Thursday, October 31, 2013

Easy Tombstone Halloween Nail Art

Are you still looking for some last minute nail art for Halloween?  Well why not try some humorous Halloween Tombstone epitaphs on your nails?

Did you ever notice how technically, your nails are all ready shaped like mini tombstones?  Especially if you have square nails?  So all you have to do to begin painting your tombstones is grab some gray polish.

Unless you have some nice gray polish like NARS Storm Bird laying around, why not try mixing your own gray nail polish?  I picked up the recent release of Wet 'n Wild's Fantasy Makers Tombstone shaped polishes in Darkest Hour, the black creme of their collection.  For each bottle, I just dumped out at least half of the black polish to almost all of the black polish that was in the bottle, and then I poured in some white polish.  I used a nail wheel to swatch the color changes as I mixed the grays to make sure I had a light, medium, and dark gray, keeping in mind that the dark gray had to be light enough that text could be read on top of the color (so a color like NARS Galion may be too dark).

So, to begin, if you are using different gray lacquers, you can decide in which order you want to paint your nails - lightest to darkest, or any order of your choice.  Top with a quick dry top coat to speed up the drying process so you can move on to Step 2.  

Step 2 is where the nail art takes place.  For this easy nail art, I used Rub-on transfers.  The brand I bought was called Grafix Rub-Onz and comes in packs of 4 or more sheets.

To begin, with rub-on transfers, the way they work is that you will print your nail art on one side of a transfer sheet, and then you use a self-adhesive sticky sheet to separate the ink from the original sheet.  Keeping this in mind, with words you need to print them mirrored, so you will need to have some type of photo-editing software such as Photoshop.  I used Adobe InDesign to first create the epitaphs, and then flip each of them to their reverse image.  Also be aware, in the image below you can see that the writing is on a light gray background.  The reason for that is because when you transfer the image and then have it separate to rub it onto your nail, the ink separates from the background, so if you don't have a single background color your text is on, each of the letters will separate and you will have a separate nail transfer for each letter.  Note: that is not a good thing to have when the font is smaller than 12pt font to fit onto the nail bed.  And because the nail transfers are going on a gray background, the gray used on the nail transfers becomes less obvious.

Below you can see what it looks like when you separate the nail transfers and begin to cut them out.  For this brand of transfers, you need to cut on the boarder of the color (another reason for having a gray square background for the text), so that the image becomes separated from the original transfer material.  This step does not make much sense in words, but this transfer package I bought - as most of them do - comes with step-by-step instructions that you can follow that will explain each part of the process.

And now for Step 3 you are transferring your rub-on nail art onto the nails.  This step may take some practice.  If it helps, print out an extra set of transfers and try them on paper first to get a feel for how these transfer.  The backing of each transfer is hard thick velum, so it does not bend and conform to the shape of the nail that easily.  This makes it difficult to firmly press down and connect the transfer to the nail, but on the other hand, it also makes it easier to see at the corners of the transfer whether or not the nail art has transferred on to the nail.  The easiest way to tell this step is working, is that like a temporary tattoo, the image on the transfer becomes lighter as you rub it and it sticks to the opposing surface (of your nail), so if you see light patches on your transfer, that means it's working, and you may be able to peel away the transfer from the backing without having to keep trying to rub it off the paper.

The step above may take a little time, but if you go slowly and patiently, you'll eventually have the beginnings of your tombstones.  Now that you've utilized your transfers, you need to seal them in with top coat.  There is no dry time to wait for, so just start painting on the clear polish.

And the final step to making your tombstones look like they're made of stone?  Cover them with a matte top coat!  I chose Wax That… by Cult Nails because I was looking for that satin finish that would make them look like polished stone.

And here's the final product:


So, what do you think?  Have you already tried Halloween Tombstone Nail Art in some variation before?  Personally, I'm kind of happy that there were little ridges that showed up in the transfers because I think it adds to the ambiance - it makes the tombstones look old and cracked.  When you enlarge the image (just click on any image to make it bigger), you can see what I meant earlier about the gray background of the lettering.  It is only somewhat obvious on the lightest gray polish, but it still doesn't look out of place, since you'll just be layering gray over gray.

Honestly, five steps may sound like a lot, but when you break it down there is only really two steps:  painting your nails gray and then getting the nail art transfers onto your nails.

So do you think you'd try this nail art?  Have you already tried rub-on transfers for nail art?  Are you wearing nail art this Halloween?

Hope this post has left you with some ideas.  Have a happy Halloween!


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