Mardi Gras Nails

This week is full of holidays, so here is some Mardi Gras nail art to get the good times rolling!

I planned to do a rather intricate design, so I didn’t go for a solid shade across all my nails. I decided to use a golden shimmery yellow (Nadia from Julep) alongside a glossy black (Johnny from Julep) for my base colors.

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I first did a preliminary sketch of my mask with pencil and paper to give me the confidence to paint it across two of my nails. The sketch looked way better, but I also was painting this design late at night and was getting increasingly more worried that I wasn’t going to get enough sleep because I knew this wasn’t going to be as easy as I thought!

In any case, I used craft smart acrylic paint in black to paint the mask, then used a striping brush with gold holographic polish (Heart of Gold from Born Pretty) to paint diagonal lines across the mask to form a diamond harlequin style pattern.

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Back to School Chalkboard/Bus/Crayon Nail Art

Who is ready for the upcoming school year?  Not me!  Most NYC schools don’t start until after Labor Day, so I’ve got a little bit more time for myself before the crazy student hustle begins again!

I teamed up with @tamiiinails on Instagram this time to do a collaboration to celebrate the return of the school year, so we both agreed to have some kind of chalkboard element in our designs.  The rest was up to us!

I decided to use the chalkboard as my accent nail and paint the stripes of a yellow school bus across the other nails.

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I used Lighthouse by China Glaze and Johnny by Julep for my base colors. I guess the shimmer makes my school bus look more magical!

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I painted my nails with the corresponding base colors that would go with my concept.

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I used a striping brush and black acrylic paint to make the double stripe pattern across my nails. I later refined the lines with a detail brush to get them filled out and straight. Then I painted the 1+1=2 on the black nail with white acrylic paint and a super fine detail brush and applied matte top coat from Sephora by OPI over the chalkboard design. Regular top coat from Seche Vite was applied to the other nails for shine.

It’s a fairly simple design, although getting the details to look perfect is where a steady hand and some OCD come in handy!  Believe me, I wish I had black striping tape that I could have used instead!  Speaking of which, if you don’t think you are capable of painting straight lines, you can lay 3 pieces of striping tape on top of the yellow polish to form a stencil for the black lines and paint over the empty spaces with black nail polish.  Personally I’m faster at painting them freehand, not to mention that I don’t have a lot of patience when it comes to waiting for my polish to dry before applying striping tape!  But this technique may work better for you.

Also, it occurred to me afterward that the lines resemble the ones on crayon wrappers, so you can also opt to change the colors on your nails and purposefully turn them into crayon nails.  Of course, you can also eliminate the chalkboard altogether and do only crayon nail art as well.

As for the collaboration, here it is!  Simple but cute.

Best of luck to everyone in the new school year!  Happy polishing!

Pole Dancer Nails

After doing the silhouette of the rhythmic gymnast for my Olympics themed nails, I felt the urge to do something else with a silhouette.  Thankfully, I didn’t have to rely on my freehand painting skills for this one because I have a stamping plate that fits the bill perfectly!

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Can you get jiggy with it?  Plate BP-X07 from Born Pretty Store.

Seems to me like there were quite a few pole dancers and sexy girls on there, so I went with a holographic polish base to fit the mood.

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My holo polish of choice was Things That Make You Go Bloom by KB Shimmer.

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I used bmc nail lacquer in noir black to do the stamping, but I wasn’t that thrilled with the opacity.

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I ended up going over a lot of the images with craft smart acrylic paint in Black to intensify the silhouettes. The poles were corrected with paint and a striping brush, and I had to draw in the bust outline for the girl on the far left.

Of course, the lesson is to make sure you use good quality stamping polishes in the first place so that you don’t have to paint over your stamping to make it look good!  I suppose it would have looked fine in either case, but certain details didn’t get picked up from the plate so well, and my OCD wouldn’t let me leave things like that.

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My “pole” is actually my flute!

It’s still a cute idea, and it reeks of Showgirls.  Don’t you think Nomi Malone would approve?

Happy polishing!

Rainbow Musical Nails

I’ve been so busy that I haven’t had time to update the blog lately, so I apologize for that.  These nails are from May, so even though I’m posting in June, I’m filing this under last month.

I really felt like doing a rainbow gradient across just the tips of my nails, so I had to pull out a whole arsenal of polishes for this one.  Pictured below from left to right are the following colors:

OPI- Privacy Please
Sephora by OPI- Curve-aceous
Sephora by OPI- Cab Fare
Formula X for Sephora- Danger Zone
Confetti- Ice Ice Baby
Sephora by OPI- Gleek Out
Sephora by OPI- Who Let the Dorks Out?
Formula X for Sephora- Hyped

I tried to pick polishes with shimmer in them so that the overall look would be more unified.

I started out by painting my nails with a nude color base.  You can opt to only do the gradient if you have nice looking nail beds, but I wanted to even out the tone.

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Privacy Please by OPI- a neutral shade that makes it look like I have healthy nail beds.

Using a small sponge, I applied dabs of each color in rainbow order: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple.  Each nail has 2 colors on it starting with red on my thumb and ending in purple on my pinky.

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The rainbow gradient is beautiful by itself.

I wanted my rainbow to have some more sparkle, so I added a stroke of Ice Ice Baby, an iridescent glitter, to the top half of each nail.

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The lighting doesn’t pick up the different reflections of the glitter, but it’s there.

Finally I took craft smart Acrylic Paint in White and drew in a few lines with a striping brush to draw two lines across the tip of each nail.  I made little note heads with a dotting tool and painted in the stems with a detail brush.

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The notes are entirely optional, but I wanted to acknowledge my music career with this design.

I think it’s pretty and represents what a colorful part music plays in our lives.

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My two loves: my flute and nail art.

Can you paint with all the colors of the wind?  😉

Happy polishing!

Clownfish Finding Nemo Nails

The other week, I painted clown inspired nail art, so naturally the next thing I thought to paint was clownfish!  Finding Dory is coming out soon, so I couldn’t help but put Nemo on my nails.

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Colors used include from left to right: Radiant by Formula X, Zing by Formula X for Sephora, and White Hot by Sephora by OPI.

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I also used craft smart Acrylic Paint in Black, White, and Dark Grey for some of the details.

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I started by painting most of my nails with Radiant.

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For the clownfish stripes, I used white acrylic paint to form the basic shape, layered it with white polish to give it a more even texture and shine, and then I outlined the white sections with a striping brush dipped in black acrylic paint.

You might be wondering why I applied white acrylic paint first rather than painting white polish directly onto my nails.  In my experience, layering polishes over each other causes the colors to bleed, even if the base color is dry.  The thicker the coat, the more the bottom color melts into the top one.  Acrylic paint does not have that effect because it simply dries as a separate layer on top of the nail polish.  Had I only used white nail polish, there would have been a good chance of it turning slightly orange or getting slightly streaked with the other color.

Also, white polish is not a one coat color.  You need to apply it at least twice over an area to get decent opacity, so it was easier to use acrylic paint to get the opacity right off the bat without making a total mess.

The clownfish stripe design is also awesome for beginner nail artists because the lines don’t have to be so precise.  It just looks like a mod pattern from afar.  Also, the black lines on a clownfish aren’t exactly the same width, so it’s easy to forgive any variances in thickness in the painting.

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I didn’t try to exactly copy the pattern of the fish in this photo, but you get the idea.

I only painted Nemo on my thumb because I wasn’t going to do a full set of characters from the movie.

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I started by painting my thumb with Zing, then I painted a rough outline of where Nemo would go with white acrylic paint. I used Radiant to color in the section orange, outlined the entire shape with black acrylic paint, added the stripe and eye details with white acrylic paint, and finished by painting in the rest of the face and fin details with a dotting tool and a small brush.

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A good clear top coat seals all the layers together and smooths out everything to a fine polished finish.

Nemo is just the cutest!  And yes, I own a plushie of him.  🙂

Just keep swimming, lovelies!  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!

Geometric MTA Inspired Nail Art

The MTA has been renovating the stations on the A train line here in NYC for quite some time now.  I haven’t had to take the train into the city for months, so I only recently saw the beautiful new panels they installed in the Rockaway Blvd. station.

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Morning light looks gorgeous through the little stained glass circles.

I wanted to capture the design in some nail art, so I thought the Infinite Ombré kit from Formula X would be perfect for this.

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The Infinite Ombré set from Formula X consists of the following colors (pictured clockwise from left side): Platinum Prime, Timeless Teal, Infinite Indigo, Limitless Lemon, and Boundless Berry.

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I started by painting all my nails with Platinum Prime.

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Using a striping brush and white acrylic paint by craft smart, I painted lines at various angles across my nails. The only thing I made sure to do was to make triangular shapes.

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I made little circles at each point of a triangle with a dotting tool and the various gel tints from the Infinite Ombré kit.

I have to confess that I work in a rather poorly lit area when I paint my nails, so there is a single green dot on my index finger in the above picture because I layered the yellow and blue tints over each other.  In dark lighting, it looked like it turned out to be the same teal color as the blue tint, so I didn’t bother trying to make green dots again.  It wasn’t until after I looked at the pictures on my camera that I realized the layering effect worked, so if you try this at home, you can add a few more colors into your mani by layering the gel tints over each other.

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A nice top coat smooths things over.

Let this be a lesson that you can find beauty and inspiration anywhere if you open your mind to it.  Happy polishing!