St. Patrick’s Day Nails

I’m still recovering from St. Patrick’s Day, how about you?  Sorry for the late post, but you’ll have this tutorial ready for the next time you want to show some Irish pride!

It’s been awhile since I tried doing any kind of water marbling, and I felt like maybe I could make a nice cloverleaf pattern by using that technique.  I can’t stand the mess of cleaning up my nails with the tradition dunking method associated with water marbling, so I tried making decals this time around, which worked great.

I chose a nice assortment of green nail polishes for the marbling, and I threw in a glittery gold polish for good luck.

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Finger Paints Nail Color works exceptionally well for water marbling. From left to right: Masked Beauty, Monet Money, Peace, Love & Green, and Grassy Knoll.

To make the decals, I used a small plastic cap to hold the water and dropped in my colors one at a time.  Because my cap has a 1.5 inch diameter, it doesn’t take many rings to get the colors nicely packed.

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I work on a miniature scale. It takes only 12 drops of polish to get this bullseye to form.

I used a toothpick to bring the outside rings of the bullseye to a point in the middle.

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Not my most perfect water marble, but I repeated these steps a few times so I could pick and choose which decals looked the best.

I blew on the surface of the water to help the polish dry a little more before picking up the image with a large stamper.

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You can choose to stamp this directly onto your nails, but I set my stamper aside to allow the polish to dry to turn this into a nail decal.

After waiting a few minutes, the water marbled polish is ready to be peeled off the stamper head.  If it doesn’t lift easily, allow the polish to dry some more.  Having multiple stampers makes this process easy because as one decal is drying, you can make another water marble pattern to be picked up with a different stamper.

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After allowing the polish to dry, you should be able to peel off the layer. In this way, you can pick the best looking part of the pattern to use on your nail without making any mess.

I made several decals, although I only needed four of them in the end.

The process for the application is fairly easy.  I cut out the portion of the decal that I wanted to use and trimmed it to fit my nail.

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I do a rough cut of the decal before I trim it down to fit my nail.

I used White Hot by Sephora by OPI as a base color under the water marble.  I only used one coat of polish, and it doesn’t have to be opaque because the water marble will cover it up.  White helps the colors pop.

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One coat of White Hot by Sephora by OPI.

While the polish is still tacky, apply your decal and set it with clear top coat.

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I put the water marble design on my middle and ring fingers to form the shape of a cloverleaf.

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Extra supplies for part 2: White Hot by Sephora by OPI, Kiss Nail Art Paint in Black, and Recollections Signature Glitter in Emerald.

I really wanted sparkly green nails, but I don’t own a green glitter polish, so I made my own with the following steps.

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I painted my nail with Monet Money from Finger Paints.

While the polish was still wet, I poured on green glitter.  I used a fan brush to sweep away the excess.

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Emerald glitter made by Recollections.

I then took Sally Hansen Miracle Gel Top Coat and brushed on about 2-3 coats over the glitter so that it formed a smooth surface.  I wouldn’t have minded having some texture, but I wanted to paint belt buckles on top of the glitter.

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Sparkly emerald green nails!

To form the belt, I used the striping brush from Kiss Nail Art Paint in Black to make two parallel lines and filled in the section.

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My glitter just got black barred.

Using a detail brush and Masked Beauty, I painted a thin gold line above and below the black section and connected them to form the square buckle.

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Add some top coat, and you’re done!

It took awhile to finish this, but I love the results.

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Happy St. Patty’s Day!

May the luck of the Irish be with you!  Happy polishing!

Miami Sunset Palm Tree Nails

Can you feel the heat?  After trying out thermal polish from Born Pretty Store, I wanted to put some nail art over it that would match the pretty gradient that resulted from the polish.

The real star of the show was Born Pretty Color-change Polish in 100.  It turns yellow with heat, so my natural body temperature kept my nail beds a lemony hue while the tips turned a creamsicle orange tone due to the colder air temperature.

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The no-mess way to get an ombre effect: thermal polish in color 100 from Born Pretty.

I definitely wanted palm trees on my nails, but I was feeling a bit lazy about painting them, so I found an image of a single palm tree with an oasis on Cheeky Jumbo Plate 2.

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I chose to stamp with the image in the 4th row, 4th from the left.

The only issue was that I did not want to have the oasis in the image, so after I transferred the image to my stamper, I used Scotch tape to remove the extraneous parts of the design and left only the leaves of the palm tree behind.  The stamping was done with b.m.c. nail lacquer in noir black.  With only the leaves of the palm trees stamped on my fingers, I used Kiss Nail Art Paint in Black (used for the striping brush) to finish painting in the tree trunks.

Leave it to me to forget to take pictures of those steps in my effort to try to get some sleep at night.  It was really simple to do, so I’m sure you can imagine what they looked like!

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Easiest sunset manicure ever.

Of course, with a thermal polish, the colors change under water quite easily.

The looks are pretty endless with such a shifty polish, and it’s such cheap entertainment to watch it turn different colors.  If only all manicures were so interactive!

Happy polishing!  🙂

Stained Glass Suncatcher Manicure

I recently played for a small production of Puccini’s Suor Angelica, a lovely yet heartbreaking one act opera whose cast consists mostly of nuns.  Appropriate to the libretto, the performance took place inside a church, so my inspiration for the week were the stained glass windows there.

If I had more time, I would have hand painted the framework for the glass panels, but I was already going to be sleep deprived doing the stamping for this design.  The two plates I used for this manicure were BM-402 from Bundle Monster and BPL-005 from Born Pretty Store.

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BM-402 from Bundle Monster assisted me for one of the stained glass patterns. I used the design at the topmost position for two of my nails.

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BPL-005 from Born Pretty Store has an assortment of patterns, but I chose the one on the bottom row, 2nd from the left to put on my thumbnail.

The Infinite Ombré set from Formula X was perfect to color in the patterns because the gel tints have the ability to be layered over each other to create other colors.  Because I wanted to keep things as simple as possible, I chose to put stained glass patterns on 3 out of 5 nails on each hand and paint the other two nails black.

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Colors for this manicure include the following: Konad Special Nail Polish in Black, Platinum Prime by Formula X, Black lace by Sephora Nail Lacquer 5 Day Shine, Kiss Nail Art Paint in Black, and Formula X gel tint colors in Boundless Berry, Limitless Lemon, and Timeless Teal.

I planned to turn the design from plate BM-402 into a mirror image so that it would fill two nails, so I allotted space for this on my middle and ring fingers.

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Prepping the canvas with Black lace and Platinum Prime.

The idea was to make the circular part of the pattern from BM-402 look as if it were the sun casting out rays of light, so I stamped one nail with the circular part facing the nail that will picture the inversion of the same design.

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One part stamped, one more to go.

To make the mirror image, I couldn’t just turn the design upside down because there is a slight variance between the top and bottom halves of the pattern.  Instead, I chose to make a nail decal with a form of reverse stamping.  After stamping the image, I brushed clear coat over the design, waited for it to dry, and then I removed the dry polish from the stamper with tweezers and cut the piece down to the approximate size of my nail.

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Do it yourself nail decals are easy to make once you brush top coat over a stamped image. I used Seche Vite top coat for this and then cut the decal down to size.

The mirror image is the side of the decal that the topcoat was placed on, just in case this isn’t apparent.  I slightly confused myself when I was doing this as well.  Note that if you turn the decal over so that the side that was on the stamper is now facing up, you will end up with the same image as if you directly stamped onto your nail, so that would defeat the purpose of making a decal.

To apply the decal, simply apply clear topcoat over the desired nail and smooth the decal over the nail while it is still wet.

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The mirror image is complete.

All that remained was to color in the empty spaces with the Formula X gel tints.  I made things a little easier for myself by applying a little color theory so that I could layer colors with other colors to get different shades.  Yellow and red make orange and yellow and blue make green, so I was able to paint Limitless Lemon over quite a few areas before overlapping the yellow tint with Boundless Berry and Timeless Teal.  I used the brush from the bottle because I wanted to get things done faster, but you can opt to use a detail brush or dotting tool if you want more precision.

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A delightful suncatcher look made with gel tint colors from Formula X.

I still had a thumb to stamp and color.  Unfortunately, the images on BPL-005 are a bit on the small side compared to Born Pretty Store’s other plates, so it was tricky to get the placement right on the first try.  I used a marshmallow stamper so I could push it down completely over my nail, and I put a dot of black polish on the center of my thumb first so I could line up the dot from the center of the pattern with the dot on my thumb.

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A successfully centered stamped thumbnail which was not very easy to accomplish when the design on the plate was almost the same size as my nail. You can see the raised dot of polish I applied to the middle of the nail so I could position the stamper correctly over it.

I’ve griped about how my squishy head stamper doesn’t transfer images as nicely as my Konad stamper, so you can see that the entire design didn’t make it onto my thumbnail near my cuticle.  I fixed this with Kiss Nail Art Paint in Black.

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With a little help from a striping brush and black polish, you can’t tell that the image didn’t fully transfer the first time around.

After coloring in the sections with the same technique as before, the manicure is done!

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A stained glass inspired suncatcher manicure.

I guess this wasn’t the best choice for a quick manicure, but it looked pretty!  Now to finally get some rest…  I’ve still got rehearsals to attend, but I won’t have a performance until the beginning of next month.  In the meantime, happy polishing!

Variations on a Color Theme- Easy Nail Art

For the longest time I have wanted to do a mismatched pattern on my nails united by a color theme.  I’ve been wearing a lot of cool tones lately, so I went with a turquoise blue, silver, and white color scheme.  I tried to pick colors that had the same glittery/metallic finish, so after digging through my stash, I came up with these colors:

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Pretty silver, blue, and white polishes all in a row. Left to right: Finger Paints- Silver Bells, Sephora by OPI- Who Let the Dorks Out?, Sephora by OPI- Bright as a Feather, nails inc.- mayfair, Kiss Nail Art Paint- Silver Glitter.

Next, I tried to plan out what the base colors would be.  I definitely wanted Silver Bells to be on my ring finger, so I painted the two different shades of blue on each side of that and switched the shades up so that no two adjoining fingers had the same color on them.

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Truly basic “nail art” for beginners. Still a pretty look.

Next, I tried experimenting with some polka dots.  I used dotting tools to make dots of different sizes (a key point if you don’t want your nails to look like dominoes).  I decided to also color block my pinky and thumb nails to jazz things up a bit.  For the blocking, I used the brush from the bottle of polish to paint on the contrasting stripe, and then I used a striping brush (really, this is the only reason I used the Kiss Nail Art Paint color- so I wouldn’t have to clean a brush) to outline the color blocked sections.  Add some more polka dots, and you’re good to go!

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Variations on a color theme. I’m such a music geek. 😛

Incidentally, I didn’t want to put any nail art on my ring finger because Silver Bells by Finger Paints is one of the sparkliest glitter polishes I’ve ever used.  It really looks best without anything else on it in my opinion.  I definitely recommend it if you want some bling on your fingers!

The look reminds me of Easter eggs and Christmas ornaments, so I might try doing this again around the winter holidays.

Happy polishing!  🙂

Poolside Inspired Nail Art

After such intensive work on the Minions last week, I wanted to keep it simple.  Brainstorming summery things, I decided a pool would be good inspiration, so I dug through my nail foils and found this beauty:

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Nail foil purchased on eBay.  Doesn’t this remind you of how inviting a pool looks on a hot summer day?

I wanted to contrast it with a silvery gray color, but apparently I’m a bit color blind at night, the time when I usually paint my nails.  Using Racy from Formula X for Sephora, I painted all my nails with 1-2 coats and realized that the color was actually a metallic purple-gray color.  And me being too lazy to take it off and start again, I just went with it anyway.  Hey, I said poolside inspired, which is the catch phrase for not having to literally paint what I said I was going to do!  😉

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Racy by Formula X for Sephora.

Using an old nail polish brush and a solution made of 1/2 water and 1/2 ScraPerfect’s Best Glue Ever (highly recommended by Robin Moses on her blog), I painted half my nail on the diagonal with glue and let it dry clear before applying the foil.

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So shiny! Freshly applied foil.

To hide slight imperfections on the diagonal border of the foil, I added a stripe of Silver Glitter by Kiss Nail Art Paint.

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Nail art featuring Kiss Nail Art Paint in Silver Glitter.

For a finishing touch and no good reason other than the fact that I wanted to use them, I added a rhinestone to the center of each silver glitter stripe.  I didn’t use glue to adhere these because they are small (2 mm diameter) and because adding a topcoat over the rhinestones would help seal them in place.

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Pre-topcoat application. So shiny!

The final dilemma was figuring out if my topcoat would disintegrate the foil.  If you’ve used nail art foil before, you’ll know this problem quite well.  Seche Vite, which I swear by as the topcoat for practically all of my manicures, breaks up the foil and dulls its appearance.  This time I tried out Miracle Gel Topcoat by Sally Hansen, and it did a pretty good job of not destroying the foil.  If any of you have recommendations for good topcoats, I’d love to hear them in the comments!

Happy painting!

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With topcoat, the foil doesn’t look as lustrous, but at least I know it won’t rub off by the end of the day!

Hospital Gown Nail Art

I can’t really go into details about the car accident I was in, but let’s cut to the chase and say that I had to go to the ER as a result.  It was my first time having to go, and I guess it was about as pleasant as an ER visit could be.

After waiting an eternity to see a doctor, I was led to a private examination room, where I had to put on a hospital gown.

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ER hospital gown plaid realness

Classy, right?

After my friends found out about my trip to the ER, the inevitable question came: what nails would match my picture?  The aforementioned photo was actually one in which I let my hair hang down into my face very much looking like that girl from “The Grudge.”  I’ll spare you the visual on that one.  😉  I opted to do a mani that matched the gown rather than match the hair.  Haha

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I tried to match the colors as best as I could with what I have:

Julep- Shelly
Finger Paints- Emerald Expressionism
Finger Paints- Monet Money
Kiss Nail Art Paint- White
Julep- Nan

Using the picture of the gown as a guide, I painted the lines with a thin striping brush.  I didn’t do an exact replica of the plaid of the gown because I knew I wouldn’t have that much space on my nails.  So it may not be the hit mani of the season, but considering how uninspired that I have been lately, it was just what I needed.

Funny thing is that two people have told me that they were wearing the exact same gown when they gave birth to their kids.  I’m glad the design doesn’t have to have bad connotations linked to it.  🙂