Irish Unicorn Nails

If you blog, you’re almost always expected to come up with nails for every holiday. While I never used to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day all that much, my nails certainly have been on board for the past few years! This year’s inspiration came from a student of mine who dressed up as an Irish unicorn for her lesson. I became obsessed with her headband, so she gave me a homework assignment to create some nail art based on it.

My first step was to paint all my nails green. I used Paper Chasing from China Glaze.

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The perfect kelly green- Paper Chasing from China Glaze. Be warned, though- this stuff will stain your nails a shade that Elphaba would find normal!

For more impact and sparkle, I used Emerald City holographic glitter from Dimension Nails over the polish. To apply it, I painted a coat of Paper Chasing over a nail, dipped it into the pot of glitter while the polish was still wet, then used a fan brush to sweep away the excess. This process was repeated for each nail.

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Welcome to the Emerald Isle!

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Lucky Dog St. Patrick’s Day Nail Art

This post is getting published a little late, but I wanted to show you the nails that I did for St. Patrick’s Day. I came up with a cute idea that took some of the main themes of the holiday (green, luck, rainbows, pots of gold, and 4 leaf clovers) and created something that wasn’t necessarily so clichéd with some freehand nail art.

It all started with this lovely shimmery bright kelly green shade from China Glaze called Paper Chasing.

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I applied 3 coats for maximum coverage and allowed them to dry before proceeding.

My idea was centered around a fictional dog named Lucky who has a cloverleaf marking around his eye. My breed of choice for this was some sort of terrier with floppy ears. I painted him mostly white with brown details and a pink tongue just for fun. I decided to place him on my middle finger so he would be the center of attention.

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This doggy is very happy to be so lucky!

On my index finger, I chose to write his name in script. My penmanship with acrylic paint has apparently gotten much better over time!

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I combined the rainbow and pot of gold elements together in the sense that I made a rainbow dog food bowl and filled it with golden dog kibble. While I used craft smart acrylic paints for pretty much all of the freehand work, I used a gold glitter polish from Nicole by OPI called Carried Away for the golden kibble. Continue reading

St. Patrick’s Day Clover Nails

Happy spring, everyone!  Sorry for the bout of inactivity.  My last round of gigs in the city had me completely tied up for a full week, so it has been hard to get enough sleep let alone keep up with my nails!

I had this green manicure done in time for St. Patrick’s Day but haven’t had a chance to update the blog since then.  They are a super easy and fun way to celebrate the holiday.

I started by painting all my nails green.  I used Pretty Edgy by Essie as my base color.

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How often do you get to rock green nail polish? This color is Pretty Edgy from Essie.

Because of time constraints, I resorted to stamping with plate BPX-L018 from Born Pretty Store for some four leaf clover goodness.

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BPX-L018 has the perfect clover pattern in the middle row of images, 3rd from the left.

To make this manicure a bit sparkly, I used Cupcake Polish’s Little Butterfly with the clover pattern to add some holographic goodness to the background.

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It doesn’t look very impressive right now, but the holographic polish adds to the finished design.

To finish up, I stamped the same clover design onto my nails using Born Pretty Stamping Nail Polish #12, making sure that the pattern staggered with the holographic clovers already on my nails.

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Lucky green clover heaven.

I thought it was interesting how much the stamping polish really brightened up the base color.  Pretty Edgy is a nice green, but the lime green clovers on top made my nails stand out to the point where random strangers on the street were noticing them and telling me how much they liked the color!

Hope you had a great St. Patrick’s Day!  Catch you on the next post.  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!

Green and Gold Nails

I’ve been swamped with work lately, which is a fortunate thing for a musician, but it has left me with little time to paint my nails.  Whenever I have a busy week and little inspiration because I’m too tired to think, I turn to my trusty collection of stamping plates.

With St. Patrick’s Day around the corner, I decided to go with a green base color first.

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Are you green with envy? This is Emerald Expressionism by Finger Paints.

I used plate BPL-005 from Born Pretty Store for the stamping.  What I love about it is that a lot of the patterns look like they are water marble inspired, so it’s easy to get a marbled look without the mess.

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Plate BPL-005 from Born Pretty Store. I used the design in the 2nd row, 2nd image from the right.

I used gold polish from Konad to do the stamping.  I was hoping that it would be opaque, but the color does not pop very well and is even harder to photograph.  The design is most visible only when the light hits it at a certain angle.  While I swear by the Konad black and white polishes, their metallic shades leave something to be desired.

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Konad Special Nail Polish in Gold provides a subtle, shimmery look.

To get a varied look, I made sure to rotate the image when stamping it onto my nails.

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The swirls looks like they flow naturally from nail to nail rather than looking like they are stamped from the same image.

The effect reminds me of those mirrors with the gold marble overlay finish that were popular in the 80s.  I also think of the Emerald City from The Wizard of Oz.  In terms of a St. Patty’s Day manicure, I think I’ll be looking for my pot of gold elsewhere!

While this wasn’t a showstopping creation, I do love the elegance of the swirls.  Too bad they didn’t show up as well as I would have liked.  Guess I’ll need to purchase a better gold stamping polish.

Happy polishing!