Sunday, 31 March 2013

Cartoon Nails with Faux Half-tone

Cartoon nails are a big thing right now. I've seen them all over the place, and I find them impossibly cute. Very clever was the person who thought this up! Triztron over at Instagram wanted to see me do cartoon nails, and I happened to have prepared this post anyway! (I'm not sure this is what she had in mind-- she is very talented at doing cartoons ON her nails-- but I can give that a shot sometime soon, too!) And because I don't like making my life easy, I thought it'd be neat to do an accent nail of a half-tone like pattern.

The cartoon nails themselves were very straightforward and I'm sure there are a bajillion tutorials up on YouTube by now, but the basic premise is to paint your nails black, then paint them the colour you want (leaving a border around the tops and sides), then adding the black stripe at the bottom, followed by the shine marks in white.

For the half-tone, I found a picture online and tried to replicate it. It didn't work. In fact, it didn't work even a little, but I like the look anyway. Sort of macro-looking. I used two jellies for this, along with a bright fuchsia and black acrylic paint.

Polishes used:
Nfu Oh - JS20
Zoya - Frida, Charisma
GOSH - Nero
OPI - Jade is the New Black, Nail Envy Matte (base coat)
Revlon Top Speed - Spirit
INM - Out the Door (top coat)
black & white acrylic paint + detailing brush

Do you like this look at much as I do?


Friday, 29 March 2013

Sketches in Geometry Class

I hated geometry. I'm not the world's most maths-inclined person, but I'm especially resistent to geometry-- I nearly failed that segment of the curriculum in grade 9, only to score nearly perfect on the trigonometry segment. My teacher was very confused.

All that said, in my never-ending quest to use all of my jelly polishes, all of the time, I came up with this idea:

For this look, I started with a base of Spirit and Funny Bunny, which I topcoated to help it dry faster. In the meantime, I cut geometric shapes out of paper to which I'd stuck tape. These templates allowed me to colour in the jelly shapes and, once those were dry, use a pared-down striping brush to produce the messy, sketchy 3D-sort-of lines in black acrylic paint.


The pinkie is my favourite <3

Polishes used:
Revlon Top Speed - Spirit
OPI - Funny Bunny
Nfu Oh - JS20, JS28, JS29, JS34
Zoya - Frida
INM - Out the Door (top coat)
black acrylic paint + striping brush

Are you a maths type, or not at all? Any time a class or subject really just kicked yer butt?


Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Tutorial: Jelly Watercolour Nails


By popular demand over at Instagram, here is a rudimentary tutorial for the jelly watercolour nails I showed you last Saturday.

We begin with two coats of the base colour (I used Funny Bunny), followed by two generous coats of a thick quick-dry topcoat such as Seche Vite or Poshé. The topcoat is important, as it protects the base colour from bleeding during the watercolouring. The base colour doesn't need to be perfect (i.e. if you use a jelly like I did, don't worry too much about unevenness) because it will largely be covered up in the end. Wait until the topcoat is very dry, or else adding other polishes and/or acetone to it will cause it to behave strangely and perhaps go all sticky/mushy.

Gather all the jellies you want to use, plus a flat brush (I used my small one-stroke brush). The brush needs to have a good-sized flat surface but the shape of the tip doesn't matter.

This one stroke brush is stained from the love of projects past. And that sounds gross now that I've typed it.

Dab a few rounded spots of your first jelly colour onto your nail, then dip your brush in pure acetone and dab the side of the brush onto your jelly spots. This is important! Do not use the tip of the brush, you'll just dig into the jelly and cause bald spots. The key is to dab with the side of the bristles so that the acetone and the jelly polish mix and the resulting liquid can be 'dabbed around' the nail. This is hard to explain, but hopefully that gives you an idea!

I have my brush angled up here because I was trying to show the pale orange liquid that formed when the jelly polish and the acetone mixed. If you dab like this, you'll remove your entire spot from your nail, or else just maim it a lot!!

This is what I ended up with after dabbing around my orange spots:

Now I'll just show you before and after shots of each of the other colours of jellies. The process is the same for each.

Once you've gone through all of your jelly colours, wait until they are dry -- this shouldn't take very long, you won't have used much polish and the acetone will speed things up -- and then clean up your cuticles with an angled brush and acetone, topcoat your creation, and you're done!

Please let me know if you have any questions at all, I'll do my best to be helpful. :)

The list of the polishes I used is in my other post, right here.


Monday, 25 March 2013


Hello! Today we have sun (though it is still cold), and to celebrate the sun after about a week of snowy dreariness, I did up a cloud mani in which the tips are actually clouds:

This manicure refused to photograph properly in the lightbox, so I don't have my usual picspam for you. (Whether this is a good or bad thing is up to you!) To do this, I began with a base of Grey-t to Be Here. Once dry, I used my striping tape to mark off the lines you see, and painted in the beams with a variety of jellies. Once all the tape was removed, I painted the sun (it's actually 4 separate colours, of which you can see all of 2 in the pictures, weep) and then cloud tips, followed lastly by the little birds.

I despise flash photos, makes my fingers look all shiny, but this way you can see the shimmer in the base colour peeking through the jellies. This was more noticeable in person and very pretty!

Lastly, a close-up of Grey-t to Be Here, so you can see the flake shimmer more clearly. It's predominantly pink, but technically duochrome, going golden at acute angles. Because the shimmer is small-particle, however, that shift is pretty well imperceptible on the nail.

Polishes used:
Essence - Grey-t to Be Here, Fortune Cookie
Nfu Oh - JS20
Zoya - Katherine
OPI - Houston We Have a Purple, Y'All Come Back Ya Hear?, Funny Bunny
American Apparel - Sunshine State
Revlon Top Speed - Electric
Quo by Orly - Lemon Drop
Sally Hansen Complete Salon Manicure - Lavender Cloud
Contrary Polish - Hallelujah (limited edition mini; sent out with the full set of Love Lyrics minis)
GOSH - Nero

Back to the polish with me!


Sunday, 24 March 2013

SIMPLE(R) SUNDAY: Fleur-y of Flowers with Purple Holo Stripe

I recently discovered a new-to-me polish brand from Canada: Tryst Lacquers. I snapped up Jaded, Fleur-y of Flowers, and Just a Crush. I've used Jaded by now (it's the background to my Yoda), and today I'm using Fleur-y of Flowers. I really can't say enough about how much I love these polishes. They are what happens when you take lovely crellies and mix in the perfect amount of micro and micronic glitter-- complexity without being overwhelming. I've included a bottle shot at the bottom to show you just how complex this pretty is.

I started with two easy coats of Fleur-y of Flowers (two medium coats or three very thin coats gives perfect opacity, and it self-levels well). Because I love the polish so much, I wanted it to be the spotlight, so I kept the accent nails bare. I then taped off the middle sections of my other fingers, and painted on stripes of (top to bottom) Euphoria, Lady of the Lake, and Misty Blush-- all purple-toned holographic polishes.

As it were, I am terrible at taping straight vertical lines on my nails, because they were a hot mess. I touched the sides up with my detailing brush.

To get an idea of the holographic goodness, we need flash!

As you can tell, Misty Blush is the most holographic of the three, and is a linear holographic. Lady of the Lake is a scattered holo, and Euphoria is a linear, though more subdued.

Here is a crappy phone pic to show you how this looked in the sun. It manages to be very eye-catching while still being very simple.

Lastly, that bottle shot I promised you. The frosty pale blue glitters are amazing, and the multitude of micronic glitter get me every time: black, blue, red, silver, gold... Just masterfully mixed, this polish.

Polishes used:
A England - Lady of the Lake
Layla - Misty Blush
OPI - Nail Envy Matte (base coat)
INM - Out the Door (top coat)

Thanks for reading, as always! I hope to cook up some really neat stuff for you this next week or two.


Saturday, 23 March 2013

Jelly Watercolour Nail Art

Today's look is not exactly how I imagined it would turn out, but it's not bad for a first attempt. :) I've long wanted to do the watercolour technique (wherein you dab on nail polish then use them as watercolours, except with acetone instead).

For this look, I started with a base of two generous coats of Funny Bunny, which I topped with two generous coats of Poshé; this protects the base colour from the effects of the acetone. I then dabbed on Y'All Come Back, Ya Hear? and spread them around with acetone until I was happy. I did the same with Guy Meets Gal-veston, Houston We Have a Purple, Katherine, and Frida.

I started on this hand and kept these nails simpler than the ones on my right hand. I'm not sure which look I prefer.

Once the colour dabs were dried, I covered them in another coat of Poshé. Somewhat annoyingly, the brush I was using for the watercolouring had previously been used in a foil polish, so there are little bits of microglitter in this mani that I wasn't anticipating. (Most noticeable if you zoom the above and check out the ring finger.)

Not content to leave well enough alone, I decided to try the water-spotting technique overtop:

To do this technique, you drop polish into a cup of water (use a glass cup, or a disposable plastic cup) and then, when it has spread out, you spritz the surface of the water with hairspray/perfume/hand sanitizer so that the polish starts glomming together and opening up holes, as above. You then dip your fingers into the design, remove the excess floating on the surface of the water with a cotton swab, and then spend roughly a million years cleaning up the excess polish on your skin! Yay!

This was my first time doing it, so the results are not ideal (hello, pinkie, you pain in the hiney). Through trial and error, I found that my perfume in a travel atomizer worked the best (that's what produced the index and middle fingers).

Polishes/supplies used:
OPI - Nail Envy Matte (base coat), Funny Bunny, Y'All Come Back Ya Hear?, Guy Meets Gal-veston, Houston We Have a Purple
Zoya - Katherine, Frida
INM - Out the Door (top coat)
Poshé (top coat)
pure acetone + small paintbrush

I think tomorrow will be something simpler. I'll institute Straightforward Sunday. :)


Friday, 22 March 2013

World Water Day 2013

Today is World Water Day! Which, in light of all the attempts to privatise water, rampant pollution, major oil spills, and the general business of catering to humanity (hello, agriculture!), is super relevant. Super important.

EWWWW FLASH (I'm so sorry!)

The theme for this year is water cooperation. For this mani, I tried to put two hands underwater, reaching for each other. Interestingly, this works just fine in person, but the darker of the two skin tones refuses to show in my lightbox, which explains the use of flash photos (yuck). I've included a couple of crappy photos to try to give you an idea of what this looks like, but I remain mostly dissatisfied with the outcome. I'll have to do better next year! ;)

This was the only way to get the other hand to show up!!

I did all of the painting with nail polishes, on a base of Across the Universe, one of my favourite polishes ever, for obvious reasons:

 I hope we all put our heads together to make sure that we keep water as safe, as available, and as protected as possible. It's so critical!

Polishes used:
Deborah Lippmann - Across the Universe
NYColor - Fashion Safari
Revlon Brilliant Strength - Dominate
Nfu Oh - JS29, JS34
OPI - Funny Bunny
Revlon Top Speed - Spirit
Nail Pattern Boldness - Glitter Food
INM - Out the Door (top coat)
Poshé (top coat)


Thursday, 21 March 2013

Magnolia Blossoms Nail Art

I've been seeing a lot of cherry blossoms in nail art nowadays-- a very classic springtime motif!-- and I wanted to take a shot at one-stroke flower painting. So I put two and two together and opted for magnolias, which are among my favourite flowers (the list is very short; it also includes chrysanthemums and tulips).

I am, incidentally, TERRIBLE at one-stroke flowers. I will need very much more practice. So I ended up going over my flowers with my detail brush rather heavily, and they don't resemble the technique at all anymore. One-stroke is haaaaard.

That being said, the overall effect of these isn't terrible. For my first time doing florals, I suppose I should be happy. :P I will keep working on it until I get to where I want to be. Unless I give up first, which is a distinct possibility. So many shiny things to try!


I started with a base of Fiver, which is a strange polish, not like most of the butter LONDON's I've used before. It didn't self-level very well (or, well, at all). So, it's one of those polishes with which you either have to do two very thick coats, and hope for the best, or else do three very thin coats with plenty of waiting time in-between. It is a lovely colour, though, and I shouldn't complain about the formula too much, pastels like this can be such a chalky nightmare.


Polishes / supplies used:
butter LONDON - Fiver
Poshé (top coat)
PVA glue (peel-off base coat)
acrylic paints
one-stroke nail art brush
detail nail art brush

I received nail mail today! Some of the Jelly Syrups I've been waiting for finally arrived (almost 3 weeks later), and I already know what I'll first be doing with them. Probably for my next post. :)


Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Distressed Patchwork Nail Art

Hey there!

I have a simple but extremely effective mani for you today. The 'patchwork' look has been around for a long time, but I was finally prompted to try it by Jeanette's gorgeous take on it over at The Swatchaholic. Hers is way, way, way, way³ more beautiful than mine. Her skill is as perfect as her nails are as perfect as her photography-- go check it out!

In the meantime, here are my efforts. :)

The colours show up best in the shade.

For this look, I started with a base of one coat of Filthy Rich, and then dabbed on the remaining colours in a way that seemed to make sense/balance everything out. I used all foil polishes with the exceptions of Filthy Rich (microglitter), Mermaid's Dream (microglitter in a frosty base), and Smolder (shimmer). I went over the dabs twice for texture and opacity.


It involved a bit of clean-up at the end, but nothing serious. It's an extremely easy technique since it requires no tools other than the brushes that come with the nail polishes themselves!

Here are close-ups of Smolder and Mimi because I felt like the patchwork didn't really show their true awesomeness. Smolder has a deep beautiful shimmer that is actually duochrome (goes golden at sharp angles, could not capture it on camera). Mimi is a royal purple foil that has a hidden bright turquoise shimmer that caught me totally off-guard!

L-R: Smolder, Mimi.  Sorry about the crap clean-up, these were painted & tidied with my non-dominant hand. :)

Finally, I leave you with a purposely blurry shot to show you the shiny glory of the foil polishes. Even though you don't use very much for this technique (it works best when you take off almost all of the polish on the brush), it still packs a lot of colour punch!

Polishes used:
Quo by Orly - Filthy Rich
Zoya - Ivanka, Mimi
Spa Ritual - Conduit, Rusted Lux
Deborah Lippmann - Mermaid's Dream
Poshé (top coat)

Have you ever tried this look? If not, you really should. It looks super-lovely in jewel tones, brights, pastels... any given colour family. Just keep an eye out for light/dark and colour balance!

Until next time!


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Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Traffic Cone Easter Eggs!

These were not supposed to be Easter eggs. They were just supposed to be a palate-cleanser after all the intense cross-eyes-inducing painting I've been up to over the last few days.

I wanted to try out a horizontal version of a simple but really striking look I'd seen over at Chalkboard Nails: Sarah's Reptilian Dot Nail Art. Instead, I just have the world's brightest, most orange Easter eggs gracing my fingertips.

There is no grass in this winter wasteland I call home; this blanket will have to suffice.

I began with a base of Sarychev, with which I am officially in LLLOOOOOVVVEE. Oh, it's so gorgeous. It's also quite sheer, and I would have stopped at 3 coats if I didn't have nail bruises on my left hand from a drawer mishap last month. I like my jellies squishy, which typically involves them being slightly less than opaque. At 4 coats, which is what I used here, it's opaque but also quite thick.

I then taped off the upper halves of my nails and painted This New Sun on the bottom halves (one good coat was plenty). I'm excited to try this polish on its own sometime. I then whipped out my dotting tools and came to realize that I suck at dotting. They're all different sizes!! The large size dots are Cu Blue, which is another polish that deserves its own post; it looks purplish here but is actually a royal blue jelly with major copper shimmer! The small dots on the bottom are Action, which I doubled-up on for opacity but that still didn't quite go according to plan.

The opalescence of the Mylar shows up best in the shade-- these are actually translucent orange circles, not green!

The upper 'dots' are Mylar rounds from the Born Pretty store, which I stuck on with little dabs of topcoat. Positioning these in a way where they were even remotely in line was the hardest part of this look. The second-hardest part was making sure that I was picking up only 1 round at a time instead of several clinging together.

Sorry about the weird background, this was the best sun-shot by a mile. Look at the lusciousness of Sarychev! Look at the juicy glimmer of This New Sun! Man, I love orange polish.

That Mylar round is winking at you!

Polishes/supplies used:
Elevation Polish - Sarychev
Pahlish - This New Sun
Girly Bits - Cu Blue
Essie - Action
Born Pretty Store - mini Mylar rounds
OPI - Nail Envy Matte (base coat)
INM - Out the Door (top coat)
Poshé (top coat)

I have so many ideas for what to do next, we'll see how many I can get done before I run out of steam! ;)


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