Thursday, 31 May 2012

Peeping Frogs

This is a fun one that I plan to continue as a series. They really seem to stand out from the crowd, and many people commented on them.

My Technique

I began by making sure I’d removed absolutely all traces of other nail varnish, before starting with a base coat, as the bare nail is visible for this one.

I then used a pale green to coat the tips twice, going a little bit further down the nail than my natural tips.

Once dry, I used a white nail pen to add the small dots for the eyes of the frogs, using enough paint to give a strong colour without having to add another coat.

After these had dried, I then used a black nail pen to outline the top edge of each frog, and add in the pupils of the eyes and the nostrils as well.

I finished with two coats of clear top coat. This is important with this design, as the detail on the top edge means a raised tip, so chipping will occur quickly if not protected properly.

Alternative Techniques and Styles

Rather than leaving a bare nail base, it is an option to use a pale blue colour to give a ‘pond’ effect. Personally, I preferred it without as the frogs stand out more.

I’m not sure how easy it would be to do this one without pens, as it took me several attempts to get the right style, with it being quite fiddly in its detail.

I’m hoping to start this as a series of ‘peeping’ animals – there have been many suggestions, but I’m thinking about ducks and giraffes at the moment. We’ll see, and I’ll post them on here if I do!

~ HS

Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Kill Bill Nails

For a friend’s birthday recently, I dressed up as the villainous Elle Driver from Kill Bill (Tarantino, 2003) and of course needed the nails to match. These are very easy, and were done with wooden toothpicks (pre-nail pens).


My Technique
I began with the usual clear coat for the base.

I chose a strong yellow and painted several coats to get a solid block colour.

After waiting for them to dry, I dipped a wooden toothpick into a black varnish. I then stroked on all the straight vertical lines, before carefully adding the angled lines of the ‘K’, the ‘B’ and the ‘L’s. Once dry, I went back over them all to get a solid line.

And a final clear coat to cover and protect.

Alternative Techniques and Styles
With pens or a steadier hand than mine, straighter edges would be easily achieved of course.

I experimented with several variations on the yellow and black style, although I was Elle Driver it’s still recognisable as being Kill Bill.

There are many different film themes you can have a go with! I’ve done a few more, so will post those soon. As a film student, it’s one of my favourite genres to have a dabble in!

Monday, 28 May 2012

Halloween Zombie Nails

A seasonal favourite of mine, although we are far from the month of October. Fairly simple, but highly effective.

My Technique
A clear base coat to begin with.

I then coated a triple layer of plain white – this was mostly because my white was pretty rubbish at the time of doing these. I do think its most effective when a solid block of white, extraneous brush strokes can diminish the overall effect.

Once dry, I used a small amount of nail polish remover to take off the tips of white – this can be done with sections of tape as detailed in the last post (Converse Nails). If using nail polish remover, I find it easier to fold apply to a cotton wool pad and fold it in half to give the straight edge needed. It is essential to have a substantial amount of remover when using this technique, as a lack of can cause smudging and fraying of the fine edge desired.

I then used a blood red polish, free-hand, to fill in the tips. With a little polish on the brush edge (you may need to practice a little to find the right consistency), I gently dragged and dripped down my nails, to create that bloodied effect of a zombie desiring brains. There doesn’t have to be a particular style to this, just do whatever you feel looks best. The great thing here is that the more uneven and messy, the better it looks!

And finished off with two layers of top coat.

Alternative Techniques & Styles

I really like this design, as you can really have fun trying out different styles to see what looks best. I’ve been doing this for Halloween for a few years in a row now, using different base colours but keeping the same blood-red tip.

My first attempt was with a black base, which looks good but you can easily lose the gory tips. Try different colours for both elements of the design – experiment with what works best with your costume!

Converse Nails

Perhaps I should start with a particularly popular design. I’m sure this has been done time and again by many different people with a steadier hand and better skills. But I had this stuck in my head and decided to give it a go.

My Technique

I began with a clear base coat, as always. I’ve had bad experiences with accidental nail staining, so this is a definite must for me.

I then applied two coats of red – if you have decent quality polish then one should probably suffice, but I like to strengthen the colour and even out any visible strokes.

Once dry, I used nail polish remover on a cotton wool pad, folded in half to give a straight edge, to take off the tips of the red. I then coated the tips in a plain white.

Whilst waiting for these to dry, I used a white nail art pen to place four small dots, evenly spaced apart along the main red section, to use as a guide. If your nails are longer then it’s easy to do more, it just depends on how you want them to look. I then joined up the dots with a lattice pattern, with a straight line connecting the two closest to my cuticles.

Once the tip was dry, I used a black nail art pen to trace a semicircle outline along the top edge of my nail, leaving a slight border.

After everything was completely dry, I completed with two coats of clear polish as a final top coat. The design will be slightly raised, most noticeably around the laces, but this shouldn’t be a problem, especially if you use a top coat.

If you have time/patience, used a little nail polish remover to neaten up the edges around your nails and along your cuticles, particularly if you’re as messy as I am.

Alternative Techniques & Styles

Colour: I chose a glittery red for mine, but these of course can be done with any other colour you fancy! Converse shoes generally have white laces, but this too can be experimented with – artistic license ftw!

The Tips: If you’d prefer not to waste time and nail polish remover, then it is possible and perfectly easy to use tape to cover the tips whilst painting with the main colour. This doesn’t have to be any special kind of tape, standard sellotape will do, but I’ve found it best to stick the pieces to fabric before applying to your nail – this stops it from taking off your base coat or your nail enamel.

The Laces: If you have long or particularly spacious nails, you could try adding a bow to the laces, to give another fine detail to the recognisable shoe design.

Nail Art Pens: If you don’t have any and don’t plan on investing any time soon, then try obtaining a small pot of toothpicks. These can work just as well with practice, just dip into your nail polish and create your art just the same! Do take the time to practice before you embark on your final project though, as it took me some time to get the quantity of paint vs. the movement of my hand just right.

Other styles: If you’re feeling particularly adventurous, then you could try other recognisable styles of shoes, or perhaps just your favourites. From fuzzy slippers, to skater sneakers, to stilettos – all it takes is a little imagination and a bit more time!

Have fun!
~ HS

Hi there...

This is a simple blog as it stands. I am a student with an abundance of time to expend through procrastination, and I have since found that I quite enjoy slapping paint on my nails and doing fancy things with it.

I am by no means a professional, or am particularly talented in this area. I enjoy my creations, I am inspired by many different things and some people quite like what I come up with sometimes, so I figured I’d like to keep a record of what I’m doing.

I do not own particularly fancy nails polishes or equipment to do particularly fancy things with. I pick up new varnishes generally when they’re a good price/deal/on sale, I own some nail art pens that I bought somewhere off Amazon, and I swear by owning a decent clear varnish that can double as a base and top coat.

I also believe it is important to have decently shaped nails, and generally carry a file in my bag for those inevitable chipping and breaking “emergencies” – being of the clumsy variety I find this happens frequently, and am aware that I’ll chew them down to the quick if there’s the slightest notch in them.

 I like to be inspired by other people’s work sometimes, so I will try and give credit where it’s due when possible. But mostly, I do ideas with my brain.

I have this weird thing, scientifically called  Brachydactyly type D, which I like to refer to as ‘stumpy thumbs’ (I only found out it had a real name a few weeks ago!). This basically means I have shortened thumbs, and as such have short but wide thumb nails. Obviously this slightly alters what I can do ‘art’-wise on them, but this can generally be applied to normal thumbs, occasionally with a little adaptation.

If you’ve stumbled across this little corner of the internet, then thank you for perusing. I currently have much spare time so it would be a fairly safe bet that this will be updated regularly.

Now I should probably get back to those important things that I'm supposed to be doing...