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!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

ND10: Garden Lattice

Nail Design Ten. The Garden Lattice.

And my little garden lattice.

And the lacquers used in this garden party:

Nicole by OPI's Peas and Q's is a nice mint green that is somewhere in the shade range between Revlon's Minted and Opi's Damone Roberts 1968, leaning more towards the yellowish side towards Damone Roberts, as opposed to Minted's blue-er shading.

Sephora by OPI's Queen of Everything is a metallic silver polish that is almost pewter in shade. I found it was a good shade for this manicure because it complemented the mint green shade of Peas and Q's well, giving the manicure an antique look.

Step 1 is simply laying down the base color: Peas and Q's from Nicole by OPI. This is two coats followed by a top coat. I can't say I've tried any other mint polishes, so I'm not sure how well they work, but two coats was enough for complete coverage from this polish.

Step 2 is where the blue painter's tape comes in. (Photo can be enlarged when clicked on to see the details.)

If you look closely, you can see each piece of tape in the above photo has been numbered. In order to get a consistent look on each nail, I planned where each strip of tape would go and at what angle it should be placed, so I could replicate it on each nail. The placement of each strip of tape is based on your own personal preference, but I started with Strip 1 (the strip of tape numbered 1) placed at the beginning of the nail bed where the silver stripe of polish that would be put down would begin at the vertical center of the nail bed. Strip 1 makes up the bottom border of the first silver stripe on the nail.

From there, I laid down the second strip of tape with a little overlap on Strip 1. I did this before placing Strip 3, so I could judge how wide the gap between each silver stripe of polish would be. I then laid Strip 3 (the top most strip of blue painter's tape) down, judging how wide the gap to fill with polish would be in comparison to the gap in between the silver striping, remembering that the silver stripes have to be thin enough so that the silver lattice that will be over the mint background does not completely overtake the background polish.

Keeping in mind the size of the gap between Strips 1 and 3, begin laying down the other strips of tape until your whole nail is covered. Remember to press down on the tape strips to keep the second color of polish from spreading under the tape and leaving a mess. Do this process one nail at a time until Step 2 has been completed on all the fingers you wish to use this manicure on.

Step 3 can be enlarged to see detail. (The detail is that little tiny star at the top of the nail bed.)

Step 3 is a repeat of Step 2, except you have flipped the direction your silver stripes will be going in to the opposite direction. (Click the image to enlarge it.) The tiny star that is present on Strip 1 of the tape (refer to Step 2 to get a refreshment on the number order of the tape strips, if needed) meets the first silver stripe on the nail bed, where Strip 1 and the silver stripe make a 90 degree angle.

Following the same pattern of how you laid down the tape strips in Step 2, lay down each tape strip, remembering to have the tape pieces that mark off the gap where the silver polish will go parallel to each other, so the striping stays even.

After you have completed Step 3 on all the desired nails, your nails will look like the above picture (especially if you have used the same nail lacquers). To get a "clean" look and to make sure the manicure and all the layers of polish stay put, put a layer of top coat on your nail once you are sure the second color of polish is dry.

And this is the final look! It is a bit more time consuming than some of the other Nail Designs I have shown, but if you try it, I can assure you that you won't want to take it off! You can even go a step further to add little gemstone decals if you like at the points where the silver striping meets. One...or a bunch...or none at all to keep the look more simplified.

Thanks for stopping by and checking out this nail design! I hope this tutorial has been helpful.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

ND9: Mermaid Tails and Fish Scales

Nail Design Number Nine is Mermaid Tails and Fish Scales...or Mermaid Scales and Fish Tails...or even Tales. Either way this is a design reminiscent of both those scaly creatures.

The Little Mermaid Statue in Copenhagen.

image from

And the players for this Nailish Masquerade:

China Glaze's Towel Boy Toy. A neon polish with a hint of shimmer. The perfect polish to layer over because it dries matte (and thus, you'll know exactly when it is dry).

Sinful Colors Rise and Shine. A green polish that is quite similar in nature to Towel Boy Toy, as it has a hint of shimmer to it and dries to a matte-like finish. This polish is a really great find, in my opinion, because at $2US you could wear this polish alone with two coats and have complete coverage with a finish similar to more expensive brands.

Zoya Charla. This is the polish that really makes this manicure design! Like a mermaid in a bottle, this polish is a beautiful combination of blue/green flakes that shine different shades of each color depending on the lighting. While I'd say you need to run and get this while you still can for its extraordinarily beautiful properties, if you cannot get your hands on this Zoya polish, OPI has one that is quite does Orly...and Essence.

Step 1 is simply laying down the first color of polish.

This is two coats of Towel Boy Toy by China Glaze. But don't be fooled - that shiny finish you see in the photo was not a result of fast photo taking before the polish dried, I added a coat of Seche Vite Top Coat before I started the next step.

And here is where the blue painter's tape comes in!

For each nail you will need to cut two relatively straight pieces of painter's tape. The width of each stripe does not matter, what matters is the angle of each cut. You need to be cautious when cutting each strip of tape that you don't inadvertently cut the strip of tape so that it is no longer parallel to the other edge.

With your two separate strips of tape, match them together at one end, where the two tape pieces will form a 90 degree angle. The corners of the tape will help you match up one edge to the other, because the lengthwise end of one strip of tape will back up to the other strip of tape where the first strip of tape will be cornered in by the second strip of tape (as seen in the photo above).

Now once you get the hang of step two, we can move on to Step 3. You will be using a total of 4 pieces of tape for this part.

What we are doing here is creating an arrow-point look with Charla, so you are going to begin this step by laying down first one strip of tape right where the green polish meets the blue polish (I started with the right side), and then on the other side of the chevron tip created by the green polish you are going to lay down another piece of tape that will section off that side (my left side shown in the picture above), so that on each side when we paint over the green it will just be barely touching the blue polish, and thus leave us with a more blended-type look between the three separate shades of polish.

Next, we will be repeating the same pattern as Step 2, where we will be creating a 90 degree angle with two strips of tape, and this will go at the bottom edge of the nail to create the other side of the arrow that we will fill in with our third color of polish.

And there we have the final look! Just add a top coat and you are good to go!

On another note, I consider the Zoya polish a glitter polish because it has glitter polish like qualities (such as the fact that it was a pain to remove), so be aware with one of these polishes with this type of finish, you may have to put some effort into completely removing this look - so feel free to wear it for a few days longer than normal!

Well, I hope you were inspired by this twist on a chevron-tip design. Have you tried something like this before? Do you adore the mermaid colored polish as much as I do? Let me know your thoughts....

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Guest Blogging at Babbling Brooke!

Hello lovely nail polishers!

The ever lovely and fabulous Brooke of Babbling Brooke invited me to do a Guest Blogging post on her wonderful nail blog. If you feel so inclined, go stop by her blog and check out the tutorial for Nail Design 8: Icicles!

Have a lovely (and lacquered) day!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

ND7: Starburst

No...nothing to do with the candy. Nail Design 7 is the Starburst Design.

You know, like a starburst in the sky?

image from

Although, this design looks more like the starbursts we come to know from graphic design that look kind of like flat pinwheels.

image from

This is a great design to try out one of those amazing glitters from the OPI Burlesque collection that are set to release in stores in November (or are currently available online). Though any glitter polish or other layering type of polish will work for this manicure!

For this design, I chose China Glaze Towel Boy Toy as a base color. I really like the subtle shimmer this polish has, and because it is a neon it dries matte, so you can tell when it's dry - which works perfect for layering nail art on top of it.

The glitter polish I used for the overlaying Starburst Rays is Absolutely Alice by OPI. A bit hard to find now (or way too expensive online to want to consider), so OPI's Simmer & Shimmer would probably work similarly. If you want a similar look, go for a dense glitter that is made up of smaller sized glitter particles. If you want to try a different look, Deborah Lippmann's Across the Universe might be interesting to use (and cute for the name - you know, 'Universe' in a 'Starburst' mani?). Feel free to play around with layering options!

And finally, you'll need a clear polish (and some rhinestones). The clear polish will be used to set the star jewels on each nail.

Step 1 is simply painting the base color you have chosen. If you are in a rush or your base polish is more slower drying, you might want to put a quick-drying top coat over this layer to speed up the process.

Here is two coats of Towel Boy Toy. This polish dried relatively quickly, and as previously mentioned, it was easy to see when the polish was dry enough to move onto the next step because when dry the finish on this polish was matte.

Step 2 is only a bit complicated. What you want to do is cut a square (or 10 - one for each nail) from your roll of blue painter's tape.

On each square, using a straight edge of some type, connect the corners, and then draw a cross through the square. This should total 4 separate lines you've had to draw. Then on every other triangle you've created within your square (there are 8 small triangles total), place a dot or some kind of marker to show that every other triangle has been marked.

Then cut on the line creating the eight smaller triangles.

What you will be doing is using the marked triangles to recreate the same shape on your nail without the blank triangles - which is where the second color of nail polish (or glitter) will go on the nail. You are only using four triangles out of each of the eight that will be cut.

*Note: It helps to cut the triangles out and then lay them down on a notecard or magazine (some surface that gives you enough space and that you don't mind sticking tape onto), in the square shape they were originally in before you cut them up, so you know exactly where to place each triangle on your nail.

Whew! Step 2 is complete, and now all you have to do is add the decals in the center of your nails. I used star jewels I picked up at my local beauty supply store, but if you have star shaped glitter or just a round diamond-type gem that works too. The point is to cover up the center where the Sunburst Rays originate from because it covers any gaps between your second color of polish (the glitter polish).

So, simply place a dot of your clear polish at the center point where all the Starburst Rays meet and lay the star down in the still-wet clear polish. For Step 3, you do not have to wait until Step 2 is completely dry. Adding the jewel will make no difference.

Step 4 is simply adding a top coat. This step is more important if you have used gemstones of any type that are 3-dimensional because they can snag on things and tend to not stay on very long unless you put a top coat layer over the whole design to seal it all in.

Tah-Dah! You've now completed the Starburst manicure look. What do you think? Would you wear this design? I actually wore this to a birthday party during the summer. It was something fun and bright for a summer bash, but I think you could rock this manicure any time of the year!

Feel free to let me know if you try this design or have tried something similar. I hope ND6 and 7 have given you ideas for using glitter polishes and decals. With this holiday season coming up there are so many great glitter polishes out, I could see making alternating red and green starbursts over a simple silver background with a Christmas Tree decal or something similar at the center point. What about you?