Summer Swirl

Summer Swirls Collage

Sounds like a type of ice cream, doesn’t it?  LOOKS like a type of ice cream, maybe one of those lurid, multi-hued, bubblegum-studded monstrosities that goes by the name SuperKiddo or Diabetes in a Cone. 😉

Alas – or perhaps not, depending on your views on Red Food Dye No. 3 – this is a manicure and not ice cream.  Bit of a bummer, that, as I hear it’s supposed to be hotter than the surface of the sun today, and ice cream *could* help.  So could sitting two inches off the air conditioner.

This manicure looks so much more impressive and difficult than it actually was to achieve.  Looks like one of those horrible – and horribly messy – water marble manis that has bested me time and time again, but not!  Because these are little nail decals I made to mimic the look of a water marble, and they were dead easy.  All I did was dab five polishes (turquoise, yellow, magenta, pink and a shimmery, golden green) out onto the back of a Ziploc bag, ran a dotting tool through them to create the swirled design (you could use a toothpick or a hair pin or the head of a sewing needle, should you not have a dotting tool) and then let it dry overnight.

Summer Swirls 4

And I may have let them dry a tad too long, because the most difficult part of this manicure was prizing those little decals-to-be off the plastic bag, a nitpicky job I outsourced to Mr. Finger Candy.  I think I may have made the decals a tad too thin and let them dry too long – the whole removal process would have gone much easier if the decals were a little less brittle and a bit more pliable.  Notes for next time.

Summer Swirls 3

Application itself was likewise easy.  All I did was give my nails one light coat of one of the polishes I used to make the decals, in this case the vibrant magenta.  Then, going nail by nail, I painted on another light coat of the magenta polish before immediately laying one of the decals over top of it.  I pushed the decals down gently with my fingers, making sure to really nestle them into the edges of my nails.  I used the blunt edge of a cuticle pusher to do this, but again, you could use the slanted side of a toothpick or even your thumbnail.  Then I roughly trimmed off the excess by simply – but lightly and carefully! – running the pointed end of my cuticle pusher along the edges of my nails to separate out the waste.  When all of my nails were done, I applied two coats of a diamond hard, high shine topcoat – Seche Vite to the rescue once again – and then cleaned up the raggedy bits along my cuticles with a detail brush dipped in acetone.

Summer Swirls 5

I love these nails!  And this technique is one I will definitely be turning to again; it is soooo much easier and tidier than water marbing, and produces nearly identical results. Plus, check out these amazing macro shots I snapped.  I think the one on the left looks like some sort of insane, alchemy-based fire, and the one on the right looks like bubblegum taffy in the midst of being pulled.

Summer Swirls Macro Collage

Summer Swirls 8

A blogging buddy of mine, altercontroldelight, does a very similar kind of technique, except she really knows what she’s doing – she’s got a whole system that involves making the decals on a silicone mat, which makes SOOOO much more sense than trying to prize the delicate little buggers off the back of a plastic bag, duh!  She’s also a fan of unexpected colour combinations and cool, fluid designs, and I’m a fan of that.  Again, another note for next time. 😉