The Ice Wall

The Ice Wall 1

Been watching a lot of rock climbing-related media these days, so presumably that’s why these nails, which I had intended to mimic this sort of gemstone-type look, came out looking less like sapphires and more like an imposingly impassable ice wall.  Except even that’s a pretty tenuous connection – none of the movies I’ve been watching (Free Solo, The Dawn Wall on Netflix) have featured ice climbing, which is fantastic.  Really, who wants to cling to the edge of a geological feature thousands of feet in the air, engaged in a batshit activity that taxes every ounce of physical and mental strength you can muster, AND be freezing cold at the same time?  Not this person!

Yup, these nails are super ice cave-y.  It’s the rich, almost icy indigo blues I chose – it’s a very deep, layered, frosty kind of look.  Very pretty, but not at all a sapphire.  One for the “Try it Again” files, methinks (whilst cold weather climbing in general can go straight into the “Try it Never” files.  Maybe just climbing in general – as much as I’m enjoying these movies, I’m not sure I’m ever going to be on board with any activity that will most likely end in my Wile. E. Coyote-esque death.) 😉

The Ice Wall 2

 

Amethyst-y!

Purple 1

That’s a big Buffy-ism – tacking a “Y” onto the end of any word, not to describe a thing, but the general state of a thing.  So this manicure, which looks like a purple gemstone caught somewhere between an amethyst and a tanzanite, definitely qualifies as an entry in the suffix chapter of Buff’s Good Guide to Grammar.  The little round studs up by my cuticles are natural seashell gems I picked up from Daily Charme.  They come in all sorts of colours and mimic the look of natural gemstones.  I liked these blue/purple stones best, so that’s why they came home with me!

I did these nails using exactly the same marbling technique as this manicure from the other day.  I just switched up the polishes, using three purple lacquers (a pale lilac creme, a chromatic periwinkle and a deep purple holo), highlighting the “fissures” with a glittery purple topper.  Aw man, I’m really going to have to do that tutorial now, as these are too easy to keep to myself, but also just a touch too hard to describe simply with words.  You know, in a grammar-y-type fashion. 😉  Keep a look out for that one in the coming days, should you be interested in how to create a super high impact, ultra low effort mani.

Purple 2

What a Gem

What a Gem 1

Three years ago when I began really immersing myself in the world of nail art, I swore to myself (and others!) that I wasn’t going to become one of those nail artists who piles a bunch of lumpy embellishments all over her nails.  Flash forward a few years and I’ve adorned my nails with various 3D adornments two days in a row now. At least it’s good to know I’m consistent in my inconsistencies.

But it’s hard not to waffle a bit (or a lot – also, oooh, waffles) when you’re dealing with nail art supplies as pretty as these tiny purple gemstone studs I recently purchased from Daily Charme.  Here I paired four of the mother of pearl-type studs with a similarly beautiful (and colour-changing) lacquer, Polish Me Silly’s green-to-turquoise-to-purple multi-chrome, Obsession.  Quite the gem.

What a Gem 2

Semi-Precious Stones: A Tutorial

Semi-Precious Stones TutorialI did a manicure the other day using a technique I’ve seen described as both the smoke effect and the lightning effect. Nomenclature aside, it all amounts to the same thing, even if you’re calling them, say, semi-precious stone nails, as I am in this little tutorial (which is my first real foray into the world of share and share alike, by the way.) If you’d like to play along at home, start in the upper right-hand corner and go across, one row at a time. I think the overall effect looks a lot like one of those gorgeously colourful and delicately veined semi-precious stones like Malachite or Amethyst, and they’re really not the least bit complicated – not much effort for maximum impact, as all good things should be. Ready? Let’s get into this thing!

1. Begin by painting your nails with two coats of a lush, gemstone-hued polish. Here I used China Glaze’s Four Leaf Clover, which reads far more blue in these photos than its true neon jade colour. It diminishes the green Malachite-type effect I was going for only just slightly.

2. Once dry, dip a tiny detail brush in a pastel, complimentary-coloured polish (here I used China Glaze’s pale green Re-Fresh Mint), and working one nail at a time, paint on a design that looks a bit like a ragged chain of lightning. I started my chain from a different point on each nail just to vary things up, as this type of design looks best when it’s a wee bit undone.

3. Immediately dip a flat-headed brush in nail polish remover and lightly dab it over the pastel design. What you’re trying to do here is blur any harsh lines and spread the design around a bit, giving it the overall effect of a cracked piece of gemstone. If you goof, you can always wipe it off and start over or widget together a bit of patchwork after the fact. But try not to natter away at one spot for too long, because you’ll wipe it bare with acetone (I know of that which I speak!)

4-5. Going one nail at a time, repeat steps 2 and 3 on your remaining nails.

6. When you’re done, your nails will look as though they’ve been marbled. You could slap a bit of top coat on at this point and call it a day, but we’re not done yet!

7. Once again taking your tiny detail brush and another darker complimentary polish (here I used Cover Girl’s Constant Caribbean, a dark turquoise metallic), paint on a few ultra fine lines in a jagged pattern to mimic the rich veins of colour that run through semi-precious stones. Tidy up any bits where you coloured outside the lines, top with an ultra smoothing top coat like Seche Vite and voila, you’re done!Semi-Precious Stone Hand

Stained Glass Gemstones: A Tutorial

Stained Glass Gemstones: A Tutorial

A couple of days ago I posted one of my better nail art efforts, a stained glass design done with a clutch of rainbow hued polishes outlined in black. They proved to be pretty popular (fact: designs done in rainbow colours are always everybody’s favourites, always) and blessedly easy, so I was more than happy to oblige when a reader asked me to post a tutorial laying out exactly how I worked my lacquered magic. And so I have! Not only that, but it’s my first tutorial. Welcome to the dream factory, friends. 😉

However, as I’m not a huge fan of duplicating my designs (I like to keep it fresh, yo) I didn’t use the same colour-saturated polishes and black outlining as I did with the stained glass nails, instead opting for a pastel, almost gemstone-esque look. And though the technique didn’t change one iota between the two designs, I don’t think the white outlining is as successful as the black (truly, these wound up looking more like Milla Jovovich’s bandage suit in The Fifth Element than I care to admit.) Still, it goes to show that this is a design that can be easily modified to take on variety of fun and different effects through nothing more complicated than a polish change.

Now on with the show!

1. Choose Your Weapon – Begin by rounding up your supplies. For these nails I used a (sort of tattered) fine point detail brush, a white nail art pen and four pastel cream polishes. (Note: for the rainbow stained glass nails I used 20 different polishes, four colours per nail, which really helped contribute to the overall look of etched, coloured windowpanes.)

2. Lay a Foundation – Next, brush on a base coat. Here I used a sheer white polish in lieu of a more traditional clear base coat simply because my nails are so discoloured through an abundance of nail art-ing, the white brings them back in line with my natural nail colour.

3. Dive Right In – After choosing whatever colour you’d like to begin with (I dab a small amount of polish out onto a clean, empty DVD case, actually, instead of an artist’s palette), take your detail brush, dip it into your polish and then, working one nail at a time, outline and fill in the geometric shapes of your choosing. I find triangles and lopsided squares the easiest to execute, but two isosceles triangles forming a rhombus would be good, too (sorry, lame The World’s End joke there.) The bottom line is there is no wrong shape. Anything with an edge will do.

4. Movin’ On Up – Repeat the process with your second colour, either snugging the geometric bit up against a neighbour or afloat on its own. Try to have a vague idea of how you’d like your design to work out, if only so the same colour doesn’t touch. This is less likely if you use four (or more) colours, but if you’re only using three, it’ll require a smidge of advance planning.

5. Fill in the Blanks – Continue to repeat the process with your third and fourth polishes. Don’t worry about any little overlaps or slightly wobbly lines – they’ll be covered up by the outlining. Depending on how many polishes you use and how big you make your random geometric shapes, you may need to fill in a spot or two with a previously used colour.

6. Seal the Deal – When everything has been nicely filled in, top with a high shine top coat like Seche Vite to smooth out any lumps and bumps.

7. The End of Our Tale – Finally, taking your nail art pen, outline each of your little geometric shapes. Voila, you’re done! Now stand back and admire.