I just got a water marble comb from Born Pretty Store and wanted to experiment with it, so my tests inspired me to do some flaming nail art. After all, summertime is hot, and campfires are pretty common this time of year, so why not have some matching nail art?
The look requires only 3 polishes but needs a lot of prep work.
Left to right: chelsea by nails inc., Mai Tai by nailtini, and Life Gave Me Lemons by OPI.
So about that prep work… I decided to make flame decals with a dry water marble technique. Never made decals before? It’s a pretty simple concept. Just paint nail polish onto some plastic wrap or a Ziploc bag, apply topcoat to it, let it dry, and then you can simply peel the decals off from the plastic wrap and cut them into whatever shapes you want to use. It’s a bit of a time consuming process, but it gives you more control over the final look.
Because the water marble comb was big and I wanted to make sure I had enough decals to fit my nails plus some room to experiment, I stretched a piece of plastic wrap over a binder and taped the loose ends to the other side to create a large canvas for my artwork.
My binder has one layer of plastic wrap over it. Try to get all the wrinkles out and make the surface as smooth as possible, or simply use a Ziploc bag.
Next, I painted 2 stripes each of Mai Tai and Life Gave Me Lemons so that the edges of the colors touched each other or at least had very little space in between. It’s important to paint thick coats of polish so that the comb will be able to more easily marble the colors in the next step.
Stripes of polish waiting to be combed.
I used a water marble comb to create the marbled effect, but you can also use a toothpick or a dotting tool to drag through the colors of polish one line at a time.
The fun begins when you comb through the stripes.
Comb through the polish from left to right to create this pattern.
Comb back through the gaps of the previously combed parts from right to left to get this pattern.
After getting a design that I liked, I applied Seche Vite topcoat to the entire polished section and let it dry overnight. This will make the coat thicker and easier to peel away from the plastic wrap. It probably doesn’t take that long to dry, but I wanted to make sure that I didn’t have any problems for the next step.
The next day, I peeled my painted sections away from the plastic wrap. The removal process was very easy.
Dried nail polish should lift from the plastic wrap as easily as peeling away a Fruit Roll Up.
I had 5 sections from which to choose for my nail decals. Experimenting is fun!
A bounty of dried nail polish swatches.
To finish preparing my nail decals, I trimmed down a side and cut away slivers of polish with nail scissors to make the flame design. This way I could make sure I used the part of the marbled design that I wanted.
This nail polish is highly flammable!
To complete the decals, I cut my flames into nail sized sections for application.
A set of fire decals waiting to be applied.
As for application, these decals need to be placed over wet nail polish in order to adhere properly. I painted an opaque coat or two of plum black chelsea polish from nails, inc. onto one nail first.
Still wet polish featuring chelsea from nails, inc.
I used tweezers to pick up a decal and set it where I wanted it to go.
Laying a dried nail decal on top of wet polish.
Because the nail decals have to be thick in order to peel them away from the plastic, they don’t conform to the curve of the nail bed very easily at first. Applying topcoat on top of the decal will make it more flexible, and then you can smooth it out evenly on the nail with an orange stick.
Another coat of clear polish on top of the decal will help to melt it down to allow it to flex over your nail’s surface.
Repeat this process for each nail, then trim away any excess polish and clean up around the cuticles with cotton swabs and nail polish remover. I used top coat one last time to even the polish out.
The finished look.
In retrospect, I would have cut the decals a little shorter and made the bottom match the shape of my cuticle so that I didn’t have to do so much clean up afterwards. It takes a lot of time to make this mani happen, but you can prepare the decals way in advance so that you have fire decals waiting at the ready for whenever you want them. Experiment and have fun! Happy polishing!