Tutorial Time!

Marbled Dots Pic

This colourful marbled mani I did some weeks ago was so insanely easy, pretty and popular, it seemed a shame not to share my method.  Really, though, there’s nothing more complicated here than a simple dotticure sexed up by – wait for this revelation – dipping your dotting tool into TWO different polishes at once.  Sounds naughty, looks stupendous – like accidental, intricate marbling you actually intended to create!  And if you’ve ever tried to marble anything in nail art, then you know it’s a relentless pain in the arse, so any simplification is more than welcome.

First, begin by rounding up your tools.  For this manicure, I used just three lacquers, Enchanted Polish’s orchid pink Dope Jam, golden yellow House of the Rising Sun and dusty blue September 2015.  Marbled together, these polishes create cool new blended colours – blue and yellow makes green, yellow and pink produces orange, and pink and blue makes purple.  So no need to bust out your entire polish collection for this dotticure; just pink, yellow and blue will get the rainbow job done nicely.

Marbled Dots Bottle Collage

For this manicure, I used a small dotting tool I’ve had forever and these polish palette rings from Daily Charme I was gifted last Christmas.  I particularly like the paw print ring, which is why I’m sporting it in these tutorial pics.  It fits securely, but not snugly, and is well balanced so it doesn’t slide to either side of your finger mid-mani.

Polish Rings Collage

So having assembled your little arsenal, let’s get down to the criminally easy step-by-step.

Marbled Dots Tutorial Collage

Step 1: Paint your nails to opacity with a basic white creme.

Step 2: Once dry, slip on a polish palette ring and fill the tiny divots with your three chosen lacquers.  Should you not possess jewelry that doubles as a beauty tool, simply dot your polish out onto whatever surface you typically use as a palette.

Step 3: Take your dotting tool and dip it into one polish (say, the pink) and then another (this time the blue.)

Step 4: Dot onto your nails.  Two or three dots per nail should do it.

Step 5: Repeat steps 3 and 4 with the yellow and blue polishes.

Step 6: Repeat steps 3 and 4 with the pink and yellow polishes.

Step 7: Fill in any blank spots or gaps that are irking you for a more cohesive design.

Step 8: Once dry, top with a high gloss, quick dry top coat such as Seche Vite.  Then stand out in the sun and admire all your maybe-not-so-hard work!

Marbled Dots Sunshine

I’ve Lost My Marbles!

I've Lost My Marbles 1

News to no one.

But I may have found them again with this nifty, super effective manicure that was so criminally easy, I almost hesitate to tell you how I created that cool marbled effect, lest you think I’m a totally unimaginative sod (why, I never!)

But okay, here goes, a mini tutorial, for what it’s worth.

Step 1: Paint your nails to opacity with a basic white creme.

Step 2: Once dry, take a small dotting tool and, using just a pink creme, a pale blue creme and a yellow creme, dip it lightly first into one polish (say, the pink) and then another (this time the blue) and then dot onto your nails in a random fashion.  What you’ll be left with is a small marbled dot that’s a little pink, a little blue and a little purple combination of the two.

Step 3: Repeat with the pink and yellow polishes (which produce a pretty, coral-y orange) and the yellow and blue polishes (which, of course, produce green.)

Step 4: Top with a layer of high gloss topcoat such as Seche Vite.  Then sit back and marvel at this magnificent mani that took next to no work!  Marbles found.

I've Lost My Marbles 2

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

If You Want to Destroy My Sweater (31DC2015)

Sweater Pull Fingers

The 31 Day Nail Art Challenge ended two days ago, and befitting my status at every step of the challenge, I am two (or more) days late with this final entry for day 30’s theme of a tutorial. Over on Instagram there’s a Dutch nail artist I follow by the name of Narmai (you can find her excellent blog at PiggyLuv.com.) Technically proficient, but also creative, whimsical and sort of cheeky, Narmai’s designs are so much more than your standard dots and flowers and branded characters. Her work is the very definition of “use what you’ve got,” and she uses everything at her disposal to create the most gorgeous, intricate designs, from the glow-in-the-dark polishes she used in a series of silhouette-style, nail art fairytales, to the actual light-up filament she strung across her nails to help E.T. phone home. Best of all, she posts quick, terrifically informative video tutorials of her work, which pull back the curtain a bit on her beautifully high concept work.

And speaking of pulling back, check out this cheeky little bugger peeling off all my hard holo work! I can take *some* credit for this design, but the bulk of the praise goes to Narmai for this cute and so easy 3D design. Following along with a quick little video she made of this manicure, I think I nailed the polish snag (it was as easy as just building up the little “pulls” and then painting over them) – the rest was as easy as attaching the little string for that evil piggy down there to pull (and the piggy himself, of course. Narmai’s design featured a little guy who looked like Baymax from Big Hero 6 pulling the string, but I like pigs better, and it’s been too long since I’ve painted evil pork on my nails. It also seemed nice to show the Piggy some Luv.)

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