With a little help from some water vinyl nail art stickers from Daily Charme. More on those in a second.
But first, the polishes! Which would be KB Shimmer’s soft, coral-y pink, Blush Money, topped with KB’s leopard print glitter, Spot Sign. Blush Money, a peachy-pink holo sprinkled with gold shimmer, is a real chameleon, shifting from a bright coral-rose in the shade to a warm, glowy peach in the sun. I think both in the bottle and as against my very pale skin it looks like Nars’ venerable Orgasm blush. And Spot Sign, as always, is awesome – a leopard print mani in just a few swipes of the brush – but temperamental. The little C-shaped leopard glitters want to stick together and they really do snag on everything, so Spot Sign will require your patience, and about two layers of topcoat.
So the nail art stickers? Bit of a learning curve with these guys. Having never used water vinyls before (really, I’m not much for nail art accessories of any description) I didn’t know what to expect, and the instructions on the back of the package were somehow both overly simplistic AND needlessly complicated. And that really did these vinyls a great disservice, because in the end, they turned out to be fantastically easy to apply. They’ve also worn beautifully and didn’t smudge all to heck and back when I topped them with topcoat. That’s nail artist pay dirt right there!
The instructions for these cute kitty nail stickers called for an assortment of cutting and soaking and buffing and then, somewhat alarmingly, the back-to-back use of both water and a blow dryer. Sounds dangerous! Also made very little sense to me, which is why I was initially left with the impression that these stickers were total garbage.
But they weren’t! Far from it, actually. I just needed to spend a bit of time tinkering about with these very versatile vinyls. Basically, it went a bit like this:
- Peel the protective film off the sheet of stickers. The printed designs will be on one side, and a simple, lightweight piece of adhesive paper will be on the other.
- Taking a pair of sharp manicure scissors, cut out the design or designs you’d like to use, including the adhesive backing. Don’t feel confined to taking one design – here the cute black kitties – at a time; if there’s two designs side by side on the sheet that you just love, then cut them out together! Also, you don’t need to cut in extremely close to the design, as the backing on these vinyls is translucent and the edges disappear entirely once topcoated.
- Taking a small bowl of room temperature water and working one at a time, drop your tiny speck of paper into the water. You’ll immediately see the adhesive backing take on water, and then after another 10 or so seconds, the vinyl design will separate from the paper.
- Reach out and touch the tip of your finger to the vinyl – it’ll cling to it a lot like a contact lens. Then apply the vinyl to your (painted and dried, but now slightly damp) nails by simply touching your finger to your nails. The sticker will now cling to your nails, and if your nails are wet enough (dunk them in the water you used to soak the vinyls and blow off the excess) you’ll have a bit of play to push your sticker around until you’ve found the perfect place for your design.
- Top with a layer of high gloss topcoat and marvel at the streak-free finish. I really can’t oversell that point enough – many a mani has been ruined or at least severely compromised by streaky black detail paint! That these kitties came out so crisply is something of a nail art miracle to me!
Right, so it’s official: There’s nothing I can pair with the word “leopard” that doesn’t make me think of a strip club, including the names of every manicure I’ve ever done with this polish, KB Shimmer’s leopard-spotted glitter, Spot Sign. It’s a sickness. Then one day I’ll use some flocking powder to create The Velvet Leopard and that’ll just put me right over the edge. 😉
The idea for this manicure, a remarkably not-too-much combination of two super unique KB Shimmer polishes, was a total light bulb moment. One second I’m listening to Mr. Finger Candy tell me about his day and the next I’m sitting bolt upright on the sofa shouting, “SNOW LEOPARD!!!” at the top of my lungs, much to the consternation of my cats, my neighbours and my husband’s belief that his wife is not a total nut job. But I had happened to glance over at a little collection of nail polish bottles littering the top of my coffee table and there were both Snow Much Fun, a snowflake glitter-packed, ice blue polish, and Spot Sign, a holo-flecked topper loaded with leopard spot glitter, sitting side by side, just crying out for some silly wordplay-inspired nails.
So I obliged, and here’s the resulting animal, two careful coats of Snow Much Fun topped with a single coat of Spot Sign, a bright and beautiful combination that’s quite unexpectedly smooth given that these nails are spackled in large, oddly shaped glitter (side tip: the key to applying chunky glitter polishes without things turning into a lumpy nightmare is to go slowly, keep your coats thin, daub in areas where that’s all that’s required and be mindful of glitter placement.) Super fun, and you can’t go wrong with a bit of nail art-related wordplay. And I’m sorry for interrupting your story, Mr. Finger Candy, but when nailspiration strikes and all that, you know? 🙂
Heh, that sounds like the name of a strip club – The Rainbow Leopard. I once stayed at a (in hindsight) fairly sketchy hotel in Toronto out by the airport on one of those too-short-to-actually-do-anything-touristy stopovers on the way to Florida, and its view looked out on a windowless strip club painted entirely in lavender leopard print. To that point I had never encountered exterior leopard print, and indeed to this day it remains the lone, shining example. I wish I had taken note of the club’s name – you know it would have been something fantastic with a paint job like that! I do, however, remember that there was a LOT of porn available for rent at the hotel, including the memorably titled Hawaiian Sex Fest 4, a film I declined to view given that I’d be hopelessly lost, having not seen the first three, um, installments.
But these nails have nothing to do with either strippers or porn, so long as you overlook the fact that they’re rainbow, glittery and covered in leopard spots. So sort of one and the same? 😉
This is actually KB Shimmer’s wicked fun Spot Sign, a clear glitter topper loaded with black circle glitter, black and silver holographic micro glitter and LEOPARD SPOT GLITTER, over a bright rainbow gradient. It’s so ’80s! The leopard spot glitter is so much fun (and I’m not even all that into animal prints) and I can really see myself getting a lot of utility out of this polish once I tinker around with some other techniques and combinations a bit. Formula-wise, Spot Sign is one of KB’s less-dense polishes – I’ve shown two coats here – and goes on smoothly with only a minimum of directed placement. Like all large and oddly shaped glitter, the leopard spots want to sink to the bottom of the bottle. Just remember to give your bottle a little jiggle every couple of nails to redistribute the glitter and you’ll be fine.
Here I’ve shown Spot Sign in the bottle in the shade, and because the day was overcast and wanted to hide all that pretty holographic micro glitter, under the shimmer-inducing pot lights in my kitchen. So tacky, but so pretty!