Monday, October 13, 2014

Tutorial for Muted Mondrian Mani

A friend requested a tutorial for my Muted Mondrian Mani. I did my best to recreate it in pictorial form.

This is everything I used for this mani:

From left: Orly Bonder (base coat), Seche Vite (top coat), Essie - Sand Tropez, Zoya - Natty, Hits - Bardana, Nails Inc. - Hampstead Gardens, and Orly Instant Artist in Black. I also have an angled brush from the Bundle Monster brush set, acetone, a small ceramic bowl for the acetone, and an angled E.L.F. brush for clean up.

Start with a clean nail...




Apply basecoat (not shown), let dry, and then apply two coats of your base color. In this case, it's Essie - Sand Tropez.




Next, draw your lines using Orly Instant Artist in black.




However you want it to look will do. If you don't have Orly Instant Artist (or similar nail art polish), I recommend using a striping brush and whatever polish you'd like. The striping brush makes it really easy to make decently straight lines. Here's what the Orly Instant Artist brush looks like (which is what a regular striping brush looks like):


Long and thin brushes make striping pretty easy

Now it's time to begin filling in the rectangles. I put a dab of each color on a piece of paper and then use my angled brush to fill in the rectangle. Use any brush that works for you. It doesn't have to be angled; I'm just feeling fancy. Do your best to stay in the lines, but if you overlap a little, it's okay, we'll fix it later.






Of course, be sure to clean your brush with acetone between each color.








One layer of each color

Add a second layer of the colors to fill in any thin spots if needed...

Lots of overlap on the black rectangle lines

Go over the black rectangle lines with Orly Instant Artist (or equivalent) to crisp up the lines. It's okay if it looks a bit lumpy (like mine).




I like to clean up around the edges before applying top coat. For this, I use an angled eyeshadow brush like this one from E.L.F.:




Apply top coat and everything smooths out and looks miraculously lovely:




Do your other nails and admire your hard work:


Apologies for the crap lighting


Was this tutorial helpful? Questions? Ideas? Comment below and I'll do my best to help! 


Thanks for reading!




All polishes used in this post are my own.










Sunday, September 14, 2014

Muted Mondrian-Inspired Mani (with a coordinating fan brush mani on the non-dom. hand)

I have another art-inspired mani for you this week from another Dutch painter, no less. This one is a request from a friend and it was so much fun to paint this one. I chose to do a variation on the famous geometric paintings by Piet Mondrian.


Mondrian-style art (stock photo)

Despite the horrifically hot weather (it's over 100 degrees today...oyyy), I'm ready for Fall to begin so I thought I'd try to usher it in by using colors that remind me of the season while still keeping to the red, yellow, blue vibe of Mondrian's art.


Mondrian; nail art; fall colors
Muted Mondrian mani. And the thermometer is chillin' (ha) between 100 and 110. Awesome.

Finding the best light source to most accurately represent the colors can be difficult. I'm not gonna lie, the next photo was taken in the refrigerator. There's good lighting in there! (Plus it helps neutralize my lobstery-red fingers with its bluish LED awesomeness)

Mondrian; nail art; fall colors
Indoor lighting

The following photo was not taken in the refrigerator.


Mondrian; nail art; fall colors
Direct sun

The base color is Essie - Sand Tropez. I also used Zoya - Natty, Nails Inc. - Hampstead Gardens, and Hits - Bardana. The lines were made with a black nail art polish by Orly.


For my right hand, I wanted to do something that would look decent with my left hand, but wouldn't take as much time to accomplish. This is what resulted: 


Fan Brush, nail art, french tip, fall colors
Refrigerator lighting

I really love how it turned out. It coordinates with the colors of the Mondrian-inspired side and also opposes it with its messy colors and angled lines. I used the same polishes for this one. The smeary look is done with a fan brush. I added angled tips to finish it off.  


I'm really enjoying these artist-inspired nail art designs. I wonder what to try next....


Thanks for reading!!



All polishes used in this post are my own.





Saturday, September 6, 2014

Starry Night

I love having fun with my manis and if I have the time, rest assured I will do my best to make it elaborate. Tiny paint brushes seem to be my tool of choice lately so I decided to try my hand at an oft-replicated (imitated?) piece of art -- Van Gogh's Starry Night.

Starry Night - Van Gogh


I have zero experience painting anything but my nails so this was a challenge for me. And I like challenges.


Van Gogh; Starry Night; nail art; impressionist
Direct sun (looks super bright...I think Blogger is messing with my colors)

Van Gogh; Starry Night; nail art; impressionist
Indirect sun

Van Gogh; Starry Night; nail art; impressionist
Thumb detail


I'm really happy with how this turned out. It's not perfect, but that's okay. It's my interpretation. :) This is one of those manis that I'd like to revisit sometime to work on improving. Maybe some painting lessons along the way just for fun.

BONUS! WOOHOO! I didn't want to do the same thing on my right hand (was getting tired) so I opted for a vertical gradient using the same colors. I'm not sure how I feel about it, but at least it coordinates with my left hand (and didn't take hours to accomplish). 


gradient; nail art


I'd love to try my hand (ha!) at something you'd like to see. Any requests for particular artwork? 

Thanks for reading!


Sunday, August 24, 2014

Nails for Doctor Who Series 8 Premiere

I'm a Doctor Who fan and yesterday (Aug. 23) was a very exciting day with the Series 8 premiere. YAY!



But, alas, I'm in the U.S. and do not have BBC America so I have to wait for it on Hulu. Despite the wait, I felt it necessary for my nails to reflect my excitement. This is most certainly my most detailed mani ever and it was so much fun to do!

DoctorWho;TARDIS;Dalek;Galaxy


Left hand: All four doctors from the new series (from left 12th: Capaldi, 11th: Smith, 10th: Tennant; 9th: Eccleston) and the TARDIS. Is it weird I have the chests of 4 different men on my nails?

12th, 11th, 10th, and 9th Doctors - sun

12th, 11th, 10th, and 9th Doctors - indirect sun

12th, 11th, 10th, and 9th Doctors with the TARDIS

I am especially proud of the 'Police Box' lettering on the TARDIS. It's not perfect, but it's legible! Success.

TARDIS;DOCTORWHO



Right hand: Galaxy nails, a Dalek, a Cyberman, and the Union Jack. Painted with my non-dominant hand. My left hand skills seem to be improving, but it's still so awkward. The Cyberman isn't my favorite, but it'll do. I love how the Dalek turned out. Exterminate!

Dalek;Cybermen;galaxy;doctorwho

Dalek;Cybermen;galaxy;doctorwho


So this took me an obscene amount of time to complete...cough...5 hours...cough.

What?!

The doctors took an especially long time as I wasn't completely sure how I was going to accomplish them until I actually started. I love how they turned out. The 5 hours was totally worth it in the end and now I can wave my nerd flag high and proud.

I used 21 different polishes and black and white acrylic paint, also striping tape and rhinestones to complete this mani. I don't ever want to take it off and I can't stop staring at them. Now to watch some more Doctor Who!

Happy Dance!


Thanks for reading! Anyone else do Doctor Who nails for the premiere? I'd love to see!





Thursday, July 17, 2014

First Attempt at a Stamp Decal

Well, hello there! It has been many moons since my previous post, but I promise I'm still here. I'm not planning on having so many moons between now and the next post,

I had a strong desire to use Geminids from Model City Polish this week. As I rarely use a single polish in my manis, I decided I needed to include a gradient to match. This would normally be plenty, but after watching a stamp decal tutorial (below), I realized I couldn't live without that either. I put all these things together and got this:
Direct sun

Indoor daylight

Arty cat fur backdrop (thanks, Gatsby!)

Unfortunately, I can't find the exact video I watched, but this one from Lucy's Stash is pretty similar to what I did. 



A couple things I did differently: I didn't add top coat on the stamper, but rather, painted a background color, let it dry, and then placed it on my nail over wet base coat. After placing the decal on my nail, I cleaned up around the edges first and then applied top coat. If I applied top coat like she did in the video, I'd surely make a huge mess.


Polishes and tools used for this mani:

Add caption

From top left:
Konad Special Stamping Polish - Black
butter LONDON - Royal Navy
Zoya - Robyn
Zoya - Wednesday
Zoya - Arizona
Zoya - Ziv
Model City Polish - Geminids
Orly Bonder (base coat)
Seche Vite (top coat)
Vivid Lacquer squishy stamper and scraper
Beauty sponge (for the gradient)
Mash Plate #39


What do you think? Have you tried this stamp decal method? Questions? Comments? Please post below! This definitely won't be the last time I play with this technique. So much fun!


Thanks for reading :3


All items used in this post are from my personal collection and were not provided for review. All opinions are my own.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Ombre Nails with Flakies on Top

I am a little obsessed with teal right now and decided to try an ombre style mani with a variety of different polishes. I also wanted a good reason to slather Zoya Maisie over all my nails because it's just so pretty. This mani is from a week ago so it's not as pristine as a fresh mani, but I think it held up amazingly well.

These are the colors I used. It ranges from Black to teal to mint green. The lighting is lousy and doesn't really show off the true colors. The Julep is a matte black (Julep calls it a latex finish), but I put a top coat on it to make it shiny. BL Bluey is the only shimmery base color I used. Slapper, Wednesday, and Re-Fresh Mint are all cremes.



All of the following photos were taken in shaded outdoor lighting. The direct sun photos didn't do the polish any justice.



 The only pic with my thumb. The others turned out weird and didn't show it off well so I didn't include them.

Shaded outdoor lighting

I love Zoya Maisie so much! I love how it looks different, yet similar on each nail.

Shaded outdoor lighting

This picture shows off the shimmer of the ring finger nail with BL Bluey as the base. I didn't think I'd like Maisie with a shimmery base, but it looks pretty nifty after all.



I used a base coat of OPI Nail Envy and Seche Vite for top coat. In the photo with all the polishes, you might've noticed some numbers on top of the bottles. That's part of my cataloging system (that I'm a tad behind in updating), but I'll do a post about it another time. 


Thanks for reading!
-Melissa



All polishes presented here are from my collection and were not provided for review. All opinions are my own.








Friday, March 21, 2014

A Beach-Inspired Mani

Well, hello there! My goodness, it's been a while since my last post! Time seriously flies by. I went into this blogging thing thinking I'd post at least a couple times a week, preferably more, but, man it has been difficult to find the time lately. I have lots of pictures to post, it's just getting around to doing it. Sometimes I'm quite the procrastinator. Over the next month or two, posts will likely be limited as I'm finishing up my dissertation so I can (finally) graduate this Spring. Basically for the next several weeks, I will have no life and will live in a cave, but I will emerge with unyielding glory and triumph (or something like that).

I have some pretty nails to share with you today. During my recent unplanned blogging hiatus, I went to Hawaii for a wee vacation and needed appropriate nails. (Note: Pictures were taken on camera phone and the lighting isn't the greatest.)




For this mani, I used Zoya Zuza on my index, middle, and pinkie fingers. The thumb and ring fingers were done using a damp sponge to create the gradient. I did a base layer of Essie Marshmallow (to make it squishy looking and to help the neon pop). Then I put a line of China Glaze Yellow Polka Dot Bikini, a thin line of Essie Marshmallow, and a line of China Glaze For Audrey on a damp makeup sponge and dabbed it on the nail. The glitter topper is Elevation Polish - Stay Behind, Catch A Wave--one of my absolute favorite polishes. Unfortunately, in the thumb close-up, Essie Marshmallow doesn't really show up. I dabbed it a bit too much, but you can see it on the ring finger.

I love the sparkling ocean effect the glitter gives. The turquoise color looks just like the water in Hawaii and the white from the Essie polish is meant to look like the foam from the ocean. And the neon? Well, it's fun and sunny...like the beach!

Thanks for reading!

-Melissa



All polishes used in the mani are from my own collection and were not provided for review.