Day 15 of the 30 Day Challenge: Floral Print

I only took a couple pics of this one on my phone and it was after I'd been wearing it a day or two so I apologize for the less than awesome photography this time around. This one was really simple. I think this print is really bohemian-ish. My hippie hubby loved this one. Hehe.

Base: I can't remember. One of my thousands of nudes.
Design: m64 stamped with Revlon TopSpeed "Espresso"

Day 14 of the 30 Day Mani Challenge: Animal Print

Okay, since I really don't like animal prints on anything other than animals and I don't like to wear bright colors, I decided to use all my brightest nail polishes and stamp all of the animal print patterns at once. Why not, right?

I actually really liked the final result. It took me FOREVER and it was tedious but when I was finished I was rather surprised on how much I actually liked it. I even wore it for a few days (most of my manicures are lucky to make it a full 36 hours before I get the itch to do the next one).

 Left Hand, Indoors w/flash
 Right hand, Indoors w/flash

Outdoors just before sunset, no flash
To Get This Look: I've numbered each nail on the above photo so I can list the base polish, polish I used to stamp with, and image plate (in that order) for each nail.
  1. SH Insta-Dri "Lightening" (base), Wet N Wild "Black Creme" (stamp), m61 (image plate)
  2. SH Insta-Dri "Lickety-Split Lime", Revlon TopSpeed "Grape", m78
  3. Maybelline ExpressFinish "Go Go Grape", Revlon TopSpeed "Electric", BM221
  4. Wet N Wild "Sunny Side Up", SH Insta-Dri "Brisk Blue", BM211
  5. Maybelline ExpressFinish "Timely Turquoise", Konad Light Pink Special Polish, BM223
  6. SH XpressFinish "Twisted Pink", Wet N Wild "Black Creme",  SH25
  7. Sidenote: I decided that animal footprints technically fall under the "animal print" category heh heh. Maybelline ExpressFinish "Go Go Green", Revlon TopSpeed "Espresso", SH08
  8. Sinful "Pull Over", SH Insta-Dru "Rapid Red", m78
  9. SH XtremeWear "Blue Me Away", SH Insta-Dri "Whirlwind White", BM211
  10. SH XtremeWear "Caribbean Coral", Revlon TopSpeed "Electric", BM223

There ya go. Lot's of time for something I thought I'd hate but ended up liking. I hope the other challenge I'm dreading turns out so good (I'm scared of water-marbling...).

Day 13 of the 30 Day Mani Challenge: Stripes

For the Stripes challenge (challenge details here), I first did [attempted] some freehand crazy color stuff that turned out to clash so bad, it seriously hurt to look at my nails so I decided to go with simple stamped B&W stripes, a mani I've been wanting to try anyway.

 Indoors w/flash
Outdoors in the shade

Base: Sinful "basecoat" (1 coat), Sinful "Snow Me White" (2 coats), SV Fast Dry Top Coat* (1 coat)
Design: Shany plate SH23 stamped with Wet N Wild "Black Creme" and topped off with 2 coats of SV

Simple yet effective. :p

*From here on, my future entries will refer to Seche Vite's Fast Dry Top Coat simply as "SV" since I use SV ALOT and I'm a lazy typer.


Response to a reader's nail stamping questions

This is continued from a post in reply to bailosaurusrex who used my Ask button over at nailartbyjoyella.tumblr.com to ask me, "Hi! I recently started following your blog, and I was wondering if you could tell me what stamps you use on your nails, and how to use them a little bit? I'm looking into buying stamps, lol. Thanks for your time. :)"

To get started with stamping you will need, at the very least, a stamper (I prefer the Konad 2-sided one, $3 on Amazon) & scraper (some people prefer to use old plastic cards, which work okay but you get the most crisp detail using the metal one, IMO. The scraper comes with the stamper so try both to see what you are most comfortable with). You will also need at least one image plate and a “stampable” nail polish.

Now, Konad and other brands try to sell you their “special stamping” nail polish by promoting the idea that “regular” nail polish just won’t work. This is completely untrue. I and others have found MANY “regular” nail polishes that work as good or better than Konad’s “special” (read:PRICEY) polish. The only upside to the Konad special polishes (or downside, depending on how you see it) is that they do take forever to dry so you don’t have to move as quickly transferring the image from plate to nail. This also makes applying a topcoat a tedious task (will smudge VERY easily). Once you gain experience and speed in your stamping technique, a quicker drying time isn’t really an issue anymore.

Rule 1: you are going to suck at first. Don’t give up or get disappointed. At first, I couldn’t get the image to transfer from stamper to nail at all or I’d have partial prints or smudged prints and I’d end up spending forever doing cleanup or completely redoing the manicure on the fingers that were beyond just a little clean up. Practicing on various surfaces (picture frame glass, my desk, paper, whatever) and over an old mani that you are about to change helps. Now the longest part of doing one of my manicures is the pre-paint steps (filing, cuticle care, etc) and the stamping part takes only a few minutes. I still flub but it’s easier to cover up or redo now that I’ve gotten the hang of it.

Rule 2: Start small & simple. In other words, don’t try to do a complicated konadicure (e.g. the fishnets are rough and all the French tips take some practice for everyong) but try something small, like hearts, whatever. And always do a “practice stamp” or two on an easily cleaned surface before you start stamping your nails to preview how the image will look stamped with the color you choose. I like to try on white paper and then on a dark surface (usually I’ll paint a small area with the base nail polish I want to use and then stamp over that to see how it looks.) I still always do this step.

Rule 3: Read all the tips, tricks, tutorials, etc and watch all the videos you want on “how to” do nail stamping (there are so many out there) but don’t feel like a failure when something that worked for one person don’t work for you (like I cannot paint my nails “in the lines” ever, no matter how slowly I work or careful I am. I always end up spending forever cleaning up my cuticles and the skin around my nails after a fresh paint. I honestly don’t know how anyone can paint their nails without flooding their cuticles with color!! Ha). You will try different methods and different products and different tips and tricks but in the end, the goal is to come up with a technique that works for you.

At the end of this post I will list my personal picks for the best “how to konad” tutorials because there are Soooooo many I would feel redundant writing one myself. What I will do is list my personal tips & tricks:

1.    I always put a square of papertowel underneath the plate I’m going to be stamping with to both protect the surface I’m working on and soak up the scraped off extra polish. I also use a 4x6 piece of glass from an old frame as my surface area as it gives me enough space for the plate (atop a small square of paper towel), my scraper, and my clean up “tool”.

2.    I use a shot glass to pour some nail polish remover in for clean up (eliminates having to open/close the bottle over and over & minimizes times my nails could be exposed to remover). I keep a handful of cotton balls at close hand and use an old pair of tweezers to pick up the cotton ball, dip in the acetone, and pick up/clean with the cotton ball/pad so I don’t mess up my painted nails.

3.    Before you stamp your nails, make sure the base polish is completely dry. Also, a lifesaver since I’ve started doing this, do a top coat on the base before starting your stamping. That way if you mess up and have to start over, you can quickly go over the surface of your nail with remover, erasing the stamp but leaving the base color intact (most of the time).

4.    To avoid smudging the design when you apply the final topcoat you must wait until the stamped polish is COMPLETELY dry. Even if you do this, if you use a topcoat that is too thick or go over the surface with brush more than once, you will smudge the design. I (and many others) swear by Seche Vite Dry Fast Top Coat as THE BEST stamping topcoat out there and is well worth the investment. The trick to applying the finish without smearing your mani is in how you apply it. ONE-TWO strokes per nail. Don’t start in the middle but do one side in a light, swift movement and move to the next side. The bristles of the brush shouldn’t come into contact with the surface of the nail. And don’t worry if you don’t cover the whole nail, when you apply the 2nd topcoat, you no longer have to worry about smudging if the 1st topcoat is dry.

Alright, now that I’ve blabbed your ear off, here are the links to my favorite konad tutorials (I had to have them open and read each step as I practiced the first few times I stamped.)

·         Parokeet’s “All About Konad” step-by-step video and text tutorial

·         Emerald Sparkle’s “Tipsand Tricks” what she says about how much polish to put on the plate is so true! You really will be surprise how little you need once you get started. Also, I always run a med-grit buffer/file over the surface of my stamper before each stamping session and as needed throughout (the acetone makes it too slippery). It really is key to picking up the design from the image plate, especially with “regular nail polishes”

·         Sassie’s Stampin’ Stampede “Non-Konad polishesthat work with Konad” This is a pretty extensive list of “regular” nail polishes that work for stamping. All have been either tested by Sassie or one of her readers. I actually have a bunch to add to the list but many of them are discontinued so it might be a moot point. Sally Hansen Insta-Dri crèmes are the best for stamping, btw.

·         The Nailphile’s “Konad Tutorial” with step by step pictures w/text.

Well, that’s all I’ve got for you for now. Any other questions, you can always ask! As you can see, I will probably overload you but too much info is better than not enough IMO. :-p

Let me know how it goes, bailosaurusrex!

 Hope this helps you, and to any other readers out there, be sure to follow me on my tumblr, as I will post a majority of my manicures there and reserve this blog for pic heavy posts and tutorials/how-tos.