Summer Sun

Summer Sun

I can usually be counted on to come up with some horrible pun or long-winded anecdote that’s only just barely about nails or nail art, but I seem to have nothing interesting to say about this manicure. It’s a sun design, or maybe the ass end of a turkey, with a touch of the stained glass technique in a trio of lush, summery colours.

These nails also represent my entry in Nail Polish Canada’s summertime nail art contest. And apparently that’s all I have to say about that subject as well. Jeez, what the heck is wrong with me? Normally I can deliver a treatise on just about any subject, including treatises themselves, but I’ve got nothing to contribute on the topic of summer. Except that being a fall person, I’m really not all that fond of it. Riveting, I know! Try not to be too bowled over by my narrative fireworks. 😉

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.

Stained Glass

Stained Glass

Stained glass nails, version 2.0. I posted a similar design yesterday that was not as successful as these, although the technique (random blocks of colour lined in black) was fun, forgiving and not terribly difficult to complete in both instances. Rather, my troubles seemed to stem from my choice of three too-similar, mega light-reflecting holographic polishes that just obliterated the design in a sea of rainbow shiny. Gorgeous polishes, sure, but I think I prefer this more straightforward take on rainbow stained glass nails to the more-is-more approach.

Holo Hell

These nails, a stained glass design that I thought would look extra pretty done in a handful of megawatt holographic polishes, are the first nails I’ve ever done that have proven to be well nigh unphotographable. I took well over 100 photos of these nails in the sun, out of the sun, with a light source behind me, beside me, above me, indoors, outdoors and even out in the hall where I thought the bright overhead halogens would allow my camera to focus for two-tenths of a second. NO DICE.

So I regret to say that despite taking quite a while to complete and despite using some of my rarer, more expensive polishes and despite looking quite good in person, these nails, my photographic hokey pokey notwithstanding, don’t look like all that. Still, there’s something fun about a stained glass design that actually shifts colour depending on the light, so here I’ve highlighted two of the photos that actually did turn out so we can all bask in the pretty scattered holo of Enchanted Polish’s blue Across the Universe and purple Octopus’s Garden making nice with Polish Me Silly’s plummy Guilty Pleasure.