Saturday, July 5, 2014

Making Piet Mondrian Patriotic

Maybe you don't know of Piet Mondrian by name, but the artwork below will likely look familiar.  Mondrian's "Composition II in Red, Blue, and Yellow" is a well loved artwork and has been reproduced as patterns in fabric, handbags, and yes, nail art.

 image from

For this national holiday, I decided replacing the yellow with blue in recreations of Mondrian's most famous works would turn the designs into red, white, and blue compositions perfect for the patriotic feel of the 4th of July.

Nail lacquers used for this design (from left to right as shown above) are Coca-Cola Red by OPI, Regal by Illamasqua, Pacific Blue by Sally Hansen, While On by Sally Hansen, and Raven by Zoya.  You will also need painter's tape, scissors, tweezers, a black permanent marker, and a piece of card stock or scrap paper.

Begin by layering a smooth white polish on your nails.  I chose While On by Sally Hansen, but any white will do.  Finish with a quick drying top coat because you will be using painter's tape on top of the polish and need it to be completely dry in a short time to move on to Step 2.  (I waited a whopping two hours before moving on.  Just to be sure.)

Whip out the Scotch blue painter's tape for Step 2!

Remember that there will be black lines that "box off" each square of color in the final nail art, so for Step 2 the blue painter's tape will work in place of where those black lines will be.

Cut slim strips of blue painter's tape and begin by sectioning off each nail into geometric patterns with different sizes of rectangles that will be filled in with different colors.  Since the goal for this nail art is to make it look like a work by Piet Mondrian while keeping with the patriotic color scheme, each nail should have both red and blue on it.

Regal by Illamasqua dried quicker than the OPI and Sally Hansen colors, so I painted that on last.  Since three different lacquers are being used at one time per each nail, you must work quickly to fill in the squares before the nail polish gets too tacky and attaches to the painter's tape, then coming off when you pull off the painter's tape.

When moving on to Step 3, you can either choose to put a top coat on, or forgo top coat keeping in mind that you cannot add top coat after Step 3 (you'll see why in a minute).

For Step 3, you will still need the painter's tape, but now you will also need the permanent marker, tweezers, and card stock.  Rather than waiting for the nail polish you used in Step 2 to dry completely, you will be cutting the blue painter's tape into strips that are as wide or as narrow as needed to use as the black lines for the Mondrian nail art compositions you are creating.

After cutting a strip of blue painter's tape, place it on the piece of card stock leaving one edge of the tape free so you can easily peel off the tape later.  Color the tape in with your black permanent marker so that the strip of painter's tape is completely covered in black ink.  (While you may want to try painting the painter's tape with black nail polish - and that would work - remember that you will have to place the strips of tape on your nails and if you are waiting for the black nail polish to dry, it may smudge during placement, thus the reason for using a quick-drying permanent ink.)

For each black line you will be adding to your nail by way of the colored painter's tape, match one free edge of the painter's tape to the end/beginning on your nail of where that line will be.  Then you can easily see how long of a piece of painter's tape you will need, and you can cut off any excess colored painter's tape with your scissors.

Use your tweezers to pick up the small strips of painter's tape and place them on your nail.  You can also used the tweezers to push down on the colored strips of painter's tape so that it adheres securely to your nails.

Note: because you are not using black nail polish for the strips, you cannot add top coat after putting the colored strips of tape on your nails without the colored ink from the strips bleeding onto your nails. (Believe me on this - I tried it out just to check.  You'll end up with a gray mess.)

And now you have your final look!  Because we've used black tape instead of black nail polish, this nail art look is only temporary and will start to peel off a few hours later, but the adhesive from the tape does help this look last through dinner and a fireworks show!

So, what do you think of this look?  Have you tried coloring in tape that was not originally meant as nail art tape before?  Would you be willing to try using painter's tape for this purpose, or would you rather just buy nail striping tape?

Hope everyone in the States had a good 4th of July and that those of you that are international readers are enjoying your weekend!  (And don't forget - red, white, and blue are common flag colors - this look could work for many different national holidays across the globe!)


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