Victorian Love Letter Manicure

February 15 was a vintage love letter theme for the @glamnailschallenge prompt.  I have to say, using peel off base coat is making it a lot easier to get myself to paint more because I keep losing nail polish off my fingers by accident, making it necessary to change my manicure!  Good thing that these prompts are so fun to fulfill.

The first step was to choose a nice base color.  I toyed with the idea of staining some tan polish with alcohol ink to create that old paper look, but I didn’t have that much time to paint my nails.  I found this beautiful crelly from Pretty & Polished in my collection that reminded me of pretty speckled stationery, so I went with it.

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This color from Pretty & Polished is appropriately named Antique.

I envisioned script overlaid with roses, but after digging through my extensive stamping plate collection, I couldn’t find anything that looked like what I wanted.  I made the gut wrenching decision to attempt painting the words myself.  Mind you, I have never felt comfortable with writing words on my nails because painting with a brush really doesn’t work the same way that a pen does.  I probably could have used a fine tipped Sharpie to do this, but I opted for the harder route and used acrylic paint with a fine brush and winged it.  A challenge for the challenge!

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In retrospect, a little planning would have gone a long way.  My first mistake was that I didn’t give myself enough time to do this manicure before having to leave for an appointment.  I actually had to apply topcoat after I took the upper right hand corner picture so that I could leave and come back to the details of the flowers later!  I took the most time with my index finger, which is why the text looks so much better and clearer than it does on the other fingers.  But unfortunately, acrylic paint dries quickly, and my mix of black and brown paint got thicker and thicker as I moved from nail to nail.  I guess I might need to get one of those fancy palettes that keep the paint moist.

I also felt like my text was too unevenly spaced, although perhaps that adds a more realistic charm to the look.  Ever try writing on an unlined piece of paper before?  I guess that makes my handwriting look more authentic.

My saving grace was being able to place the roses over the bits where I thought the penmanship looked too sloppy.  This was easily done with a few kinds of nail polish and some dotting tools.  The leaves are Monet Money from Finger Paints, and the different shades of pink are all colors from Nicole by OPI: (from darkest to lightest color) Berry the Hatchet, City-Pretty Rose, and Carnival Cotton Candy.

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The letter that I’m holding is a facsimile of one written by Eugene O’Neill to Beatrice Ashe on November 1, 1914.

The result turned out very pretty, and I’m sure that people will assume that I stamped the script when really I cursed a lot over the cursive writing!  While it’s not my best freehand work, I’m still satisfied with it.  I’ll just keep practicing my brushwork and see if I can do better the next time.

Happy polishing!

 

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!

Groundhog Day Nails

How many of you guys trust Punxsutawney Phil the Groundhog to predict the weather?  2016 is supposed to have an early spring, if the little fella is to be believed.  We’ve had a pretty warm winter overall, despite that blizzard from a few weeks ago, so maybe there is something to his prediction.

My idea was to paint a little groundhog and surround him with green grass on the tips of my nails.  I picked out a nice sky blue nail polish and a bunch of different greens for the grass.

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The grass is definitely pretty green on this side with an early spring predicted for this year! From left to right: Monet Money by Finger Paints, Hot Fun in the Summer-Lime by OPI, Havana Dreams by Sephora by OPI, Leonardo’s Lime by Finger Paints, and Garden Galaxy by Piggy Polish.

I started off by painting all my nails with Havana Dreams.

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Havana Dreams by Sephora by OPI.

The groundhog was my main concern, so I picked out some acrylic paint colors in a brown color scheme to paint him first.

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craft smart Acrylic Paint in Black, Brown, and Golden Brown.

I started off by painting the shape of the head with brown acrylic paint.  I didn’t paint in the body at this point because I thought I would have the head peeking out from behind the grass, but I changed my mind after I finished the details of the head.  I did some highlighting and contouring with a detail brush and different blends of brown, golden brown, and black to add some dimension to my guy.  I went for a cartoony look because that’s how I roll.

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Painting the groundhog.

The fun part was painting in the grass with a fan brush.  I’ve never tried using a fan brush for anything except dusting off pigments and glitters, so I was pleased with how easy it was to make the grass look artistic.

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Using one color at a time, the grass was painted on with a fan brush. Garden Galaxy (the glitter polish) was applied with the brush that came with the bottle as a finishing touch.

A little top coat made my groundhog shine, although I have to admit, he looks kind of tired of looking for his shadow.

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Looking forward to an early spring!

NYC is actually expecting some snow tomorrow, so go figure.  The tradition is all in good fun, though!  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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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.  🙂