Sunday, March 31, 2013

Easter Nails Tutorial

I was hoping to have a St. Patrick's Day mani for you, but I got a little lazy. All I did was a mint green nail with a silver and green glitter top coat. While it was cute, I didn't think it was exciting enough to write about. My Easter nails, however, are! Let me go ahead and show off one of my hands.

Isn't the little chick just adorable? I get asked by readers and followers all the time how I get the detail. I've gone over the steps in previous posts, but not in a formal manner. It's super simple to do, and the best part is that it's the same process for both hands! All the worries of off-hand detail are taken away! How great is that?

Here are the steps:

1 - Paint a coat of clear onto a sheet of sticker paper in a few nail-sized patches. I use the "Hello my name is" stickers since it gives a big, flat area to work with. DO NOT use a quick dry. Try a bit to see why. :)

2 - Once dry, about 10-30 minutes depending on brand, it's time to get creative. Here's the big secret on how to get the detail. Use a fine tipped Sharpie pen or marker to draw whatever you like or whatever you can. I would have liked to draw an Easter Bunny, but I cannot. So I drew a hatching chick and an Easter basket. If you do any text, it needs to be done backwards. Practice first if you aren't familiar with this.

3 - Give the ink a few minutes to dry. I also patted the drawings with a tissue. Then paint a second coat of clear. This does two things. It protects the ink from mixing with the colors and thickens the patch to make it easy to remove without tearing. If you use the pen instead of the marker, this coat will have a lightening effect on the ink.

4 - This part takes a little longer to dry, but not by much. Now, it's coloring time! You only need a tiny bit of color to fill in the lines you drew. Use what you have: a toothpick, tiny paint brush, dotting tool, or whatever else. Don't make it thick or else it will take forever to dry. Opacity is not an issue. If you're worried about the colors mixing, give it a minute between colors.

5 - Let the colors be for about 5 minutes. They do not have to be completely dry, but they do have to be set. If the designs are going onto a white background, you can skip this next part. Paint the back of your drawing white and leave the outside of it clear. White is usually a very thick color, so take care to be as thin as possible with it.

6 - Snack time! Get away from the work for about half an hour. Play a game. Watch a rerun. Resist all urges to mess with the design. If you pull it off too early, it will stretch or break because it's still wet underneath. The time it takes in this step depends on how well set the previous layers are and how thick the white is. When it's done, you should be able to leave a fingerprint on the white with a little pressure. If it takes no effort, wait a little longer.

7 - Smooth out the fingerprint and carefully remove the design from the sticker paper. Here's a step I completely forgot for this mani. Cut the design down to size. Try to leave a millimeter margin so it doesn't wrinkle much along the curve of your nail or ruin the design when it's top coat time. If you forget this step, the edges will not be as smooth as they can be. I filed the edge off and dissolved the sides trying to remember how I got them so nice before. (I happened to be sick today, so my head wasn't screwed on right.)

8 - Place the design on your completely finished nail. You should already have your base, color, and top coats done and dry. If you haven't done this yet, lay the designs on the sticker paper and do it now. The design should be pliable for at least another hour or two, so you have time. Once placed, make sure the edges are as flat as possible. Just pushing them down softly should do it.

9 - Clear coat the whole nail, and you're done!

It does take time, but the steps are super simple. Clear, Draw, Clear, Color, White, Dry, Cut, Place, Clear. This is how I did my Fox In Socks Nails as well as a few other manis. I had to do backwards lettering for that one. People have asked me to make sets for them. While I'd love to do so, the designs get very brittle after about a day, so shipping them doesn't work very well.

Well there it is, from start to finish. I really hope you enjoyed my tutorial! Feel free to post any questions you have or the results of your first attempt in the comments below. I'd really like to see some of your work!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Riveting Stripes

I wore my Sugar Rush manicure for a week and nothing happened. No chipping, no tip wear, nothing! (I used Sinful Colors Clear and their Quick Dry oil as my top coat.) So of course I was getting impatient. Last night, I couldn't take it anymore and removed it. But what to replace it with?

I have 3 orange-based colors I've acquired recently. They are Sinful Colors Orange Cream (from the Sugar Rush collection), NYC Times Square Tangerine Creme, and Zoya Arizona. I thought they could make an interesting combination, so I prepped my sticker paper with stripes and dots of each color.

To start, I decided to use the Orange Cream as my base color because the other two were more vibrant. I thought they would do better as accents. It took 3 coats for opacity and it applied really well.

After some testing, I saw that Arizona looked better over the NYC instead of vice versa. I cut the NYC into stripes and applied them at angles on all but my ring finger. I applied small dots of Arizona like rivets over the stripes.

I didn't know what to do with my ring finger, but I did know that I wanted to break up the monotony a little. My husband suggested I "do a little shape, like a heart or something". Well, I don't have any of those cute little punch-outs, so I opted for cutting out a diamond shape. I "secured" the corners with rivets, and voila!

It's getting close to St. Patrick's Day, so I expect my next entry to be themed and very, very green!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Sinful Colors Sugar Rush Inspired Polka Dot Mani

It has been about 5 months since my last entry. I think the 30 day challenge wore me out. I haven't done very many creative designs with my nails since then. I've even gone so far as to let some of my manicures chip pretty badly!

The good news is that the new spring pastels have inspired a little bit of creativity in me! I have been seeing the Sugar Rush collection all over Facebook, so I went to Walgreen's to pick some up. They were having a 4 for $5 sale I didn't know about, so that would be all of them for $10! They were missing the orange one, which made me sad. I picked up the light pink Cotton Candy, light blue Sugar Rush, light purple Candy Coated, and the yellow Unicorn. I thought my new bunch needed a green pal, so I also picked up a light green from Maybelline Color Show called Green With Envy. I'll talk about that guy later.  Let's go right into my manicure!

I started out with just a regular skittles manicure because I wanted to see how all of my new colors looked. Each color took 3 coats for full opacity because the formula is pretty thin. That helps with drying to me, so I'm not bothered by it. All of the Sinful Colors polishes applied well with no trouble. The green, which was Maybelline, has got to be the worst formula I've encountered to date. It kept pulling itself off of my nails and took multiple tries to finally get even coverage. It's unfortunate since it's the perfect green to match the rest.

Once I got nice coverage on all my nails, I felt they needed a bit more design. Luckily I prepared polka dots ahead of time, just in case! To do this, all I did was dot the polish in various sizes onto sticker paper before I started my manicure! I bought a pack of name tag label stickers for $1 just for this purpose. By the time you're done with your base coat and 3 color coats, they're usually dried. I use my small dotting tool to nudge a dot up and place it on my nail. I do it this way so I know the dots will be nicely shaped when I apply them. (I also paint stripes that I use for French tips on this paper!)

Since I had 4 sizes prepared of each color, I decided to kind of do a gradient style with bigger dots at the tip and tiny ones near the base. I used only one of each size of each of the non-base colors, which was plenty. That's a total of 16 dots per nail. I sealed them in with a top coat, and that's that! My mom says they look like the candy speckled eggs you get at Easter. Do you like them?

UPDATE: Sinful Colors Unicorn (the yellow from the Sugar Rush collection) left a slight yellow stain on my nails. I used Seche Clear base coat underneath.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Breast Cancer Awareness Manicure

October is breast cancer awareness month. To show support and raise awareness, a lot of bloggers and polish enthusiasts are creating pink manis, mainly on Wednesdays. I did mine, but I haven't been able to post it until now. Here it is:

The base is Sinful Colors Super Nova, the boobies are a custom mix, and the nipples are Kleancolor Sheer Peach. I topped it with NYC Matte Me Crazy to diffuse the metallic reflection in the photo. I hope you like it!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Fine China Nails

While I had fun with the 31 Day Challenge, I'm glad to be done with it. I like admiring my manicures for more than one day. But the last day of the challenge turned into something special! It was to recreate someone's challenge entry you really liked, and there was one from the day before I absolutely loved. You can see it here. The colors and delicate lines reminded me of fine china, so I recreated it. It's on my last post here.

I was very happy with my manicure as it was, and then NAIL MAIL!!! I got the dotting tools I ordered and I didn't know what to do. I loved the colors and the look, but I wanted to use my new toys! I figured my ring finger has an accent, maybe I'll just dot my thumb as an accent too! So I did, and I loved it more!!! Of course, I had to do the rest:

I used Sinful Colors Snow Me White (I don't really like this white, but it's thin enough to marble) and Ruby Kisses Blue Pearl. They look even more like fine china, don't you think?

Monday, October 1, 2012

31 Day Challenge 2012 - Days 26 through 31

Day 26 - Inspired by a pattern

Day 27 - Inspired by artwork

Day 28 - Inspired by a flag

Day 29 - Inspired by the supernatural

Day 30 - Inspired by a tutorial

Day 31 - Recreate your favorite challenge

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

31 Day Challenge 2012 - Days 21 through 25

Day 21 - Inspired by a color

Day 22 - Inspired by a song

Day 23 - Inspired by a movie

Day 24 - Inspired by a book

Day 25 - Inspired by fashion