Grape Manicure

Hello! Sorry to have been MIA again, but I was depressed about my peeling, brittle, breaking nails. In my haste to remove some of my last few manicures, I’ve been using 100% acetone, which really wreaks havoc on natural nails, so I needed a bit of a break. I ended up repairing a broken nail with some acrylic powder, which accounts for some of the lumpiness in the manicure you’re about to see because I didn’t apply it to the whole nail and apparently didn’t file it down very well, either. Oops. But hence the inspiration for my [sour] grape manicure.

In my head I saw grapes on top of a terracotta tile like the decor you might find at Home Goods, so I opted for a buff neutral color (Alison from Julep) to go with the nails that would have grapes on them. The other nails got painted with one of the accent colors that I planned to use for my grapes: Purple with a Purpose from OPI.

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I love the shimmer in the purple polish from OPI, and the buff/peach colored nails have what Julep calls a “soft focus finish.”

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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!