Minnie Mouse Themed French Manicure

Hello, lovelies! I’ve got a Disney themed manicure for you today inspired by Minnie Mouse. This is dedicated to my toddler niece Sarah, who isn’t even old enough to appreciate nail art yet, but she loves Minnie!

This design was also done in part to fulfill the French manicure requirement of a nail collaboration I participated in on Instagram, which required that the design be done freehand. Done and done!

My nails have been slightly discolored from different past manicures, so I first applied a sheer pink polish to my nails to make my nail beds look like they’re naturally healthy.

IMG_20170421_103641

This is one coat of Sally Hansen Advanced Hard as Nails in Pink Whisper Creme.

Next, I took a bright red color and painted the tips of my nails for a simple French manicure. Those with unsteady hands can use vinyl guides to keep the lines crisp. After allowing the polish to set a little, I dipped a striping brush into craft smart acrylic paint in black and drew a fine line between the tip with the nail bed. I planned to paint Minnie’s ears with her signature bow on my ring finger, so I outlined the top of her head and added more red polish in a bow tie shape for that nail.

IMG_20170421_115722

That gorgeous red is NY139 from Nicka K.

To finish up, I placed white polka dots on the red tips and the bow with b.m.c. nail lacquer in Angelic White and a dotting tool and outlined the bow and added the knot details with more black acrylic paint.

IMG_20170421_120455

A very French Minnie Mouse!

IMG_20170416_145241

Macro shot of the bow design for the collaboration.

My only grievance with this design is that my nails aren’t wide enough to really show Minnie’s ears. You can only see a hint of them along the sides of my nails, but it’s not very obvious because my nails also have a defined C curve. That’s why I can only call this inspired by Minnie Mouse.

IMG_20170415_211620

A look that Minnie would love to rock as well.

On a side note, this is probably the longest length that I have grown my nails, and I know they’re not even that long! I love the way they look, but it’s so uncomfortable for me to do normal activities like write and put in my contact lenses! Does anyone else feel this pain?

I’ll catch you guys again once I trim and file my nails. Happy polishing!

 

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.

img_20161124_001414.jpg

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.

img_20161124_135658.jpg

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.

img_20161126_212352.jpg

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.

img_20161124_034330.jpg

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!

img_20161124_041030.jpg

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.

img_20161124_035749.jpg

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.

img_20161124_034938.jpg

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!

Thanksgiving Day Turkey Nail Art

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

I’ve been seeing my friends post pictures of their kids’ (!!!) handprint turkey art online and thought the feathers would make for some nice nail art.  Problem is that I felt too lazy to paint, so guess what shortcut I took?

Stamping to the rescue!

All I needed to do was find a plate that had some kind of long petal design.  After scanning through my inventory, I came up with this:

img_20151126_030004.jpg

Plate BPL-002 from Born Pretty Store.

Looks like there is a whole mish mash of things going on, but what I think was some kind of flower/mushroom design turned into turkey feathers for this manicure!  I used the part of the design at the top of the plate just left of center.

But first, the color palette.

img_20151126_120356.jpg

From left to right: Masked Beauty by Finger Paints, NY139 by Nicka K, Mai Tai by Nailtini, Olivia by Julep, and noir black by b.m.c. nail lacquer.

I started by painting all my nails with Masked Beauty.

img_20151126_032102.jpg

Goldfingers!  A swatch of Masked Beauty by Finger Paints.

I used a marshmallow stamper and noir black to transfer the design from BPL-002 to each of my nails.  The squishiness of the stamper allows you to line up the design on your nail and push down directly onto the nail instead of having to roll the stamper from one side of your nail to the other.

img_20151126_032245.jpg

Gobble gobble!  Time to trim this turkey.

So a few things that maybe I should have done differently about this manicure.  One- I didn’t want the circles in between the feathers, so I should have erased these from the stamper before applying it to my nail.  I ended up removing them by lightly applying a cotton swab dipped in acetone to the parts of the design I wanted to erase.

Two- Coloring in a design always looks better with the reverse stamping method because you get more of a solid black outline around the design.  This particular image wasn’t too hard to color in, so I decided to wing it and see if I could do it directly on the nail after stamping.  It looked a little sloppy for my taste, but I think it saved me time from having to make 10 separate decals for my nails.

img_20151126_014351.jpg

Shake your tailfeather!  Turkey nails served up in time for Thanksgiving.

Just wanted to also note that the coloring in was done with a dotting tool because the sections were large enough to do so.  This made cleaning up between colors a breeze- all I had to do was wipe the metal end on a napkin, and I was ready for the next color.

Hope you all get your fill of turkey today and score some excellent deals for Black Friday!  Happy Thanksgiving, and happy polishing!

Back to School: Crayon Nail Art

It’s almost time for kids and teachers to go back to school (at least in NYC- I know some people are already back), so I wanted to do some fun nail art to celebrate mark the change of season.  School supply shopping was always one of my favorite activities, and trying to convince my parents to get me the biggest box of crayons was high on the list.  I’ll settle for mostly primary colors for this mani, though.  😉

First off, the color selection:

wpid-img_20150828_225121.jpg

My mini rainbow, left to right: Sephora by OPI- What’s a Tire Jack?, Nicka K- NY139, Sephora Nail Lacquer 5 Day Shine- Banana split, Essie- Pretty Edgy, Formula X for Sephora- Omni, Formula X for Sephora- Haphazard.

I started off by painting each of my nails a different color.  I went in backwards rainbow order.  Don’t ask why- I think I had a sixth sense about something…

wpid-img_20150828_232754.jpg

Taste the rainbow!

The toughest part about this mani was having to do the squiggly line detail.  Trying to paint over black polish with a lighter color would be near impossible, and I hate having to clean nail polish off my nail art brushes.  My approach was to take black acrylic paint and draw around the squiggle so that the original base color showed through.

Step 1- Use a striping brush to paint the outline of the area where the squiggle will appear.

wpid-img_20150828_232836.jpg

Painting the outlines of the black section of the crayon wrapper will allow you to space your squiggles out more consistently in the next step.

For the next two steps, please refer to the photo below Step 3.

Step 2 (on green nail): Using a detail brush, paint in hills along one line. If you like more of a uniform look, put the highest peak of the hill in the center of your nail and then finish off the sides with an upward curve.

Step 3 (on yellow nail): repeat the process of painting hills along the other line to coincide with the opposing curve.

wpid-img_20150828_232916.jpg

The various stages of painting in the squiggle shape within the black lines.

For an easier mani, you can simply topcoat the result and say that you painted the bottom half of the crayon, but I like to go the distance.  😉

In order to make the wrapper look different from the actual crayon, I used matte top coat over the bottom half of my nails.

wpid-img_20150828_233011.jpg

Mattifying the squiggle section of the nail mimics the paper wrapper and gives the look more texture. I used a matte top coat from Sephora by OPI.

To draw the tip, I used a striping brush and black polish to first notch the beginning of the tapered section of the point.

wpid-img_20150828_233109.jpg

Adding notches to show the start of the tip of the crayon.

From there I painted in an angled section with the striper so that the tip of the crayon would be tapered.

wpid-img_20150828_233153.jpg

Crayon madness!

Add some topcoat to the top half of the nail, and you’re done!  It’s a very cute look and makes people nostalgic for their youth.  Now where did I put that coloring book?  😉

If you were wondering about that sixth sense that I mentioned before…  It’s because the purple color ended up being a lot darker than I thought it would be, so the black detail did not show up very well at all.  😦  I’m glad I didn’t have to photograph my thumb to get a good picture!  If you decide to recreate this, definitely choose lighter colors over darker ones.

Happy polishing!

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!

wpid-img_20150617_205734.jpg

Finally done!  With only 5 fails!

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

GAME OVER