Balloons in the Sky Nail Art

Leave it to my precocious 9-year-old student to keep me on my toes with nail art ideas.  This time she wanted me to do balloons.  I envisioned a bouquet of them floating up into a sky with puffy clouds, kind of like in the movie Up (although I’ve never seen it).  I’m pretty sure this was not what she had in mind, but my muse doesn’t always cooperate!

The first step was to choose a nice sky blue.  I loved Destiny from Formula X for its pearlescent effect.  The color has subtle lavender and pink undertones that give it nice dimension.

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Destiny by Formula X.

After applying some top coat, I used Craft Smart acrylic paints to do the rest of the manicure.

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The clouds were simple to do. I painted a circle and added two more smaller [uneven] circles on each side of it to form each cloud. They kind of look like Princess Leia buns!

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The balloons weren’t too hard to do, either- they’re basically ovals in different colors that overlap each other. I used a thinned out striping brush to paint the strings and an ultra fine detail brush to paint in the little white highlight on the top right of each balloon. I added a little nub for a knot for the balloons at the bottom of the design.

The hardest part was really just having the patience to keep cleaning my brush in between each color balloon and making sure the paint was dry before moving on to the next color.

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Macro shot. My one complaint is that the balloon strings didn’t tie together at the exact center of my nail. Then again, I think I painted this at 1 in the morning!

It’s a very cheerful design that brings a smile to people’s faces.

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A friend noted that the clouds look somewhat 3D.  This is achieved in part by having the top coat applied before painting the clouds.  The clear layer in between means that they are literally floating over the base color.  Also, acrylic paint tends to have more texture due to its fast dry time, and my white is starting to get a little clumpy in the bottle if truth be told.  It worked in my favor for the clouds, but to counteract the thickness of the paint for the strings, I made sure that my brush was slightly damp with water before dipping it into the paint so that the lines would stay thin.

You better believe that my student loved the design in the end.  She thought I had either used stickers and/or stamping, so she was totally amazed to hear that everything was hand painted.  *pats own back*

In terms of freehand nail art, this is definitely on the easier side of the spectrum, but the scale of the design is what makes it hard to get right.  Don’t hesitate to try it, and let me know if you do!

Happy polishing!

Review of Ya Qin An Y015 Plate

I’m always looking for good quality stamping plates because they make doing nail art so easy.  What attracted me to this plate was the dragon design (hello, Chinese New Year or Game of Thrones designs!) and the hibiscus flower pattern along with its inverted counterpart.

The packaging is nicer than most.  The plate comes shipped in a cardboard sheath, which provides a little extra protection so that it doesn’t get bent during the shipping process.  I’ve had plates arrive that were slightly warped because of being improperly handled by shipping carriers, so I appreciated the packaging even more.

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The plate comes in a cardboard envelope with a label sealing the open end.

The extra benefit to having a cardboard envelope for the plate is that they have room to write instructions for how to use it.  The instructions are in Chinese, but you can figure out what you’re supposed to do by looking at the illustrations.  However, chances are that if you purchased the plate, you already know how to use it.

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Instructions for use are pictured on the back of the package.

The plate itself is covered in the standard blue film that protects the design.  You must remove the film from the top of the design before using it.

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The plate comes sealed with blue film that needs to be removed before use.

The bottom side of the plate also has the same blue film on it.  I would recommend leaving the film intact for this side because it protects the plate, gives the surface a bit more traction so that it doesn’t slip around when you try to use it, and it minimizes the chance that you will cut yourself against the metal edges of the plate.

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The back of the plate is also covered in the same blue film as the front.

Without the film on the plate, you can see the beauty of the designs, which are well etched into the metal and form a complete continuous picture.  The quality of the etching is much like the kind you find on Konad plates.  It also helps that the lines of the design are fairly thick, so there is more of a channel for your nail polish to settle into.  This also makes cleaning the plate with acetone and a cotton ball a breeze.

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Plate Y015 by Ya Qin An

The only thing that irks me about the design is that on the top right corner of the plate, you can see that the center detail of one of the flowers was not etched.  You can avoid using that part of the plate and still come up with a beautiful manicure, but it’s a slightly annoying design flaw.

The first part of the plate that I tried to use was the inverse flower pattern on the left side of the image.  I used a black polish on the plate and stamped it onto a white background.  With so much empty space for the polish to fill on the plate, it’s hard to get an even consistency in the stamped pattern.  Although having the negative image of the flowers on the same plate is a cool concept, it’s a little pointless.  I could have stamped white polish onto a black background using the right side of the plate and achieved a cleaner looking result.

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A sample of the inverse flower pattern. I stamped black polish over a white base.

Next I tried using the flower pattern etched on the ride side of the plate.  You can see how crisp the lines transfer onto the stamper.  The thickness of the lines of the image also make this perfect to use for reverse stamping.

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The image transfers nicely from the plate to the stamper.

Here’s the finished manicure I did using this plate.

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A lovely colored in floral manicure using the reverse stamping technique.

I didn’t try out the dragon portion yet, but that part of the image is etched similarly to the flower pattern.  I definitely plan on using that part for something in the future, though.

Overall, this plate is beautiful, well etched, and will make you totally satisfied with your purchase.  I highly recommend it!

Diamond rating: ♦♦♦♦♦ (5/5)

If you are interested in purchasing this stamping plate (retail price is $3.99 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/dragon-flower-pattern-nail-stamp-template-image-plate-y015-p-20721.html

http://www.bornprettystore.com/

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