Sunday, October 31, 2010

ND11: Clay Cubes

Nail Design Eleven: Clay Cubes.

I decided I needed a design that explained my short nails, and this is the reason:

image from

Clay! I've taken up pottery, and unfortunately, you are supposed to have short nails for ceramics, so chop-chop went my nails.

But, on the other hand (haha!) it gave me an idea for a manicure...and so I went looking for a clay colored nail polish that would complement pink nail polish (pink for October = Breast Cancer Awareness).

This October there were a number of pink polishes released for Breast Cancer Awareness, but at the time I was looking I couldn't get my hands on any, so I stopped by my local drug store and found this pink little gem: Bubblegum Pink by Sally Hansen Hard as Nails Xtreme Wear. The name fits this lacquer perfectly since it's a nice shade of mid to light pink. What's not really seen in all the photos is the tiny silver shimmer that is visible in the polish bottle.

Onto the clay colored polish! I went for a light gray shade since I use gray colored clay. I picked up Wet Cement by Sally Hansen Hard as Nails Xtreme Wear the same day I picked up the pink. I thought it would make a great polish for nail art. Unfortunately, as is later visible in some of the photos, this polish was both goopy and, not so good for layering or for nail art. If you are looking for a cheaper-end gray shade of polish to use for a full on manicure, I think this polish might work for that, you just need to make sure to watch the brush handle and make sure no polish drips off in random spots (as happened to me).

Step 1 is to simply lay down the bottom color.

This is two coats of Bubblegum Pink with a top coat.

Step 2 is the first cube to make. The idea I went with here is that you'll only want three rows and three columns of cubes, so you have to gauge how large of a cube to make, so the others will be about equal size on the nail.

Begin vertically or horizontally by placing both strips of tape, so both inside edges of the tape are at points of one third and two thirds of the nail across or down. If you have longer nails, the vertical length of this first square may be longer than the horizontal length thus making all the squares into rectangles, but unless that shape difference will bother you, you can still have three even rows at the end of this manicure.

After placing the first two strips either vertically or horizontally, place the second set of strips the opposite way, so that a square (or rectangle) is formed. Fill in with the second color of polish and immediately remove the tape strips in the direction they were laid down, being careful to not pull the tape strips at an angle (because that could possibly pull unwanted "strings" of the polish onto the bottom color of polish).

For Step 3, you will need 4 thin strips of tape for each nail. First put down two strips vertically so each outer-most side of the square is covered vertically. Then use the other two strips to cover the horizontal outer-most edges of the centered (first) square.

From here, make sure the tape is pressed down enough so that no polish will seep under the tape, and paint the second color in the squares that have been formed by the tape; so that one square is diagonally upper right to the center square, another square is diagonally upper left to the center square, and the third and forth blank square spaces to be filled are diagonally bottom right and left.

Remember for this step, when placing the tape on the center square, you want just the tiniest bit of each corner of the square to show, so that when you lay down the second color of polish, it will either meet or barely overlap each corner, connecting the squares.

Step 4 is to simply add top coat.

Especially if you have used the same colors I chose to use, a top coat is needed not only to seal in the polish, but also to even out the layers.

And here is an extra look at the manicure. I'm holding a pink dish glove I got this month that supports Breast Cancer Awareness. It's nice they make pink polish for Breast Cancer Awareness, especially for those of us that love polish, so we can wear pink to support a great cause, but I also like the fact that in October, so many other products that aren't usually available in pink, are available in that color - and all to celebrate and support Breast Cancer Awareness.

So what do you think of this manicure? I really wouldn't recommend using the colors I used. Perhaps a matte gray over Bubblegum Pink would have worked better than Wet Cement because it would have been more opaque, less runny, and faster drying.

While I'm mentioning the drying time of the polish I chose, I'd also like to point out that while I thought Wet Cement was dry when I moved on from Step 2 to 3, it clearly wasn't because you can see where I had to go back and glob in some polish into the middle square to cover where the polish pulled off the nail. From time to time, this may happen in nail art if you're using an adhesive product over it (like blue tape) - and especially if it is done without sealing the layers of polish in with a top coat first - so don't be afraid if you have to go back in and add a dab of polish here or there, a good top coat will be able to smooth it all out in the end, and the incident will be unnoticeable afterwords.

Hope you've enjoyed this October manicure...let me know any thoughts or ideas you might have on it - or if you try it!


  1. I like this design very much!
    Great work with the tutorial :)

  2. Nice! Thanks for the tutorial.

  3. You inspire me to do so many funky things with my nails all using household items! your mani's are the GREATEST!

  4. I can't believe you call those nails short! They are still extremely long (and pretty) to me. I really like the pattern, I might end up trying it myself.

  5. those are short nails? haha well I suppose relatively right?
    Very pretty mani :D

  6. i love this nailart you one of my favorite blogs.
    I made your nailart the shooting star and posted your link on my blog :
    come and see when you have the time.

    greetings from me tsiisfamke

  7. Thanx for this great blog! Been looking for a new and fresh approach to manis and now I found it. Yay!

  8. How do you get your blue tape so straight and even when you cut them?

    Everytime i try to do it, it takes forever to get a strip that is even.

    Do you have any tips?

  9. I love it! By the way, my "long" nails are shorter than your "short" nails ;D

  10. nice! wow, my nails are even shorter than yours, haha! Love the tutorial <3

  11. Cute manicure, I love the pink and grey together.

  12. love it.. i would love to try this... thanks for the tutorial..

  13. i just found your blog by Loucas por Konad and this design is so hot!!! my friend wanted me to do checker nails for her and now i think i can do it. great idea!

  14. Hi girl, I love to read your blog and that's why I want to give you this award:

    With Love Melanie

  15. Thanks for the tutorial :) I wanna try this one day ^.^

  16. i tagged you because i love your blog and nailart very much ..

  17. @Alexa1202: Glad you like the design, thanks!

    @Zara: You're welcome, and thank you, too!

    @BoldNBeautiful Makeup: Thank you! I'm so glad I could inspire you into nail art! Hope you're having fun with it too!

    @Sunny & Star: Thanks!

    @Starving Nail Addict: Well, thanks! I certainly don't think of my nails as long (compared to how long they used to be), but I do realize they are longer than a number of other people's. To each, their own, I guess! :) I hope you do try this design!

    @Samantha: Right! Relatively short nails (too me). Thanks!

    @Tsiisfamke: Thanks for sending me the link! I'm definitely going to check out your shooting star manicure! Glad you tried it!

    @Lacky: Glad I could help! Thanks for the complement and for stopping by!

    @Julie: Great question, Julie, I'm glad you asked! I guess I've been working with blue painter's tape for a few years now, so I automatically cut the strips without really planning how to do it, but I stopped to think about it today when I was cutting some tape, and here's how I do it:
    1)I start with a pair of large scissors and cut off a large strip of tape (about 2 inches or 5 cm. long).
    2)Then, because I am right-handed, I hold the strip of tape with my left hand, where about 1 1/2 cm. hangs off my index finger, with my thumb closing over the other end of the tape strip. You don't have to have your hand placement the same, but I use the edge of my finger the tape is laid against to judge how close to cut the tape strip to my finger for width measurement.
    3)When cutting the strip of tape, looking straight down as you cut off a piece from the whole 'chunk' you have originally cut, it looks like the piece gets smaller towards the top of the strip, like you are cutting at an angle, but if you keep practicing cutting you'll come to find that's just an optical illusion.
    4)Really, the most helpful information I can give is to let the scissors cut themselves. So, basically, just snip in the direction the scissors want to cut, and that will give you a straight line.
    5) You might also try cutting a slightly bigger piece than you need, so you can go in and trim the angled edge off, if it doesn't look as straight as you need it to be. Chances might be that one edge is straighter than the other (this often happens to me), so I line up my tape strips on a table edge with the straight edges going all one direction, so I know which side I want to use when I'm ready to paint.
    Hope this helps!

    @Jenny$1983: Thanks! Yeah, I guess my nails don't seem that short - but they do to me! :)

    @Lois: Thanks! I've seen a lot of shorter nails on other blogs, and it's good it works for other people, but I guess I'm not used to having short nails. :)

    @Serena: Thanks, I like that color combo too!

    @ThRiSzHa: Thanks, I hope you do try it out!

    @Enamel Girl: Thank you! I'm glad you found my blog!

    @Melanie: Thank you, Melanie! I'm glad you like reading my blog!

    @silje: You're welcome. I do hope you try it. Thanks for commenting!

    @Tsiisfamke: Thank you! (I love your nail art, too!)

  18. Hi, I just noticed that you're following my blog, so I decided to check yours out and I'm glad I did. Love it!

  19. OMG! i've just found your blog! It's absolutely wonderful!!! i think it will be one of my favourite blogs ;p
    good work!

  20. Thsi one looks kinda hard, but it turned out marvelous!

  21. cute nail art design! :)


  22. Hi! I found your blog on pinterest and now I'm following you on GFC. Can't wait to see your updates!


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