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!

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