Monday, 23 May 2011

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Wow it has been a long time since I posted anything to do with my nails. In all honesty I stopped doing much with my nails for a while. I used up all of my kawaii Japanese nail stickers and I kept ruining any designs with jewels because I have a really hands-on job and I was lucky to have them last a week without half the jewels dropping off. But I have now discovered the fun and excitement of designing and painting my own nails! I just got my nails done at a new salon because my usual one was continually disappointing me. The new one I visited not only did an awesome job of refilling my nails, they have some awesome designs AND use the most fabulous nail polishes from the USA.

Naturally I am too much of a tight arse to actually pay to have them done, so I took mental note of their design and decided to try my own ones. I’ve never paints designs on my nails before so I went for something very simple: TIGER STRIPES. I thought I’d also do up a small tutorial in case you also want to try it out too.


Paint your nails with a good background colour. I chose the most amazing holographic purple and silver when I got my nails done. The purple one is by OPI and the silver by China Glaze (I wasn’t clever enough to write down the colour names though, unfortunately). I went for alternating colours again as it’s simple but looks much more exciting than just one colour on all nails. Make sure your nails are totally, absolutely dry before moving on to the next step. I left mine overnight before I started the design, but you can probably just leave it a good hour or two.


Get yourself some nail art lacquer. Now, nail art is still pretty small=scale in Australia (well, in Brisbane anyway) so the only brand I’ve found with a wide range of awesome polishes, including nail art lacquers is BYS. They have all sorts of colours and styles (like crackle, matte and UV) and they’re really cheap, about $5 each at shops like Cosmetics Plus. I’ve used a few of their polishes and find them to be pretty good, though I’ve not tested them extensively yet. I bought the nail art lacquer in black because they have super thin, long brushed specifically for this sort of thing. I’ve heard you can actually buy special paint brushes for nail art in the USA but am yet to find something in Australia without going to an art supplies store or find a fine makeup brush, so this is your best bet.


Find a design you like, to get inspiration/copy! Unless you’re a fabulous artist, you need a reference point. I loved this design by Phresh Mentality so I used it, combined with the design I saw at my nail salon, to come up with my own version of tiger stripes. Google the hell out of what you’re going for and then practice it on the edge of a plate until you’re confident enough to move onto your nails.


Shake the polish really well, then slowly draw the brush out of the bottle, gently wiping the excess off one side of the brush. Take note of how the paint drips off, I found a great big drip would come down after about 10 seconds which would be disastrous while trying to paint a fine line. Once you’re sure you won’t have any nasty surprises, dip the brish in again and ripe off the excess as you take the brush out on one side of the brush only. You really only need a small amount of polish so if it’s looking too thick, wipe a little bit off the other side from halfway down the brush. The polish on the top half of the brush will run down and that should be enough to create a fine line.

Start up the top of the nail, flattening the brush ever so slightly on the edge of the nail then lifting quickly as you draw the brush across the nail. This is a very quick and delicate process because the tiger stripes are only going to reach about two-thirds of the way across the nail. You nat the loine to be at its thickest on the edge of the nail, taperin to nothing as the line nears the other edge. Repeat this pricess on the other side, just below the first line and continue down the nail until your nails are evenly striped.

Now, as you’re probably well aware, a tiger doesn’t have perfect little stripes all down it’s body. So, if you’re feeling confident, make it a bit more artistic by moving the brish side to side ever so slightly as you drag it across to make the edges more rough and tiger-ish. It also looks great to have two lines coming from one point and then have a line from the other side pointing to the middle of the double line . Here’s a close up of what I mean:

Simple but very effective! Likewise, you can fill any large gaps with a small line in the muddle of the nail, like up the top of that close up.

Repeat the process on each nail, taking EXTRA care on the hand which you normally write with. I actually did better using my left hand as I used less polish and went very slowly and carefully, which resulted in very lovely stripes. I did get a bit cocky as I was getting to the last three nails, but one fat or two fat stripes don’t look too bad at all.


Once all of your nails are done, let the stripes dry thoroughly. Even more so than what you did with the background colour. If you try and put a top coat on too early, you will end up dragging the stripes down the nail and ruining all of your hard work. Give it a few hours before applying the top coat, which will help keep the stripes on and generally make your nails look shiny and excellent for a lot longer. One top coat should be plenty. Please be careful with the top coat, no matter how long you let the stripes dry. Nail polish is an effective nail polish remover, so you’re best to dab the top coat on before lightly drawing it down.



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Cara Westworth
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