Star Wars Nail Art

I’ve never considered myself to be a good painter, so I knew that I was going to be suffering to complete a Star Wars collaboration with my sweet and talented Instagram friend Bev @thehumblebear.  She was inspired by some R2D2 nails that I reposted from Star Wars Day 2015 and suggested that we paint a different character from Star Wars on each nail.  Lucky for me, I insisted that we only paint our left hand nails for this, and she agreed.

My goal was to try to make the characters look as simple as possible yet have them still be recognizable.  The Lego collection was great inspiration as well as the Funko Pop series.

As for which characters I wanted to do, it was a hard choice.  We were thinking of doing the same ones for a twin mani, but the more I searched for inspiration, the more I kept wanting to change it up.  I considered doing the Cantina band (too alien), Boba Fett (crowd favorite), a storm trooper (too cloned), Chewbacca (too furry!) and even joked with Bev about wanting to put Jar Jar in there, just because he was so hated.  What I settled on were the human characters Darth Vader, Han Solo, Leia Organa, and Luke Skywalker… and Yoda.  He was modeled on Albert Einstein, so close enough!

I had to use a ton of different polishes and acrylic paint for this one, most of which are listed in my galaxy nails post.  I did have to use a few other colors as shown below.

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From left to right: What’s A Tire Jack?, Pale is the New Tan, and Read My Palm all by Sephora by OPI.

I did a modified galaxy nail art base on all my nails to provide an interesting backdrop for my characters.

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Step 1: 2 coats of Estelle from Julep.

Because the galaxy is just a backdrop for heads of characters, I modified the layout of the colors.  For a full galaxy nails tutorial, you can reference the post I did for my right hand nails.  I have all the polishes that I used listed there.

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The making of the most involved nail art that I have done to date!

First, I sponged on a blue color, focusing on the middle top half of each nail.  I also sponged on some purple to add more of a gradient effect.  I then applied a little bit of a white highlight with a sponge to where I thought the tops of the heads would be.  This was done to make it easier to see the hairlines of the characters with dark colored hair and to give them a halo effect.  It’s Star Wars according to the gospel of finepolish!

I painted a rough outline of each character with white acrylic paint from craft smart.  This made it easier for colors to show up over the dark galaxy base.

I used the brushes straight from the bottles of Pale is the New Tan and Read My Palm to color in the skin tones of each character accordingly.  After the polish dried, I went back with white acrylic paint and fixed the necklines for each character’s clothes.

The hair was added in next along with Yoda’s robe.  I used brown acrylic paint for Han and Leia’s hair and light brown for Luke’s hair.  Conveniently, Yoda’s robe was also done with brown and light brown acrylic paint.

The last part consisted of painting in the facial and clothing details.  You can see subtle wrinkles in the white areas of the shirts of the guys and the cowl of Leia’s gown, achieved by mixing white and gray paints to get a lighter shade.  Yoda of course has a lot of wrinkles and has huge eyes, so that’s why he looks a bit bewildered.  Han came out looking fatter than I intended, too.  Oops.

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I love how top coat makes everything look so smooth in the end!

Where’s Darth Vader, you might ask?  He was outcast to my thumb.

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Darth Vader is too O.G. to be with the other characters.

Darth Vader is so dark that I used gray acrylic paint for his outline rather than white.  It was easier to see than painting with black, and it allowed me to leave a slight outline of him to help him stand out from the background when I painted over it with What’s A Tire, Jack?

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Darth Vader is many shades of gray… and white and black.

Before you start criticizing how crooked my lines are, let me say that the canvas is way smaller than you think, and the macro shot blows it out of proportion.  My detail brush probably needs to be thinned out some more, too.  I also saved Darth Vader for the end because the color palette was so different from those of the other characters, so I was also tired at this point.  That’s the power of the dark side.

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The final look!

While I complain a lot about not having any painting skills, I guess I might have some.  This could have been a total train wreck!  I really pushed myself beyond what I thought my limits were thanks to Bev, but I guess that’s what good friends do!  She believed in me the same way I knew she would rock this collaboration as well.  Speaking of…

Bev’s attention to detail is just insane.  She can legitimately paint, and it shows!

I got pretty burned out on nail art after all the time I put into painting this, so that’s why I had to take a break from the blog.  I’m hoping to get caught up by the end of the week now that my schedule is a bit more calm.  In the meantime, happy polishing!

Galaxy Nail Art

I’ve been slacking terribly on updating the blog!  My apologies for being a month late with this post.  Something about doing a lot of hand painted nail art makes me very burned out.

I did a Star Wars collaboration with @thehumblebear on Instagram, and we both agreed to only paint our left hand nails because of the amount of work that would be required.  That’s all fine and good for a picture, but in real life, I can’t just have one hand done!  My solution was to do galaxy nail art on my right hand and also use the galaxy nails as the background for my Star Wars characters on my left hand.

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For this look, I used a black/blue/purple color scheme. From left to right: Estelle by Julep, Sailor’s Lure by Finger Paints, White Hot by Sephora by OPI, Make A Change by Nicole by OPI, and Indi-go With the Flow by Sephora by OPI.

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I started out by painting all my nails with Estelle by Julep. It has holographic glitter piece embedded into the polish, so it really sparkles.

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Step by step: how to make a galaxy.

The first few steps consist of using a gradient technique.  I used a small make up sponge to apply Sailor’s Lure at a diagonal in the middle of each nail.  I dipped the sponge into White Hot and highlighted various areas.  Then I sponged on Make a Change to add more dimension to my galaxy.

To make stars, I dipped a dotting tool into White Hot and varied the sizes of my dots.  On a few of the points, I used a detail brush to draw in a plus sign.  I finished up by adding Indi-go With the Flow, a chunky multi-glitter top coat, to make it shine some more.

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After some top coat, these nails really look out of this world.

I also tried to take a video to show how the holographic glitter shifted in the light, but Instagram compressed it and ruined the quality.  Trust me, it was full of rainbow sparkles!

Hope you all have a great week!  Happy polishing!

Hurricane Joaquin Inspired Floral Nails

NYC has been all abuzz about whether or not Joaquin was going to make an appearance here, but thankfully all we got was a Nor’easter, and I ended up with an idea for a manicure.

Looking through my plates, I found a floral image that looks a lot like a bunch of hurricane symbols.

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How does your garden grow? Plate BPL-029 from Born Pretty Store is all about flowers.

The roses in the 2nd row, 3rd image from the right proved to be the starting grounds for my stormy manicure.  Little did I know how tempestuous this design would end up being.

Here is the color palette I used:

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Silvery grays and blues. From left to right: Silver Bells by Finger Paints, Caviar Cocktail by nailtini, Sailor’s Lure by Finger Paints, and I Don’t Give A Rotterdam! by OPI.

I wanted the eye(s) of the storm to be in the center of the manicure, so I painted Silver Bells on my middle and ring fingers and I Don’t Give A Rotterdam! on the other fingers.  I figured that when I did the stamping, the flowers (hurricane symbols) would be glittery, something that is seldom seen because people can’t really stamp successfully with glitter polish.

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Very pretty start to a stormy manicure using I Don’t Give A Rotterdam! by OPI and Silver Bells by Finger Paints.

For the two outer nails, I wanted to do a gradient that darkened toward the two middle nails.  For this, I used a mix of Caviar Cocktail, Sailor’s Lure, and I Don’t Give A Rotterdam! and tilted the sponge at an angle for the index and little fingers while I kept the sponge vertical on the thumb.

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A gradient of blues and grays is applied with the darkest sections facing the glittery parts.

It should be mentioned that I didn’t realize that Sailor’s Lure is a textured polish.  It isn’t marked as such on the bottle, so I was wondering why it looked so clumpy on the brush.  It still suits our stormy purpose, so it was fine.

Here is where the storm truly begins.  I thought I was going to stamp with Sailor’s Lure, but the thought of trying to scrape the polish off the plate with all the texture in it was making my skin crawl.  I couldn’t stamp with Caviar Cocktail because the color is too similar to the silver glitter.  I tried using royal blue by b.m.c. nail lacquer, but the design didn’t show through well.  I tried layering noir black by b.m.c. nail lacquer over the blue color, but it looked like a mess.  Neither one looked good nor fit my color scheme, so I had to wipe those two nails clean and try a new approach.

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Nail fail: bad stamping because my blue polish wasn’t dark enough and the black polish didn’t match my color scheme.

I decided to use a white polish as a base instead of the glitter and decided to stamp with a chrome polish because the royal blue color would seem out of place.

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Enter two new contenders: mayfair by nails inc. and Awaken by China Glaze.

Luckily I used school glue as a base coat, so I scraped the glitter off the two middle nails and applied mayfair first.

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Newly revamped nails with mayfair by nails inc. in the middle.

I did the stamping with Awaken and was fooled again by the polish.  This is what I get for not swatching colors before I start.

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Stamping done with Awaken by China Glaze.

While the polish stamped better than expected, the color was not what I thought it was.  Even when I originally bought the color, I thought that it had more of a dark blue tint to it, at least from the look of it in the bottle.  Instead, it is more dark silver gray with a lavender hue, and now I got to be frustrated all over again that my stamped nails didn’t match the gradient around it.

Ultimately I scraped the gradient off and painted Awaken on those nails instead.  You can see a difference in the color of the stamping compared to the color of the polish in the bottle more clearly below.

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The final result- not exactly what I intended due to being misled by the color of the polish in the bottle versus the color actually being swatched.

So that’s how I weathered this storm.  It took a few unexpected turns, but all ended well.  Hope you all have been staying warm and dry!  It’s a great excuse to stay indoors and do your nails.  😉  Happy polishing!