Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Easy Nail Art

Hi, hi, hi! I hope everyone is off to a good start to the week. Today I want to share some tips and ideas on easy nail art. I know a lot of what I post might look complicated but there are some easy ways to dress up your nails.

The easiest way to add a bit of something-something to your nails is to add glitter. You can layer 1 or 2 coats over your existing manicure, tape off a section of nail and just paint that section, or do a gradient.

Here's a mani I've shared previously - I taped off the top of the nails and painted the tips with glitter.

And here's a gradient where I've started layering glitter from the tops of the nails but have concentrated on the tips - this is A England She Walks in Beauty over Ulta3 Silver Grey.

Another super easy nail art technique is to create dots. You can buy dotting tools online or at nail supply stores but if you don't want to buy one, you can try a straightened-out paper clip or the tip of a pencil. Here's a previously shared polka dot mani

But you're not limited to just polka dots, you can use dotting tools to create flowers - check out this tute for instructions. I used Butter London Sprog for the base and Butter London Snog and Orly Dazzle for the flowers.

Or you can try this ruffle manicure - check out the tutorial over at Chalkboard NailsI used Orly Green Apple for the base as well as for the dots plus Zoya Tart and Zoya Creamy.

Another easy way of creating something fun on your nails is to use stickers, decals, diamantes, and fimo clay. These can be stuck on while the top coat is wet or attached using nail glue. You can purchase stickers and decals at chemists and nail supply store. You can purchase diamontes rhinestones at craft stores and online. You can purchase fimo clay sticks online.

Here's a previously shared mani featuring rhinestones

Taping your nails is a really great way to create nail art. You can use Scotch tape, masking tape or painter's tape - my preference is Scotch as I think it creates cleaner lines. For finer work you can also buy striping tape.

Here are two manis I've already posted about, in the first I taped off the nails and painted the tips, in the second I taped off half the nail diagonally.

Sponging is one of my favourite effects, I buy make up sponges and cut them into small pieces. When sponging it's a good idea to have something on which to put your drop of polish - I use a piece of plastic, then dip the sponge into the drop of polish, sponge once on the plastic to remove excess and then on my nails.

Here's one of my fave manis where I used sponging to create a galaxy-look

Nail art pens
Nail art pens are becoming more popular and more widely available. They are great for doing detailed work and give more control than a brush

Here's a mani where I used a nail art pen for all the outlining

This one is simple: grab some brushes and get painting! Treat your nails like a canvas and paint whatever design you like. You can use the brush in the polish bottle, make up brushes or go all out and buy a set like this one - their brushes are cruelty free/vegan and synthetic.

Here's a lovely look you can create just using the brush in the bottle, it's called a heart-fishtail or a chevron-fishtail and there's a tute at Chalkboard Nails. I used Orly Lemonade, Zoya Sweet, and Butter London Trout Pout.

I first discovered stamping a few years ago and I purchased a set and some plates and I really enjoy being able to easily decorate my nails, especially with some of the more intricate designs. These days there are lots of brands available and easy to find online. I suggest googling them first because some brands make their designs too small. My fave brands are Konad and Cheeky. There are lots of videos online to show you how it's done.

To start you'll need the basics, some plates and a rubber stamper. You don't need the plate holder or the scraper, you can just put the plates onto whatever surface you're working on (I like to lay them on a tissue on top of a plastic place mat) and you can use any hard plastic card like a loyalty/membership card to scrape off the excess paint if you don't buy the scraper.

I used to clean the stamper with polish remover in between but a friend suggested sticky tape and it's much better, so lay out some before you start.

Have patience, sometimes the polish is not opaque enough, or your nails have residue on them, or your stamper needs cleaning. When you get going and start doing it more often it gets easier and it's a lot of fun.

Here's a mani I've posted about before, the vines were done using a stamping plate

And that's it for today! There are lots of great sites with many more ideas, so if there's something you'd like to do on your nails just google it because you're bound to find someone who has done it.

Monday, 22 April 2013

Looking for Alaska

Hey hey! I've been a bit slack when it comes to posting manis lately, truth be told I haven't been loving the ones I've been doing since my Zigzag or Diviners manis. But, the one I have today is one I did a while back and forgot all about, so I figured it was time to share it.

The book is Looking for Alaska by John Green. I found this version at a book fair and I really like the vintage photo look. It immediately reminded me of manicures I'd seen where one colour outlines another, an outline manicure (aka a border manicure).

There are two ways of doing an outline mani: 1. Paint your nails with your chose outline colour, then paint inside that colour with your second colour or 2. Paint your nails with one colour and then take a small brush and your second colour and paint an outline around the first colour. I went with option one, I think it's easier and quicker.

I started with a base of Orly Liquid Vinyl and then followed up with Chi Chi Can't Buy My Love. Because I chose such a light colour I had to do three coats before the black stopped showing through.

I wasn't sure if I'd like this style as sometimes, depending on the colours, it can look like a mani where you've left paint around the edges of your nails/skin but I have to say I did look at my nails often while I was wearing this and it was a nice way of wearing a neutral nail polish, which I rarely do.

This is really easy nail art and it got me thinking about other easy ways to dress up your nails, so I'll have a post up on that soon!

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Gloss 'n Sparkle

I'm interrupting my usual schedule of book manis with some swatches of a great Aussie, indie brand, Gloss 'n Sparkle. I contacted the owner about the vegan/cruelty free status and was really pleased to find out they are a-ok!

I ordered two, but I was accidentally sent three different polishes which the owner kindly insisted I keep, and then I was sent the two I ordered:

Unicorn Droppings, Sweet Charity, Cookie Dough, Ice Ice Baby, and Pink Cigarette

Look at all that glitter!

First up is Unicorn Droppings (2 coats) - a milky white polish with large rainbow glitter and micro sparkles. This one is adorable and completely different to any polish I own

This is Sweet Charity (2 coats) - an orange base with small fuchsia and blue glitter. I really like orange so I knew this was one I needed

Next up is Cookie Dough (2 coats) - a polish almost good enough to eat! It's a pale tan base with large brown glitter and micro copper glitter.

Next we have Ice Ice Baby (2 coats over Zoya Dove) - a clear top coat filled with large pale blue, teal, and white glitter as well as micro copper glitter

And lastly, Pink Cigarette (2 coats) - a purpley-pink with small white and black glitter plus large dark orange glitter

I found all of these easy to apply and I liked the variation in the colour and size of the glitter. I'm really impressed with the range and quality of indie nail polish companies, and Gloss 'n Sparkle is one I am looking forward to purchasing from again.

Aussies, you can purchase them via the Etsy store or Femme Fatale Cosmetics. International readers, you can purchase them from Shoppe Eclecticco or Llarowe.

Friday, 12 April 2013

The Diviners

Hey everyone! Today I have a manicure that took me quite a while to complete, probably an hour or two, but it seems only fitting as the book is quite a lengthy one (at least for YA standards).

The book is The Diviners by Libba Bray and it is pos-i-tute-ly fantastic! The story is set in the 1920s and I loved the art deco-look of the cover. I couldn't get the idea of doing a tarot card nail out of my head so I gave it a go. Before I started, I drew it out to get an idea of the proportions I'd have to use to get it to fit on my nail.

And here are the products I used, all of them are mentioned in the description below.

Let's start with the tattoo nail: I started with a base of Chi Chi Can't Buy My Love. Then I added a coat of Butter London Hardware top coat and waited for that to dry. I took Glam Nails nail art pen in Jet Black and drew the horizontal lines, and then the outline of the two people. I added the sun, the rays and then the VI and the word LOVER (I didn't quite space it right so I had to leave off the S!)

I used Barry M Mushroom and a thin brush to draw the trees on either side as well as the hair on both people. I added the green using Glam Nails nail art pen in Emerald Green and the flowers with Glam Nails nail art pen in Cherry Red. I filled in the sun using Zoya Creamy and a thin nail art brush. I filled in the people using Glam Nails nail art pen in Snow White.

For the black and gold nails: I started with a base of Orly Liquid Vinyl. Then I took a Glam Nails nail art pen in Metallic Gold and drew the art deco style diamondy-triangles. I didn't think the finish was good enough so I took a thin nail art brush and Bloom Goldie and went over them.

For the index finger I wanted to feature the lacy sleeves on the arms. On the morning I did this manicure I just happened to see this video tutorial on rosey nails and thought the layered petals looked similar to the pattern on the sleeves. I painted the nail using Barry M Matt White and then I used Glam Nails nail art pen in Jet Black to draw the roses and the lines between them.

I had my doubts about this mani, espesh the tarot card nail, but I'm glad I gave it a go. Using nail art pens (or regular markers) really makes little details a lot easier!

Have a swell weekend ;)

Friday, 5 April 2013

The Zigzag Effect

Happy Friday! I hope everyone has had a great week :)

Today I want to share a mani I did to match one of my new favourite books, The Zigzag Effect by Lili Wilkinson. The story involves a girl who gets a holiday job helping out backstage for a magician. The red and pink zigzag stripes were just calling out to be in a manicure and the bunch of roses inspired the accent nails.

For the three main nails I started with a base of Zoya Sweet which is a really pretty pink. The stripes gave me a bit of difficulty, I sure could have done with a magic wand for this part! I'd seen this fantastic tutorial by Sarah Lou and I went out to buy some crafty scissors, and all I could find at my local fabric store was a cheap pack of scissors with changeable blades or some expensive pinking shears. I went with the cheap option and regretted it, I tried cutting so many strips of Scotch tape, masking tape, and painter's tape and just couldn't get clean lines. I did attempt using some but the red stripes bled onto the pink, so I had to wipe my nails clean and start again. For my second attempt I took a small nail art brush and Zoya Maura and freehanded the zigzag stripes but they didn't look clean so I wiped my nails clean again. For my third and final trick attempt I used a Glam Nails nail art pen in Cherry red and drew the stripes on, finally I got them to work out!

For the accent nails I used a base of Zoya Snow White. I'd seen a few rose tutorials around but ended up going with this one by Nail Nerd. I used a thin nail art brush with Zoya Maura and Orly Ruby for the detailing. The leaves were done with Nubar Green Tea.

As they say in the magic business: ta-dah!

I was really happy with the final look, although I did forget about Zoya Maura's pesky habit of running when you add topcoat so unfortunately the roses bled onto the white, but I love the rose nails all the same and want to do a whole manicure of rose nails.

Have a lovely weekend xox

Tuesday, 2 April 2013

The Mimosa Tree

Today I have one of my favourite recent manicures for a wonderful new Australian YA novel. Sometimes I do book manis and they look a bit odd out of context, but when they're next to the book cover, they make sense. I don't think this is the case with this manicure, to me it looks like normal nail art.

The book is The Mimosa Tree by Antonella Preto and I knew from the moment I saw the gorgeous cover that I would have to attempt a mani to match.

I started with a base of Barry M Matt White. Then I sponged Orly Lemonade onto the top third of each nail. I followed this with Zoya Dove on the middle of each nail and then Orly Liquid Vinyl on the tips. Finally I took a dotting tool and Zoya Creamy to add the dots on the top of each nail.

Don't you just love the watercolour-style cover? I want to frame it and hang it up :)