The second-to-last daily theme in the 31 Day Nail Art Challenge (holy cats, we’re almost there!) is a tutorial. In the three years that I’ve been participating in this challenge, I’ve never fully understood whether the prompt calls for you to follow another nail artist’s tutorial or create one of your own. But seeing as I really don’t do that many tutorials to begin with (pretty well every second one would have to start with “Step 1: Develop an unhealthy obsession with the movie Beetlejuice”) I thought I’d try my hand (and nails) at a little how-to.
I received a lot of positive comments on these Suicide Squad nails I posted some months back, with a few folks asking how I did the punky-looking streaked bits on my index and pinkie fingers. Well, here’s exactly how (with allowances for a different colour palette. You, of course, can choose any darn colour combination you’d like, though if you’re partial to the sort of metallic graffiti-type look of this particular manicure, you’ll need to include a foil-type metallic and a basic black.)
1. Begin by rounding up your rogues’ gallery of polishes and brushes. For this manicure I used a single, small, flat-headed brush and six different polishes, OPI’s Sailing & Nail-ing, a pale turquoise creme, OPI’s My Signature is “DC”, a shimmery silver foil, A England’s Crown of Thistles, a plummy holo, A England’s Whispering Waves, a turquoise holo, Polish Me Silly’s Paradise, a turquoise-to-green-to-purple multi-chrome, and a basic black creme (not shown.)
2. Lay down three coats of a pale base polish, or however many it takes to reach full opacity. Here I used OPI’s Sailing & Nail-ing, a pale, robin’s egg blue.
3. Once dry, take your brush and gently dip it into the small blob of polish you’ve daubed out onto your artist’s palette. Or, if you’re me, you use the back of an old DVD case. Here I started with the purple holo, A England’s Crown of Thistles.
Take a quick peek at the polish on your brush; if it seems like you maybe picked up a bit too much, simply dab it up and down on your palette a few times to remove the excess. Much like salting your food, dry-brushing is one of those areas where it’s better to start small and work your way up; you can always add more, but you can’t subtract.
Then, taking your nearly-dry brush, drag it straight down your nails from the cuticles to the tips. Or start in the middle of your nails and drag it downwards. Or start at the top and draw it down only halfway. This manicure is designed to look a lot undone, so there are no precise how-tos. And if you do accidentally stumble into a boo-boo, just remember that layered techniques like this one are super forgiving, and mistakes are easily rectified and covered up.
4. – 6. Repeat that exact same random, dry-dragging brushstroke with the remaining polishes, here silver My Signature is “DC” (4.), turquoise Whispering Waves (5.) and multi-chromatic Paradise (6.)
7. Add the black streaks, using an ultra light touch. Again, you can always add, but you can’t subtract. It’s important to keep that in mind when using black as an accent colour in your nail art.
Once dry, it’s time to assess your work. The goal here is not necessarily total coverage – it’s fine if the base polish is still peeking through a bit – but if that’s what you’re going for, repeat steps 3. to 7. as you see fit. Need more purple in that corner? Put more purple in that corner. Whoops, put too much purple in that corner? Cover it up with a bit of silver. In these two photos, you can really see where I added more of everything after layering on my first black bits.
8. Continue the random layering of your polishes until your masterpiece is complete. And if you’re anything like me, you’ll know you’ve reached that perfect level when you proceed to hurtle directly over it, add way too much polish and have to redo one nail entirely from scratch.
But once that’s dry, all that’s left to do is to seal in your work with a quick dry topcoat (I always use Seche Vite) and clean up any polish overage. Et voila, dry-brushed nails!
I hope you found this not-so-little tutorial instructive – are you feeling duly tutored? Because I’m feeling quite teacherly (not a word, I know.) As always, if you try this manicure yourself, I’d love to see your results! Happy nail art-ing (also not a word.)
10 thoughts on “Dry-Brushing: A Tutorial (31DC2016)”
Love the colour combo!
Oh yikes, another comment from a week ago – slacking on the responding department, I’m sorry!
And thank you – I thought these guys turned out pretty well.
No worries! Sometimes a comment is just that, no reply needed!
(p.s did you change/delete your instagram account?…)
I did! In that I deleted it, about three months ago? And at the time I was like, “I’m not going to make a big deal about telling everyone that I deleted my account, because that’s kind of obnoxious” but now I’m thinking that maybe I should have, because nobody knows that I’m gone! Of course, that also correlates to nobody knew I was there, hence the reason I took off (that and all the dramarama my favourite accounts devolved into.) Are you still IG-ing?
Awww, no way! Now I’m embarrassed for taking that long to properly notice. I’m terrible for not checking instagram every like two hours or something so it makes ‘catching up’ almost impossible as I follow probably too many people. I just thought I’d kept missing your designs, and fortunately with me checking wordpress every 2nd or 3rd day I knew you were okay and still existed.
I do indeed still IG but since it changed it’s format or whatever the techy word is, I’ve been finding that I’m having less interactions from people and a lot more spammy followers/likers.
No, don’t be embarrassed! I really didn’t make a big deal out of it (although now I’m sort of worried that my stuff is still kind of floating around out there, @-less.)
Maybe you’re speaking of the same algorithm-type thing that ultimately led to me leaving IG, but I noticed ’round about this time last year that my number of likes were way, way down and, like you, I was getting hit up with a lot of spammy-type stuff. Then over the next seven months my number of followers completely flatlined – I just kept gaining and losing the same 10 – 15 followers. Then some of my favourite accounts devolved into these total drama-filled hellscapes and I decided to just get the heck out of there already. I just didn’t like the atmosphere any more. Bummer.
I hear ya about the follower thing too. I do agree it’s just not as fun anymore.
I love this effect! Looks like abstract watercolour on the nails.
Oh goodness, you commented five days ago – so sorry for not responding, swear I’m not a tool (most of the time.)
And thank you! It’s a pretty fun technique that’s super adaptable.
Just nominated you for the Real Neat Blog Award! Check out my link and have fun with it!