Thanksgiving Cornucopia Nails

It’s funny how I yearn to paint more freehand designs these days.  I used to always favor simple nail art in interest of time, but now I don’t mind spending hours paying attention to details and shading.  With such high aspirations in mind, it only made sense that I try to paint a cornucopia in time for Thanksgiving.

I often have a hard time getting started with these projects, so I started off by painting my nails a nice gold color.

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Ambitious by Formula X is a matte metallic gold shade.

I figured that the lightest shade would be the best to use as a base color because anything darker would easily show up over it.

I picked out three more autumnal shades for the background of my design which I planned to smoosh together, and I chose a few extra polish colors which I used for the fruit in the cornucopia.

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Polishes used from left to right: Dusk by Formula X for Sephora, Caliente Coral by Sephora by OPI, Espresso Your Style by OPI, Legend by Formula X for Sephora, S’more Fun by China Glaze, and NY139 by Nicka K.

For the smoosh technique, I used a large stamper and dotted on my fall colors.  I used Ambitious, Dusk, Caliente Coral, and Espresso Your Style for the mix.

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Haphazard array of fall nail polish colors on my stamper head.

To achieve the smoosh look, I stamped the blend of colors directly onto my nails.  Continue to dot polish on the stamper and apply it to each nail until you are satisfied with the result.

It is recommended that you use a liquid latex peel off barrier around your nail beds for easier clean up because things can get messy during this process.  I still had to use cotton swabs dipped in acetone to clean up any excess polish on my skin.

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After clean up, a beautiful fall background is achieved.

What I love about the smoosh effect is how it almost looks like I painted leaves, but in reality it took hardly any effort!  I’m also just a little bit proud of my results because this was my first attempt at a smooshy nail design.  After doing nail art for four years now, it’s hard to believe that there are techniques that I still haven’t tried yet.

I applied top coat at this stage because I had to go out to dinner, so I continued with the painting of the cornucopia when I returned home.  I’m grateful that nothing got smudged or chipped while I was out!

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The cornucopia was done mostly with blends of craft smart acrylic paint with a detail brush. The bodies of the apples and grapes were made with some nail polish applied with a dotting tool, and selected grapes were outlined with acrylic paint so that they didn’t look like a blob of color.

I probably should have sketched out my design prior to painting it because it would have made arranging my pumpkins and fruit easier to do, and it would have saved some paint as I opted to paint whole items in the background first so I could paint the foreground items on top of them without having to worry about placement right away.

In the end, I think I spent about 3 hours painting all the cornucopia elements.  I had wanted to make it look more bountiful, but I got lazy and figured that I got my point across at this stage so I wrapped it up.

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So thankful that I finished the design without any horrible mishaps!

This design holds the record for the most time I have spent painting my nails.  Not sure if that’s a good thing or a bad thing, but it was definitely one of my most intricate hand painted works.

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I didn’t have the energy to paint corn, so I’m holding it in my hand instead. Candy corn counts, right?

I didn’t mind putting the effort into painting this, but I’m sad that I didn’t use a peel off base coat first so I could save my work of art in the end.  I guess I’ll have to live vicariously through my photos!  The saving grace is that I don’t have to worry about random nails losing their polish during my daily activities!

Hope you all had a lovely Thanksgiving!  Happy polishing!

Squirrel Themed Nail Art

Anyone who knows me also knows that I love squirrels!  I might even be considered something of a squirrel whisperer.  Here’s a video of me interacting with a very tame squirrel at the park a few years ago.

And here’s another one of me getting the opportunity to pet this wild squirrel!

But whether or not you have a fondness for squirrels, these cute little furry rodents also happen to be quintessentially associated with fall, the time when you can see them gathering and burying nuts all over the place.  Squirrel themed nail art has been a long time coming for me, but I’m glad that I waited until my skills improved some more so that I could do the animal some justice.

Let’s start with the nail polish palette:

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Left to right: I’ll Take the Cake! by OPI, I Think I Cayenne by Sephora by OPI, Espresso Your Style! by OPI, and Rich Gold by Sephora + Pantone Universe Jewel Dust Nail Lacquer.

For the acorns and the squirrel, I used acrylic paint by craft smart.

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Acrylic paint by craft smart in Black, Dark Grey, White, Golden Brown, and Brown.

I almost never use sheer polishes, but I wanted a neutral looking background for everything.  I’ll Take the Cake! has a nice shimmer to it while providing a hint of color to smooth things out.

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You can get a gorgeous nude shimmery mani from I’ll Take the Cake! by OPI.

I planned to paint a squirrel head on my ring finger, but I wanted a fall colored gradient on the tips of my other nails.  Using a sponge, I applied one color at a time.

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In order for the acorns to show up clearly, I had to start with my darkest color first. This rich brown is Espresso Your Style! from OPI.

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I continued to sponge on I Think I Cayenne from Sephora by OPI, a beautiful russet color, over the dark brown.

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The last layer of the gradient was Rich Gold from Sephora + Pantone Universe. The glitter is holographic when it catches the light, so the picture really doesn’t do it justice.

The gradient on its own makes for a lovely fall manicure, as it looks like piles of autumn leaves swirling in the wind.  I was tempted to leave it alone, but I wanted my squirrel to have some nuts!

The rest of this manicure was done with acrylic paint so I could clean my brushes easily.

The acorns were pretty simple to do.  I used Brown to create the bottom half of the acorn, swiped Golden Brown across the top and added a stem to the hat of the nut, lightly applied a cross hatch pattern across the top with Brown, and finished by outlining the major sections of the image with Black.

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How to paint an acorn.

I couldn’t afford to take so many pictures while painting the squirrel because I was blending colors together to get different shades and had limited time to use the paint before it dried.  To get the general shape, I painted an outline of the head with Dark Grey and tweaked the shading from there.

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Looks like an locked item from a video game! The squirrel is but a shade of itself.

Blend different amounts of brown and grey, brown and black, and white and grey to get the shading right on the face and ears.  I outlined the head with a combination of grey and black to give my guy a softer look.

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I get super happy whenever I see that cute face on my nail!

Operation Squirrel Manicure accomplished!  Hope you have all your nuts gathered and accounted for over the upcoming holidays!  Happy polishing!