Showing posts with label gray. Show all posts
Showing posts with label gray. Show all posts

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!

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Hearts for the 4th

Instead of stars and stripes, how about some hearts on your nails for the fourth of July?

This isn't a new idea by any stretch of the imagination, but now that you have all of those new texture polishes, what are you supposed to do with them?  Well, layering them over a jelly creates a nice effect for a start.

For this manicure you will need a red, a white, and a blue textured polish.  For a background color, I found a gray to be best - it's grungy enough to complement the unusual textures, while the translucency of the shade makes it soft enough to be combined with hearts.  Used here was Zoya Pixie Dust color Chyna for the red, Sally Hansen Sugar Coat in Sugar Fix for the white, and Nails Inc Denim Effect in Bermondsey (this last color is from the kit from Sephora, which is also apparent by the fact that the lid is silver and does not have the appealing denim-covered cap that the nail polish in the UK seems to have).  For the gray I used OPI in My Pointe Exactly.  Not pictured, you will also need a heart-shaped hole punch which can be found at your local craft store, such as Michael's.

For the first step, just paint on two to three coats of the jelly background polish, followed by a quick-drying top coat.  I used two coats here, but if the weather is hot where you are, go slow and use really thin coats to try to minimize bubbling that seems to happen especially when it is hot but also when you layer on thicker coats.  

Technically, Step 2 has a part A and a part B.  For the first part, part A, cut medium strips of painters tape and stick on a piece of thick cardstock, like an index card (shown here).  It makes it easier to remove and hole punch if you place each piece of tape close to an edge of the card where the hole punch can reach, and then if you leave about a quarter of an inch of tape off the side of the card, then you can easily peel it up after you have punched your hearts.

Also, since you are going to need ten hearts, it is likely you will need two index cards (or other piece of cardstock) unless you want to try to overlap a new piece of tape on an area of the cardstock you already punched a heart on.

Now for Part B of Step 2, cut each strip of tape into sections depending on how many hearts you have on each strip of tape so you have a separate heart for each nail.  Placing a heart directly in the center of your nail each time may be a little difficult to do for some, so instead of trying to place the heart directly in the center of your nail, place it towards the top or bottom of your nail.  Because painter's tape is more flexible and malleable than scotch clear tape, you can push down around the edges of your nail to get a feel for exactly where the heart is on your nail.

After smoothing down the piece of tape, paint on one coat of your chosen color of nail polish.  For texture polishes, I found it easier to show off the texture to its best advantage by brushing a few times in one direction on the nail, than brushing in a perpendicular direction on the nail.  This may lift off a bit of the polish, but it also brings the texture to the forefront of the layered polish and also makes sure you have enough polish on the nail so you don't have to do a second coat.  After quickly painting on the polish, immediately pull off the tape before the layered polish begins to dry, so you don't have any stringy edges of polish attempting to adhere to the tape rather than your nail.

Once you have painted a heart on all of your nails, you will have reached Step 3.

Step 3 is to simply let your nails dry without putting any top coat on top of your nails and thereby reducing your textured look, since the point is to have the texture stand out as best as possible.

So here you can see I did a pattern of one red nail, one white, and two blue.  My thumb would also be red, so only the white polish would have been used once for each hand.

What do you think of this use for your textured polishes?  Have you already used hole punches and tape to create easy to do nail art?  If you don't have a heart-shaped hole punch near you, you can refer to this tutorial, where I began by making hearts without a hole punch.  Scroll down to Step 2 to see how to make a heart without using a hole punch if you have trouble making the heart look even.  It was a comment on that tutorial that made me consider going out and buying a heart shaped hole punch, and as you can see, I caved and bought one!

So what are you wearing on your nails for the Fourth of July?  And if you don't live in the United States or don't celebrate this holiday, would you still try this easy nail art on your nails?  Would you use textured polish for it?

Thanks for stopping by!  Happy nail painting with painter's tape!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Wrapping Paper with Revlon

Here is a quick and easy Christmas nail design: Wrapping Paper (and using only Revlon polishes)!

Wrapping paper usually features a repeated pattern, and a red plaid pattern is perfect for Christmas nails!

image from

For this nail design five colors were needed. From left to right (all from Revlon): Mon Cherry, Crimson Shimmer, Comet, Carbonite, and Powder Puff.

Step 1: Paint on your base color. This is two coats of Powder Puff followed by a quick drying top coat to speed up the dry time. (Also, since the base color will be mostly covered up, two coats of any color should be sufficient, since streaking isn't noticeable under the colors that will go on top of this.)

For Step 2 (and Step 3 to follow), you will need to cut very thin strips of the blue painter's tape to begin the plaid pattern. In order to cut thin strips that are relatively even, it is easier to cut off a small section of painter's tape from the whole role (about 1 inch/2.5 cm) to then cut into the fine strips that will be used. After you have a small section of painter's tape cut from the roll, decide on how wide you want each strip of tape to be, then using the edge of the scissors as a guide for the width of the strip, press the tape strip onto the scissors so it sticks to one of the cutting-edges of the scissors. By pressing down the strip of tape onto the scissors - rather than holding the piece of tape with one hand to cut with the other - you can judge how little or how much of each tape section you want to cut off.

After cutting your consecutively small strips of tape, lay the strips down on each nail in a pattern where the negative space between the tape strips will repeat in a small-large pattern, where the small section is where Carbonite will be painted, while the large section is where Mon Cherry will be painted. Remember to paint one nail at a time, using first one color then the other, so that you can peel off the painter's tape as soon as you are done painting a nail to ensure a clean edge (that the nail polish will not dry and pull up with the painter's tape).

Step 3 uses the same small strips of tape as Step 2. Here you will lay the strips of tape going in the opposite direction as the strips in Step 2, so as to create the plaid effect. The easiest way to make sure the tape strips you are laying down go in the opposite direction of the original tape strips is to choose one or two main stripes of nail polish that you painted on in Step 2 and try to get these new tape strips to run perpendicular to those stripes, creating 90 degree angles.

Step 3 is the last application of color and uses the tinted/glitter polishes to lay over the other colors, so as to show the pattern through the polish to achieve the plaid look. If you are not using these specific Revlon polishes, look for polishes that are tinted/jelly-finish rather than a creme finish, so as to achieve the look of a real plaid pattern.

And here is the finished product:

Once you think your layers of polish are sufficiently dry, add a top coat!

So what do you think of this Christmas nail design? What are you wearing on your nails for Christmas?

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!