Clown Nail Art

Let me start out by saying that I hate clowns, and I would never normally want to paint this subject, but I was playing in the orchestra for a production of Pagliacci by Ruggero Leoncavallo recently and was briefly obsessed with clowns because of the all the rehearsals and performances.  How could I resist the opportunity to face my fear?

I wanted to use primary colors for this design because they remind me of the circus.

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From left to right: craft smart Acrylic Paint in Black, Brigitte by Julep, and Sephora Nail Lacquer 5 day shine in Pole dance, Banana split, and Happy hour!

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I started with a white base color.

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Using different sized dotting tools, I applied dots of red, yellow, and blue nail polish which made my nails look like the packaging for Wonder Bread. I left the middle finger nail for the clown, and yes, that was for a reason. The nose was done with a large dotting tool, and I managed to use the brush from the bottle to swipe on a large red mouth for him.

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I painted eyes, eyebrows, and a mouth with a detail brush and black acrylic paint to finish off the look.

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My clown and my piccolo at rehearsal. The smiling face doesn’t really fit the opera if you know what the story is about, but I wasn’t about to paint him looking sad because clowns are already creepy to me.

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I think he goes best with a handful of confetti.

I could have painted more detail, but to be honest, I didn’t want to spend more time looking at him than I had to!  I had every intention of changing my polish soon after the opera, but things have been busier than anticipated, so my little friend has been tagging along for a week longer than originally planned.  Better tell him that the circus is moving out now!

Happy polishing!

Winter Sweater Snowflake Nails

I’ve never done an ugly sweater manicure before, so I figured it was about time that I fixed that situation.

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My color line up for this manicure consists of Konad Special Nail Polish in White, Sephora Nail Lacquer 5 Day Shine in Happy Hour!, Finger Paints Nail Color in Monet Money, and Nicole by OPI in Carrie’d Away.

I didn’t want to have to stamp every single nail, so I opted to do gold glitter for 2 nails and painted the other nails with Happy Hour!

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Sparkly gold glitter polish and royal blue nails make a nice combo.

I painted a thick stripe of Monet Money over the blue nails in the approximate width of a section of the snowflake design from the stamping plate I was planning to use.  I thought about making a nail decal, but doing the color blocking directly on my nail seemed like the faster route.

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Color blocking done with Monet Money by Finger Paints.

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Plate BPL-032 from Born Pretty Store. I used the pattern in the top row, 2nd image from the right.

Using Konad Special Nail Polish in White and BPL-032 from Born Pretty Store, I carefully lined up the snowflake pattern with the green color blocked section and stamped it onto my nail.

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The stamping isn’t perfect because the squishiness of my marshmallow stamper distorted some of the straight lines, but the pattern lined up nicely overall.

After adding some top coat, the look was done!  Guess the sweater was more cute than ugly in the end.  Happy polishing!

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Super Mario Brothers Power Up Nail Art

With me not working lately, I haven’t felt the need to cut my nails.  I’m a professional flutist and work with my hands a lot, so long nails get in the way of my speedy fingers.

Why I decided on the Super Mario theme for this week came as an afterthought.  Whenever my nails get on the long side, I try to think of doing some sort of French tip manicure because I’ll have the surface area to make it look nice.  This time, I thought to myself, “Oh, doing mushroom tips and an invincible star as an accent nail would be cute, and it will be easy to do.”  Famous last words.

The first step was to gather my colors together.  These are the ones that ended up in the mani:

Sephora by OPI- Give Peach A Chance (How perfect is that name for this mani?!)
Sephora Nail Lacquer 5 Day Shine- Happy hour!
Sephora Nail Lacquer 5 Day Shine- Banana split
Nicka K- NY 139
Essie- Pretty Edgy
Sephora by OPI- White Hot
Acrylic paint

I started out by painting what turned out to be 3 coats of Give Peach a Chance on all my nails except the ring fingers, on which I painted 2 coats of Banana split.  The intention was to later paint Happy hour! onto Banana split to outline the star because it’s always easier to paint a darker color over a lighter color.

Next came the French tip portion.  I originally set out to do only the topmost parts of the my nails with NY 139 and Pretty Edgy in the manner of a regular French manicure.  I wasn’t planning to paint the eyes on the mushroom nails but rather  wanted to just give the impression of having the mushroom heads there.  But then I put the tips on and realized how awful they looked with so much of the peach color on the nail bed.  FAIL.

At this point, I decide to make the peach part more of a half-moon to get the ratio looking right, and it occurs to me that I can maybe cheat with this step and use reinforcement stickers as templates rather than have to paint the curve manually.  But for this, I’ll need to let the peach polish dry.  So let’s try doing the star…

I took a flat brush and started painting the blue color over the yellow one.  Oh, no, no, no…  The blue didn’t have enough coverage in one coat to look good, and because I suck at painting star outlines, the whole thing looked like a streaky mess beyond repair.  FAIL.  A few swipes of acetone over the accent nail, and it was good to start over again, this time with Happy hour! as the base.  I figured that maybe if I painted some of the yellow polish onto a plastic bag, I could let it dry and then punch out the star shape with a craft punch.  Clever, right?  So while that was drying, I went back to the mushrooms…

I have a love/hate relationship with using pre-cut stickers/tape as stencils because I don’t have the patience to let everything dry to the extent that it needs to be dry to not damage the base coat of polish.  I tested my right hand with the reinforcement stickers first because I almost always end up photographing my left hand for my Instagram and Tumblr feeds.

The stickers took a tiny bit of polish off in almost every case.  FAIL.  I was so happy I didn’t at least mess up my left hand!  I managed to patch up the weird looking spots and then manually drew in the colored tips on my left hand.

At this point, I tried checking my yellow polish to see if it was dry yet…  Nope.  So onto the eyes of my mushrooms.

I used my smallest dotting tool to put the eyes on with black acrylic paint.  If you happen to see modern images of the power up, you’ll notice that it has white dots at the top:

Mushroom Power Up

I tried to paint white dots at the top to replicate the look, but it didn’t look right.  Then I realized that the eyes have a gradient effect, so I tried to add gray underneath the white…  at which point it looked like a hot mess.  FAIL.  I ended up painting the eyes with black again.  Thankfully it covered up all the other atrocities!

At this point, I realized that the yellow polish for my star was never going to dry in time for this manicure.  I have little patience when it comes to drying time!  I took some yellow acrylic paint and painted the star by hand with a tiny brush.

While that dried, I had to go back to add the white dots on the mushroom heads.  Silly me tried to use a dotting tool with white polish at first, but I pushed too hard, and the white looked like a mess combined with the green polish underneath it.  FAIL.  So my trick: paint the light colors with acrylic paint and a brush, then paint over the acrylic paint with the color of polish that you like so that the texture evens out.  It’s twice the work, but it looks much nicer in the end.  I did this with all the spots and the star, at which point the only thing I had to do was apply a topcoat.  And voilà!

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Finally done!  With only 5 fails!

But then I ended up smudging my 1-up guy with a bra hook.  😦

GAME OVER