I try to do my own mani once a week to keep up with all the abuse my nails go through during the week. This is one of my favorite spring/summer nail art manis. Since I work a corporate-ish job by day, I try not to go too crazy, but who wants a super boring corporate mani? No thanks.
I started my mani by prepping my nails for polish: remove old polish, cut and file nails, cut and/or push cuticles (I skip this when I’m lazy, like today), lotion up cuticles and hands (also skip this when I’m lazy, like today), remove lotion from nails with rubbing alcohol or nail polish remover (and I can skip this because I was lazy, yay!).
On to the painting supplies:
- Base Coat (Orly Nail Bonder)
- Nail Color (Essie Tart Deco)
- Accent Nail Color and also my favorite nude (Essie Topless & Barefoot)
- Flowers (Essie Blanc, Essie Raspberry, Essie Tart Deco listed above)
- Leaves (from Christmas 2012 Sephora collection, similar here; not pictured)
- Top Coat and arguably the best ever (Seche Vite)
- Toothpick or Nail Art Dotting Tool
- Nail Art Brush
- Acetone nail polish remover
- Scrap paper/magazine/business card
Seems like a lot, but I’ve accumulated these things over time. I found a local nail supply store that sells this stuff on the cheap (way cheaper than Target). As far as the polish goes, you can use any colors or brands you want. This just happens to be what I have.
I started with my Orly base coat. I think this stuff works miracles. I’ve even done tests where I’ve painted some nails with and some without. The nails with it far outlast the ones without. Off my Orly soap box.
Next, I painted 8 fingers with one coat of Tart Deco, skipping my fourth finger and using Topless and Barefoot instead. I’m going with an accent nail (lazy day), but you can do this on all 10 fingers. I repeat the same painting pattern to lay on a second coat. I don’t do this with all that much accuracy. My first priority is coverage and opacity. I even managed to get some on my palm. No idea how that happened.
Next comes the clean up with the nail art brush. I got mine on the cheap from Amazon and it doubles as a nail dotting tool. This thing is AMAZING. I pour a tiny bit of Acetone into the cap of the bottle (no need to buy one of those glass cup things they have in manicure shops) and dip my brush in and clean up around the edges. This is what gives me the I-paid-zillions-for-this-mani look. I take time to round out the edges against my cuticles so they look extra even with a perfect curve. I used to hate doing my own nails before, but this clean up trick completely changed my mind. Also, don’t kid yourself with the non-acetone removers. It’s not going to work. You’re already painting poison on your fingers (3 free/4 free/a million free does not mean its not poison). Get over it.
Look! All clean. Next up, flowers. I drop a glob of each color (Tart Deco, Raspberry, and Blanc) next to each other so they run together onto a business card, preferably one you don’t need. I prefer business cards because they don’t absorb liquid and leaves the polish nice and bubbly on top. You can use whatever you have that works. I took the nail art dotting tool (or toothpick) and dip it between the globs of colors and made tiny 1/4 moon shapes/motions. Since 1/2 the tool was in one color and the other half in another, it created a marble effect with the colors. I dipped randomly between each of the colors and drew in 1/4 moon shapes until I achieved something I liked.
Tip and Tricks:
- Make sure you draw a few that run off the edge of your nail. It’ll make the random pattern seem less contrived. If you get some on your skin, repeat clean up trick with acetone.
- This pattern is so abstract. If you mess up, nobody’s going to know.
- Practice on the business card first if you’re unsure of yourself. Helps to practice when you’re painting with your non-dominant hand. Lucky you if you’re ambidextrous. Its not as hard as you think.
It won’t look perfect and I don’t usually love what I’ve painted all that much until I add the leaves. I don’t know why, but the leaves make all the globbies (super official term) look 100 times better and more like roses/flowers. I used a seafoam-y green that came in an OPI/Sephora holiday collection in 2012, but you can use any shade of green you have.
Same deal again here. Dropped a glob of green on the card and dipped the dotting tool in the color. I started close to the flower and pulled away to create a skinny leaf looking tail. I try for 2 leaves to a flower. Practice on the business card if you’re doubting yourself (which you shouldn’t, you just drew awesome flowers on your nails).
I finished up with a coat Seche Vite, the greatest top coat of all time. Some top coats smear nail art, but I’ve never had a problem with Seche Vite. I don’t know why I always have the urge to go start a DIY and sand a chair after I’ve done my nails, but amazingly my nails are still in tact afterwards. Also, the dry time is amazing. Have you ever done your nails before going to bed and wake up with your sheets imprinted into the polish? Maybe just me? Have never had this happen with Seche Vite. Off my Seche Vite soapbox.
Here are my nails all done!