Saturday, February 17, 2018

Purple and Blue Ombre Double Stamp


Combination of the sponge gradient and double stamping techniques for a visually interesting design.This one falls into the category of much easier than it looks.


 By stamping a pastel under the white you get a layered affect that creates depth in the design. The ombre gives it a shadow effect that looks great with cream polishes. Lets get started.


Flyin' High and What a pansy are both very opaque cream polishes that give great coverage with just one or two coats. I painted all my nails with two coats and used the ice water bath trick to harden my polish. Just put some ice in a bowl of water and dunk in those pretty painted finger tips. Avoid bumping into the ice chunks to much on the way in if you can.

 Its very important that your nails be dry and set when you are planning on using the makeup sponge technique or else the sponge will pull up some of your base polish.


Once dry, Paint the end of your sponge with the colors you want to blend, gently pad your nail with the sponge and go back and forth to blend the colors. These paints provided enough of an effect with just one pass of the sponge but if you want drama let your nails dry and go over them again.


This step is always messy. It is easy to clean up with an angled eyeliner brush and a little polish remover. I wanted to show the mess I made. It's oddly satisfying to clean off the extra paint and sometimes it helps to clean up between layers of sponge to see the blend more clearly.

Acetone is harsh and it drys our your skin but there are more gentle formulas available. I'm just old school and my mother used straight up acetone. It works very fast and some of the other removers are a lot of work in comparison.


Bundle Monster is one of the very first sets of plates I ever bought. I get almost all my supplies on amazon and I find myself using my Bundle Monster plates more than other brands. I have a few favorite designs and the quality of their plate is great. They are not as expensive as some of the other brands I've tried and many of those are not etched as well as the Bundle Monster plates. Etching is important because if they are too deep you get smudging and if they are not etched deep enough you wont pick up the whole design on your stamper because it will dry to quickly. Practice makes perfect but the brand of plate you use can make a huge difference.

After you have the ombre you want its time to get in there with your pastel stamping polish. I like to mix the colors right on the plate. I did a tutorial that describes how I do this with pictures here...

 When I place the stamp I try to do it differently on each nail. Some on the side, some just the top and some just the tip of the nail. It adds interest and breaks the monotony stamping can have. This design is very forgiving so it doesn't need to be perfect and you get a cool effect that looks intentionally random if that is a thing. I went back in with white stamping polish and made sure to place it so that it did not cover the pastel colors exactly. Turn your plate, so the design is upside down or turn it sideways, when you place it the second time. As long as you don't overlap exactly the way you stamped the first time you will have depth and interest. Top coat it up and enjoy your one of a kind nails.


Friday, February 16, 2018

Best Patriotic Red and Blue Polishes


Eureka! I have had some trouble with the perfect red and blue for my US Flag inspired nail art. I have finally found, what in my opinion are, the two best colors for some patriotic nails. After many, many, many, not quite right Mani's, I'm going to share my findings.  For all those USA, Olympic, Patriotic nail designs these are your new go to colors....  Drum-roll please......


 Anyone who knows me, or has happened upon my overwhelming polish collection, knows that my go to brand is China Glaze. I just love the formulas and rich colors in their line. No, I do not have any affiliation with them and have never received anything for raving about them as I do. I'm just a big fan. I am also a fan of a few drug store brands that might be somewhat surprising. Wet n Wild can be found just about anywhere and is not expensive by any means. This Red is easy to work with and the wide brush makes it very easy to paint without streaking. SinfulColors is another affordable polish with great quality and colors to chose from. This blue goes on very smooth and drys fairly quickly. China Glaze is my favorite for sure but these drug store lines are really worth giving a try.

Polka Dot Pink Mani


Fun Polka dot Manicure. French Tips with a twist.


So I need to start off by saying that these pictures do not do this polish Justice. Thistle Do Nicely is a bright, almost glowing, pink neon cream. I tried to photograph it in every possible light I could come up with but it just doesnt come across as bright as it is in person. 


I took this picture outside and still could not get the glow to showcase. I tried to look up photos of other swatches and it doesn't look like anyone was able to capture this beautiful color on camera. Take my work for it if you love a neon manicure this is the best formula and brightest color I have ever used.  I can only say if you buy this one online you will not be disappointed when you see it in person.

On to the nail art. I used two coats of Thistle do Nicely. It doesn't have to be perfect on the tips at this step. I usually do a coat of white under a neon but with this awesome color it really didn't need it.

 Once it is dry you go in with an old makeup angled brush and acetone and clean up your lines. It can look pretty messy before this step, don't give up, it always turns out after the clean up.


For the polka dots on the french tip you could totally free hand it but I like the uniformity of a stamp.

I'm so bummed that I couldnt catch this playful bright color.


I used Bundle Monster plate 209 and bmc White special stamping polish on the accent nail. I was a little critical of bmc Straight Up Black yesterday but the White is perfectly lovely to work with.

<Shaking my fists at the heavens> Why?! I really wish the color would have come through even a little. If anyone has any tips on photographing neon I would love some advice.

Dotting tool and a drop of polish and you have some funky details and contrast.

As per usual... a little Seche Vite and your ready to be careful with your nails for 15 minutes to 20 minutes. Tip: If you need your polish to set quickly, put some ice water in a bowl and dip your digits in for a few seconds. Polish will come out hard and ready for action.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Monarch Half French Nails

Easy to do nail art stamping sponging dotting tool nail art

This one makes me smile. Fun butterfly abstract design using a combination of easy techniques. Easier than it looks. I love when a design looks complicated and has everyone asking me how I did it all day. Strangers have been telling me they like my nail sticker LOL

Nail stamping and dotting tool nail art

I use China Glaze White on White whenever I want a classic French tip. It is a forgiving formula that has great coverage. In a pinch for time or when I'm feeling a little lazy I have found that once you get the hang of stamping on your tips it takes only minutes to do them. I usually mess up and have to redo at least 3 or 4 but I love the clean lines when I do place it right. Practice makes perfect. My first attempts at stamping were horrible.

BMC Bam white special stamping polish

 You may notice my nails are bit stained from using red polish yesterday. It happens. A little buffing solves this but as I mentioned earlier I am having a bit of a lazy day.

 For this design I only did my thumb, pinkys and index fingers in French tip and then painted two coats of White on White on my accent nails. 

 At this point you want to make sure your nails are dry before you move on to the sponge step. Here is a link to one of my sponge designs that might be helpful if you are not already familiar with how to do the sponging.

Mimosa's before Mani's Happy go Luck White on White Polish

This color combo made me think of a sunset or candy corn. All of these polishes are cream so they blend together well. When you know you are going to stamp over the ombre you can be a little sloppier than if the gradient was going to be the focus. This design is a great one for beginners because you can practice with the makeup sponge but it doesn't really need to be perfectly even. Also great if your having a lazy day. I paint each color in a straight line on a cosmetic sponge and dab it on over the white until the colors melt together. Its very satisfying when it turns out well. I do highly recommend letting the polish dry if you plan on going back in with the sponge for a second layer.

Accent nails sponge china glaze

Once you are happy with your sponge work its time to go in with the stamper.

BP-X52 nail stamping plate bmc straight up black special polish

I have to say that this bmc Straight up Black polish is a bit streaky. I let the design dry fully but when I went in with top coat the black ran a little. I used Sech Vite which I love partially because the paint brush is very soft and usually doesn't drag my polish. It is very opaque and looks great as long as you work quickly and gently but its no the same quality as Konad's black stamping polish.

Nail art design ideas

Now that we are done with the accent nails we need to put it all together with a butterfly on the thumb. I used a simple stamp and black polish to put the butterfly on and then went back in with a dotting tool and some of the cream polish to add a little flare and pull the colors together from the other nails. I didn't get a picture of just the black butterfly but trust me I thought I had made a mistake until I added a few streaks and dots of color. It turned out to be one of my favorites. I've been catching myself  looking at my thumb all day.

Way less complicated than it looks and incredibly fun to look at.

Easy to do nail stamping and dotting tool technique

Easy nail art ideas

Hope you try this one. I think it would be pretty in some pink/purple combo or maybe teal/baby blue. I may have to revisit this idea in the future. 

I just realized, as I was typing the last sentence, I did another orange butterfly post back in February 2013. Its pretty similar to this post but with glitter instead of ombre. I added the link below.

Easy nail tutorials

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Valentine 2018

Here is a simple to do design for Valentines Day that would be great for anyone just getting the hang of stamping.
Left to right: Konad Special Polish in Red/China Glaze Spring In My Step/China Glaze White on White/bmc Staight up Black
Spring In My Step is a very pretty pale pink cream. Like many cream polishes it has a tendency to require more than one coat for full coverage. I find that a thin layer of top coat between coats helps to even out the color and help avoid streaky spots. The Accent nail here is White on White which tends to go on very opaque with just two coats.

The heart design on my middle finger.

Lipstick Kiss on my thumb. 

The writing on my accent nail.

After adding my stamps I used a dotting tool and some of the red polish to fill in the hearts on my accent nail. Little details can really bring it all together when painting each nail differently. That's it very easy.