Neon Metallic Floral Print Nails

Happy Mother’s Day! I’m bringing some bright neon floral nails for Mom with this manicure so let’s get started!

I’ve been using a lot of foil lately, so I wanted to try my hand at combining foils with stamping, something that I’ve only done one other time. I picked this pretty shimmery magenta one from a batch I bought from eBay a long time ago, and then I picked colors for my manicure to go along with it.

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This foil comes in a long piece that is placed in a small canister for storage. We’re definitely not using this much for the manicure!

For the stamping, I chose the rose design from the top row, 2nd from the right from the Valentine’s Day BP-L001 plate from Born Pretty Store.

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To make the decals, I applied some HK Girl Top Coat from Glisten & Glow in rectangular sections on top of the silicone Lotus Mat from Bundle Monster and allowed it to dry completely. I then used Born Pretty Stamping Nail Polish in Purple to transfer the image from the plate to the patch of dried top coat and quickly rubbed the foil over the stamped area. If you are not quick enough, the foil will not stick to the image, and you will have to try it again. This is definitely not an easy process, and you can see that my bottom two tries were more successful than the top two tries. Practice makes perfect!

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When the foil transfers perfectly, the image really shines!

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Mardi Gras Nails

This week is full of holidays, so here is some Mardi Gras nail art to get the good times rolling!

I planned to do a rather intricate design, so I didn’t go for a solid shade across all my nails. I decided to use a golden shimmery yellow (Nadia from Julep) alongside a glossy black (Johnny from Julep) for my base colors.

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I first did a preliminary sketch of my mask with pencil and paper to give me the confidence to paint it across two of my nails. The sketch looked way better, but I also was painting this design late at night and was getting increasingly more worried that I wasn’t going to get enough sleep because I knew this wasn’t going to be as easy as I thought!

In any case, I used craft smart acrylic paint in black to paint the mask, then used a striping brush with gold holographic polish (Heart of Gold from Born Pretty) to paint diagonal lines across the mask to form a diamond harlequin style pattern.

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Dried Flower and Damask Print Nails

I’m bringing you some more flower nail art to brighten your day today!

Again, I’m featuring some dried flowers from Born Pretty Store. Stay tuned for a review on these flowers coming soon to the blog!

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This time I used the little lavender blooms from the far left. Some prep work is needed before starting to paint.

I gently pulled the petals from the husks and trimmed down the brown parts with a small pair of scissors before setting the blooms aside. Be very careful that the area is not drafty because the petals can blow away very easily!

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Dried flowers can be messy, so work over a piece of paper for easy clean up.

For the nails, I started by painted everything with a shimmery lavender polish called The Color to Watch from OPI.

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This polish is a little sheer, so it takes 3 coats to get the look in the photo.

I wanted to add some stamping to my nails, so I picked some pretty prints from the L026 plate from Harunouta to do the job.

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I chose to stamp with the 2 square designs in the top and middle rows, 2nd column from the right.

I alternated my chosen patterns on each nail, turning the stamper 45 degrees for a diagonal placement to change the look. That pretty lavender lacquer is Born Pretty Stamping Nail Polish #271.

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A very subtle and classy damask print design will complement the flower petals that are added next.

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National Doughnut Day Nails

National Doughnut Day was on June 2 this year, and I totally missed it! I love a good doughnut and wanted to show my appreciation, so I came up with these delectable nails to celebrate in my own way.

I cheated by using a stamping plate to make the doughnuts, although in retrospect this would have been a lot faster doing the design by hand! So do be warned, if you try this at home, it will take a few hours to complete all the steps for all 10 nails.

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The Cake BPX-23 from Born Pretty Store has lots of yummy looking images on it.

Because the plate did not have a full size doughnut image, I decided to make my own out of the image in the 3rd row, 2nd from the right. I used the Lotus Mat from Bundle Monster to make the decals, but you can use a plastic sandwich bag or something similar in lieu of a silicone mat instead.

Start by applying thick swatches of top coat to your mat that are big enough to cover each of your nails and allow them to dry completely. I used HK Girl top coat from Glisten & Glow for this step.

Next, take a dark brown polish (Olivia from Julep) and stamp the doughnut image multiple times onto each dried swatch of top coat. Stamp as many or as little times as you like, but try to think of how you want the placement of the design to look on your nail.

Now the fun part: adult coloring time! Pick a color you would like your doughnut base to be (a light brown like Vera from Julep works well) and a color for your frosting on top. Because it was taking forever to make these decals, I stuck with a strawberry pink for all my donuts (Carnival Cotton Candy from Nicole by OPI), but you can come up with whatever flavors you like- vanilla, chocolate, blueberry, grape… you get the picture. Try to stay within the lines, although your patience might get the better of you. Using a dotting tool or a small brush can help fill in all the details.

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Time to make the doughnuts! Decals are just as time consuming to make.

Allow the decals to dry completely, but in the meantime you can apply a base color to your nails. I chose a nice blue for my background that contrasted nicely with the pink frosting on the doughnuts.

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For Audrey from China Glaze channels the iconic blue Tiffany’s box.

Allow your base color to dry before you attempt to apply your decals. Gently peel a decal from the mat, trim it to the approximate size of your nail, apply top coat to the back of the decal to allow it to become pliable again, then place it onto your nail in the position that you would like it to go. Do this to all your nails, trimming away any excess, and finish by cleaning up around your nails with a brush or cotton swab dipped into acetone. Apply an additional layer of top coat to bring back the shine and further seal the decal into place.

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The finished doughnut nails!

These nails channel one of my favorite moments from The Simpsons during a Treehouse of Horror episode where Homer finds himself in an alternate reality. D’oh!

Hope you had the chance to enjoy a nice doughnut to celebrate the holiday! Happy polishing!

 

80s Equalizer Nail Art

Today I’m stepping out of my comfort zone and trying a different technique with something I’ve never been great at using: nail foil. Anyone who has experience with it knows that it can be temperamental to use, and even when you get the application right, the wrong top coat can ruin the whole thing and make it look as if it was never there. Yet here I am testing my patience with this material. Off we go!

To start, I painted all my nails black.

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This is stamping polish from b.m.c. nail lacquer in noir black. Not sure why it looks textured though- it might be the pigments.

To make the decals, you will need a plastic bag or a silicone mat. I used the Lotus Mat from Bundle Monster for mine. Start by applying swatches of top coat onto your chosen surface. The top coat will serve as the base of your decal. Wait for your top coat to fully dry before you proceed to the next step.

Next, choose a pattern that you want to stamp and transfer it to a swatch of top coat. You must act very quickly to apply a piece of nail foil over the stamped area so that the foil can adhere to the wet polish. Rub over the piece of foil with your finger, then lift the foil quickly, and you should be left with a cool foil embossed pattern.

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For this manicure, I used the pattern in the lower right hand corner of plate BP-L059 from Born Pretty.

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The stamping polish used was the same b.m.c. nail lacquer in noir black from my base color. I did this so that it would not look obvious if the foil did not transfer fully.

The foil was purchased in a large lot from an eBay seller, and there is no brand associated with it. You can see that the foil that I chose to use has a natural rainbow gradient effect, so it happens to match the levels that you would see on an equalizer. In case you don’t know what an equalizer looks like, here’s an example:

Very 80s techno chic.

At this point you can gently peel the decals off the mat and cut them to fit your nails. In order to hide some of the transfer imperfections, I also re-cut the levels of the bars. You can apply a cut decal by painting another layer of black polish or some top coat onto your nail and then gently press the decal onto the wet surface.

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You can see where I cut the levels of the bars for the decals, but they more or less stick to the base color. This look reminds me of Tetris.

Disclaimer: Because I didn’t like the finish of the b.m.c. nail lacquer as a base color, I applied the decals using What’s A Tire Jack? from Sephora by OPI.

It’s easy to say just apply top coat to seal in everything, but here’s where things can get tricky. I’ve heard that a water based top coat works best with foil, but I don’t have any. I also know that pretty much anything that is branded as “fast drying” will cause the foil to shrink and/or break up. If you don’t use a top coat at all, the foil will quickly rub off on its own. I took a chance by using my Ya Qin An top coat, seeing as it never smears nail art, and it worked pretty well. Thumbs up for Ya Qin An!

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Nail foil success! Too bad this took forever to do.

Fun fact: I’m holding a record that I actually played on! It was for a private project, but it’s still cool as a collector’s item.

In any case, I love how I conquered my fear of nail foil. That’s not to say that I don’t curse a lot when things don’t work out the right way, but at least I know that I have another technique that I can use. Maybe practice does make perfect!

Happy polishing!

Hibiscus Flower Manicure

Hello!  It’s time to fulfill another @glamnailschallenge prompt.  The theme for Feb. 5 is Red Flowers, so rather than do something with roses, I chose to feature the hibiscus flower.  I have fond memories of these big red blossoms growing all over my mom’s garden, and they were always her pride and joy (aside from me, haha).

I used plate BPL-024 from Born Pretty Store for the design.  Something tells me that I’m probably going to end up doing a lot of stamping this month to keep up with the challenge prompts.

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Plate BPL-024 from Born Pretty Store has all the flowers you could want. I used the image in the bottom row, 3rd from the right.

I planned to put the hibiscus flowers on only my middle two fingers, so I painted my other nails basic black to keep the focus on the flowers.  I went with a gold polish for the middle and ring fingers because that was the lightest shade out of the colors that I planned to use for the hibiscus decal.

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Goldfinger! The gold polish is called Charge It! from Sephora by OPI, and the black polish is What’s A Tire Jack? from Sephora by OPI.

Making decals is fun, although I really dread the application and clean up process.  I would have liked to simply reverse stamp it onto my nail, but I had to paint over pretty much the entire image, so it didn’t want to transfer in one piece as my botched right hand can testify!

The colors used are as follows:

Ya Qin An stamping nail polish in Black
Red: American as Apple Pie by Nicole by OPI
Gold: Charge It! by Sephora by OPI
Light Green: Tatum by Julep
Green: Little Butterfly by Cupcake Polish

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The making of a nail decal.

  1. I stamped the design with Ya Qin An Black stamping polish.
  2. (not pictured) I applied a layer of Ya Qin An top coat over the stamped image to prevent polish bleed and assist in making the removal of the decal easier.
  3. I used a dotting tool to apply the gold polish to the stamen of the flowers and used the brush from the bottle to apply the other different colors to the image.
  4. After letting the decal dry completely, I carefully removed it from the stamper with tweezers.
  5. I applied a layer of Glisten & Glow HK Girl Top Coat to a gold nail and placed the decal on my nail, smoothing out the surface.
  6. (not pictured) I used a cuticle pusher to cut away the excess decal from my nail and filed away the extra bit from the free edge.
  7. Repeat these steps to make additional decals for your nails.

After some additional clean up with acetone and swabs and brushes and a layer of Seche Vite top coat, I finally finished!

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Pretty, although it’s not 100% perfect.

I have to admit, decal transfer is still one of my weaker points, especially because my natural nails have some funky contours.  If anyone has any additional pointers, I’d love to hear them!

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Finished hibiscus manicure.

Incidentally, you might have noticed that I used three different top coats with the manicure rather than just one.  This is because I find that each top coat has certain strengths that I like to save it for.  For instance, the Ya Qin An top coat is the best thing since sliced bread for stamping.  It never smears the polish underneath it, no matter how many times you brush over the design.  Glisten & Glow’s HK Girl top coat is supposedly a blogger favorite, but I don’t like using it because it tends to smear colors easily.  However, because of this, it “melts” decals quickly so that they conform to the nail’s shape in no time.  Seche Vite top coat remains my #1 pick as a finishing gloss because it seals all the layers of polish underneath it, dries super quick, and has the best amount of shine.  I say mix and match for best results!

See you in a few days for the next prompt.  Happy polishing!

 

 

Holographic Bubble Nail Art

I’ve still been feeling rather lazy and uninspired, so I again turned to the @clairestelle8challenge to help me through the week.  The prompt for January 21 was Circles, and I could have easily turned to my stamping plate collection, but I decided to challenge myself a little bit and try my hand at painting bubbles.

I started by applying a pearly white base color to all my nails.

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Of Quartz You Can by Finger Paints.

I came up with a rather clever trick to make bubble decals on a silicone mat.  The mat is from Bundle Monster, and I used Glisten & Glow’s HK Girl top coat to form the base of the nail decal.  I brushed an unused pencil eraser lightly with holographic polish and stamped it onto the dried top coat on the mat.  I repeated this technique many times and also with 2-3 different polishes applied to the same circular stamped area in order to get the mix of colors that you would typically see in a soap bubble.

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Rainbow colored holographic bubbles on my silicone mat. The polishes used include Pink Holo, Green Holo, and Purple Holo from UO Nail Lacquer and Tali from Julep.

To use the decals, I carefully peeled the layer of polish from my mat and cut around the bubble(s) that I wished to use.  After painting my nail with a layer of Seche Vite top coat, I immediately placed the decal where I wanted it and allowed it to set.

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Nebulous orb shapes. They already looked like bubbles, but they needed a little more help.

Using a detail brush, I outlined each bubble with craft smart acrylic paint in dark grey.  I also added a little bit of dimension to the bubble by adding a white highlight to the top right and bottom left side of each circle.  The dark grey paint contrasted too much with the design, so I ended up tracing the outlines again with Silver Holo from UO Nail Lacquer to make them blend more with the colors in the bubbles.

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Finishing touches.

After another layer of top coat over everything, my design was done.

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Soap bubble nail art. Just wish I had a thinner detail brush for the outlines.

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To be honest, they didn’t come out exactly as planned.  Holographic polish tends to be pretty opaque with even just a thin layer applied so my bubbles didn’t look as ethereal and transparent as I wanted them to be.  Also, the pencil eraser technique worked great, but it didn’t allow for any variation in size unless I purposefully wanted to carve down an eraser.  It still came out kind of cool, at least in concept.

Hopefully I get my inspiration back soon!  Happy polishing!