Be Our Guest Blogger!

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Happy Sunday, friends!  We’re sailing in completely uncharted waters today (is that right?  I really don’t know my boating metaphors) as the lovely Sarah of Life With Lil Red is playing kind blogging hostess to Finger Candy for my first ever guest post!  I’ve put together three easy, eye-catching manis for the autumn season – dotted leaves, pelting rain and sponged-on foliage – with full, step-by-step tutorials for each, and Sarah has all the deets here.  I hope you’ll pop on by her page to check out my contribution to her call for guest bloggers – it was a lot of fun to write with a slightly different audience in mind, one perhaps not so familiar with the weird world of nail art, and I enjoyed myself a lot. Thanks again, Sarah!

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Kitty in Stripes

Kitty in Stripes Hand

After posting a tutorial of my own yesterday, I thought it was high time to tackle another manicure from a Hello Kitty nail art book I was gifted over the holidays.  The first mani of the book was a classic Kitty desgin – red and white polka dots, yellow-nosed and red bow’d Kitty.

Kitty in Stripes Book.png

The second design of the book keeps things similarly simple, this time introducing bold horizontal stripes in the classic combo of black and white, with just the barest hints of candy floss pink and glittery gold accents. Another easy tutorial to follow, resulting in a very pretty Kitty, indeed!

Kitty in Stripes Up Close

Christmas Trees: A Tutorial

Tree Tutorial Collage.jpg

Easy, glittery trees, the Finger Candy way!

Step 1: (We can have lots of fun!)  Paint your nails to opacity with two polishes, a simple dark creme on your middle two fingers (this can be any shade you’d like, although I like the tree detailing as against this basic black) and a festive glitter bomb on your index and pinkie fingers, here KB Shimmer’s sELFie.  Once dry, top with a layer of quick dry topcoat.

Step 2: (There’s so much we can do!  Okay, I’ll stop with the NKOTB jokes now.)  Apply striping tape to your two middle fingers in the shape of a wide chevron from the centre of your cuticles down to the edges of your nails. Don’t worry if the small point up at your cuticles doesn’t come together perfectly – you’ll be adding a tiny little star charm at the end that will cover up any boo-boos.

Step 3: Fill in the taped-off space on your two middle fingers with a Christmas tree green polish, here Enchanted Polish’s Lost Boy.  Depending on the polish you choose for your index and pinkie fingers, you may be able to use it (skipping over step 3 entirely.)  But super thick glitter bombs like sELFie can be difficult to wrangle in nail art, and are best used as megawatt accent polishes over a complimentary-hued base.

Step 4: Top the now-green trees with two light coats of the glitter polish.  Or omit this step altogether because the polish you chose for the trees covered it up just well enough in the first place, thankyouverymuch.

Step 5: Once dry, carefully remove the striping tape, pat down any errant bits of glitter with the point of a toothpick and top with another layer of quick dry top coat.

Step 6: With the topcoat still tacky, place a star upon the highest bough of each of your trees, here a couple of little golden charms I purchased from Daily Charme.  You could also paint on your stars using yellow polish and a small detail brush, or do what I did last year and fish all the golden stars out of another bottle of polish and top your tree designs with those!

Et voila, glittery Christmas trees, if you please.  I hope you find this tutorial helpful. 🙂

christmas-tree-fingers

Dry-Brushing: A Tutorial (31DC2016)

dry-brushing-tutorial-collage

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.)

rogues-gallery-of-polishes

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.

brush-pic

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.

nearly-done-collage

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!

shiny-dry-brushing-fingers

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.)

Bad Fairy Fire: A Tutorial

Fairy Fire Tutorial Collage

I had a terrific response to these flame-licked nails I posted the other day – really, so many sweet compliments. And seeing as they were ultra easy in addition to popular, I thought I’d share the love AND my technique for how to achieve these fiery nails, this time with a Halloween-leaning bent. I suppose this glittery green fire could be Maleficent’s evil-conjuring fire, but really, one green, bad fairy spell is just like the other, is it not? Let’s get into this!

1. To begin, brush on two coats of a dark, opaque polish. For the more traditional fire nails I did the other day, I used a deep, blood red as the background polish. For these more supernaturally-minded nails, I used OPI’s Do You Have This Color in Stock-holm?, a dark, royal purple.

2.-4. Working quickly and going one nail at a time, brush on a thick coat of your base polish. Then, taking the three polishes you’re going to blend together for the fire effect (the other day it was orange, yellow and a glittery red, whereas here it’s Finger Paints’ neon green Silkscreen Green, Smitten Polish’s glittery green Not Your Mama’s Easter Grass and a basic white creme) dab one atop the other, starting with the neon green, then the white, and finally the glittery green, right at the tips of your nails.

5. While all of the above is still wet, take the fine point of a dotting tool and lightly drag it through the polish from the tips of your nails up towards your cuticles, “licking” out the flames as you go. The beauty of a fire-type design is that there’s really no wrong way to do it – fires are abstract and diffuse by design, so even if you fudge up a little bit, who’s going to know? 🙂

6.-8. Continuing to work one nail at a time, repeat with your remaining nails. I varied up the design a bit on my middle and ring fingers, swirling the flames up towards the centre of my hand, but you can make your flames bend and dance however you wish.

Not shown: Topcoat application and clean-up, but you already do that always, right? Right! 😉 Then in the final analysis you’re left with something like this. Flame on!

Bad Fairy Fire Nails

Just Bead It

RaindropsFor week two’s theme of April showers in this month’s N.A.I.L. challenge, I went with a fun little design I’ve been meaning to try for ages now, a super simple dab-on technique I call a “Topcoat raindrops beaded up on the hood of a custom painted Charger”-icure. Yes, that is a VERY specific term, and I don’t expect it to catch on at all, but a nail girl can hope. 🙂 It goes a little something like this:

1. Paint your nails to opacity in any colour you’d like. Finish-wise, I think super high shine, colour-shifting multichromes work best, and really drive (eh?!) home the custom paint job effect we’re going for here. For these nails I used three coats of Polish Me Silly’s indigo-to-plum Holy Shift.

2. Once dry, top with one thin coat of a quick dry, high gloss topcoat like Seche Vite.

3. Once it’s dry, take that same bottle of topcoat and, brushing off almost the fluid, dab it onto your nails in a random raindrop pattern. There needs to be enough topcoat on your brush so that it flows smoothly off the brush and onto your nail, but not so much that it swamps your manicure. You’re looking for beads of water here; it’s a bit of a delicate dance. Thankfully, this is such an easy technique, do-overs are not quite the hair-rending prospect they might be with any other type of manicure.

4. Lay your hands down flat and let dry. And try not to pick! Which you totally will, because I did, even though the little beaded up bits of topcoat are not that intrusive. It’s just second nature to want to eradicate any nail art lumps and bumps. It’s the manicure equivalent of tonguing that little cut on the roof of your mouth – you know you should just leave it alone, let it heal, BUT. YOU. CAN’T!!!

Still, a super fun, lightning fast and mega easy technique that’s sure to impress your more vehicularly-minded friends and requires nothing more than two basic nail art items you undoubtedly already have in your stash. Sweet!Raindrops Bottle

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