting the yellow minion heads onto the white backdrops.  Kevin is the tallest followed by Stuart and Bob, so I varied the placement of the heads accordingly, leaving room to paint their hair on later.

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Eggs about to hatch- Kevin will be on my middle finger with Stuart to his left and Bob to his right.

I wanted to allow time for the polish to dry, so I focused on doing the banana portion of the design next.  I have a cute plate from Cheeky with bananas on it, so that eliminated the need for me to have to paint them by hand.

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Cheeky Jumbo Plate 7.

What I liked about using this plate is how I still had the ability to color in the design using the reverse stamping technique.

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Stamping with black Konad polish and a Konad stamper.

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Coloring in the peeled bananas with Alpine Snow and a dotting tool.

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Coloring in the rest of the design with Banana split. How appropriate.

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The transfer of the stamped pattern is complete!

I repeated this process for my pinky and applied topcoat to the stamped nails before going back to the minion portion of the design.

Because I was going to use googly eyes, I wanted to paint the silver outline of the goggles first.  In retrospect, I could have glued the eyes on first and then painted the silver outline around the eyes, but I wanted to avoid having the clean nail polish off my detail brush.  Have you ever done that before?  It’s kind of a pain.  Plus in the past I’ve had the eyes pop off randomly leaving the design looking a bit creepy, so I figured it would look less creepy if they had silver lenses on their goggles rather than empty yellow sockets [very creepy!].  The other reason for not adding the outline afterward was because I didn’t want to apply topcoat over the wiggle eyes.  I used Need for Speed with a large dotting tool and approximated how big the goggles had to be for an outline to show up around the wiggle eyes.

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Starting to paint goggles to make creepy looking alien minions.

Next I used black acrylic paint with a very fine nail art detail brush to paint hair and the goggle straps.

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Painting the hair and goggle straps.

The fun part was trying to decide what their expressions would be.  The easiest one to paint was the smile, which I gave to Stuart, who is the cool minion.  I gave Kevin an open mouth to express awe at the bananas in his midst.  I felt that Bob was the silly one, so I wanted to have him sticking out his tongue blowing a raspberry.

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The bases for the facial expressions.

The tongue obviously didn’t look like a tongue in that state, so I had to paint on some detail, and to keep Kevin’s mouth from looking like a nose, I painted in some teeth.  At this point, I had only enough room to draw a sliver of their overalls onto the tips of my nails.  I wish I had longer nails so I could make them look more like the movie characters, but c’est la vie!

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Almost complete!

I applied topcoat to the minion nails and then used Kiss Nail Art Glue to apply the wiggle eyes for the finishing touch.

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Minion nail art!

I love how cute this design turned out!  The googly eyes give them so much character and have been quite the source of amusement for me.  The only thing I regret is not being able to choose different colors for Bob’s eyes, but I’m sure a lot of people don’t mind that that detail is missing.

And in case you’re wondering, the new movie is super cute and entertaining!  😉

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Double the minions, double the fun! I kind of cheated on my right hand by making them all have smiles, but as is always the case, I tend to rush more through my right hand because I tend to photograph only the left hand. 😉

Qgirl-008 Stamping Plate Review

You’ve seen me use plate Qgirl-008 for my triangle gradient nails and for my summery floral nails, so this plate has some versatility!

I ordered this from Born Pretty Store.  Shipping was free and took about 13 days to arrive.  The plate was protected by the standard blue film that is over most stamping plates and also placed inside a vellum envelope as shown below.

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Qgirl -008 fresh out of the envelope.

What’s also nice about these plates is the cute paper backing on the unetched side to help prevent yourself from getting cut by any sharp metal edges.

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Safety first! The Qgirl-008 plate has a paper backing to protect you from getting cut.

Before doing any sort of stamping with this plate, you must remove the blue film first.

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Flowers and triangles! A clean shot of Qgirl-008.

I love the patterns on this plate because they are both understated and can be used for two totally different manicures or simultaneously, if desired.  The floral pattern is what attracted me the most because of the different sized gradient of the flowers across 3/4 of the plate and the fact that they are a continuous design that isn’t separated into rectangular sections like with most brands.  This allows you to use this with big stampers and stamp the pattern onto longer/wider nails.

The triangles are cute and playful and make up a little less than 1/4 of the plate, but I thought that Qgirl could have used some more different sized triangles in the design to add more interest to the pattern.  There are only 2 bigger sized triangles, and they have to be stamped separately if they are to be used in a design.

I also find it hilarious that you could in theory stamp “Qgirl-008” onto your nails if desired.  Perhaps they could have used the space to fit in some more triangles.  At the very least, the logo could have been placed in the flower pattern instead of the triangle quadrant- there is definitely no shortage of flowers on this plate!

The etching of the plate looks good on the surface, but the pattern isn’t engraved as deeply as my plates from Cheeky or Konad.  I had a few issues trying to pick up the nail polish from the plate for both my triangle mani and my floral mani, as is evidenced by the consistency of the stamping in both cases.

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Some triangles are fine, some are faded. The ones on my ring finger are hand painted.

Notice that the triangles on my index finger aren’t as clear as the ones on my middle finger, and I guarantee that I tried several times to get the pattern to pick up as much as possible and cleaned the plate with acetone after each try.  I found that if I very gently scraped the polish off the plate so that it almost looked like there was a light film of polish left over, the pattern would pick up better than if I scraped it off quickly.  The downside was that if there was too much film left over, the film of polish also got picked up by the stamper.  It was a little hard trying to find the right balance of pressure to get the triangles right.

When I did the floral mani, I had the same problems trying to pick up the polish and again had to try several times to get the pattern to pick up correctly.  Below you can see one of the more successful attempts, but the polish didn’t pick up evenly across the surface.  Thankfully I have small nails, so I can stamp with whatever part of the design turned out the best on the stamper.

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It’s nice to have a full plate image, but it’s a shame if the polish doesn’t pick up the image evenly.

Overall, I love how cute this plate is, but I have to take away a diamond because the etching could have been a little deeper to help with the consistency of how a stamper picks up the image.  However, if you’re patient with experimenting with how you scrape the polish off the plate, you’ll get a lot of enjoyment and use out of this plate.

Diamond rating: ♦♦♦♦◊ (4/5)

If you are interested in purchasing Qgirl-008 (retail price is $2.99 USD), the link for the item is shown below.  Using code RSSPX31 will get you 10% off your order, and Born Pretty Store offers free worldwide shipping.  Happy stamping!

http://www.bornprettystore.com/triangle-floral-pattern-nail-stamp-template-image-plate-pattern-qgirl-p-19340.html

http://www.bornprettystore.com/

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Stamper/Scraper Set Review

I’ve always had a love-hate relationship with stamping systems.  The patterns on plates look awesome and are an easy way to get intricate looking nail art done quickly.  However, if the plates are not properly etched, the images will look less than stunning, and you can encounter problems with the stamper not picking up the polish correctly, therefore forcing you to redo the same image a few times before you can even apply it to your nail.

I own 3 different stampers right now and numerous plates.  My first and most used stamper is the original one made by Konad.  I picked up my first large squishy silicone stamper from Amazon about a year ago, which worked OK at first but then started giving me issues picking up images cleanly.  Recently I acquired a stamper and scraper set from Born Pretty Store in the hopes of trying out another squishy stamper, so that is the one I’m going to review today.

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My 3 stampers.

Born Pretty Store is located overseas, so it took about 16 days for their products to ship to NYC.  It arrived in a padded envelope and was enclosed in a little Ziploc bag as shown below.

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Fresh out of the padded envelope.

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Stamper and metal scraper set from Born Pretty Store.

The silicone head measures 5/8 of an inch wide by 1 inch long, which is large enough to pick up jumbo sized rectangular images from popular plate brands.  The scraper has a metal blade, which I’m not fond of because it has the capability of scratching your image plates, but it works fine.  I still prefer using an old gift card as a scraper, especially because it can be a bit hard to clean excess nail polish off from where the metal blade connects to the plastic holder.

In terms of the firmness/squishiness of the stamper, it falls somewhat between the Konad stamper and the other squishy stamper.  Konad is pretty firm when you push it whereas the other two are softer.  Below, you can see the difference in softness between the two squishier stampers.  The head on the circular stamper is also stickier in feeling compared to the rectangular one.

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Using the BM-205 plate from Bundle Monster and Konad Special Nail Polish in Red, I did a test to see how the stamper would perform right out of the package.

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No priming done to the stamper.

It’s not horrible, but here’s how it stacked up to my Konad stamper and the other squishy model.

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Same image using a Konad stamper. Firm heads make for crisp images.

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Using another squishy stamper. The squishier the stamper, the more the image tends to distort.

I tried priming the head by using a 180 grit nail file and lightly sanding the shine off the stamping surface.

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Filing off the shine from the surface. Notice that the side of the stamper head looks shiny compared to the overall velvety appearance of the stamping area.

After cleaning the dust off with some tape, I tried transferring the image a second time.

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After priming the first time.

More of the image showed up, but it still didn’t look as crisp as the one on the Konad stamper.  It should be noted that I only primed the Konad stamper one time awhile ago.

I considered the actual technique of how I was getting the polish off the plate: rolling the stamper from one side of the image across to the other.  What would happen if I simply just pushed the stamper straight down onto the image?

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Pushing the stamper directly onto the image instead of rolling it across the plate does not work very well.

As you can see, the results were less than satisfactory.  I went ahead and tried priming the head a few more times with tests in between.  This is what it looked like after filing the head for a 5th time.

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After repeating the priming process 5 times.

The image definitely looks clearer, although it still does not look as consistent as the one transferred with the Konad stamper.

At this point, I wondered if it was the plate that had issues rather than the stamper.  I decided to switch it up and use Jumbo Plate 3 from Cheeky and BMC Nail Lacquer in Crimson Red.

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Perfectly transferred image.

Finally, a perfect transfer!  You can also see that there is plenty of room to fit the jumbo image of the plate onto the stamper.

Overall, I’m not sure that I would replace my Konad stamper with this one.  I do find that it is easier to line up images with your nail because the stamper is rectangular, so it would be great to use this when things need to look precise or oriented in the same direction.  The larger surface area also makes it easy to transfer complete images onto longer or wider nail beds.  This also has the perfect balance between firmness and squishiness which I liked more compared to the other two stampers because it makes it easier to pick up the design from the plate without compromising the crispness of the image.  I also like that the head is white, making it easy to see pretty much any stamping color (other than white) clearly.  However, it takes a lot of priming to get a good transfer, and it did not pick up images consistently across different brands of plates.

Diamond rating: ♦♦♦♦◊ (4/5)

If you are interested in purchasing this stamper and scraper set (retail price is $3.84 USD), the link for the item is shown below.  Using code RSSPX31 will get you 10% off your order, and Born Pretty Store offers free worldwide shipping.  Happy stamping!

http://www.bornprettystore.com/2pcsset-newly-practical-black-stamping-nail-stamper-scraper-p-17682.html

http://www.bornprettystore.com/

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