Since it’s Mani Monday I thought I’d get not only a fun nail art idea but a good tutorial on some nail art basics. First I’ll post a picture of the finished product and we can work backwards from there! (If you want to avoid the nail art how-to and just get the look you can skip the words and just check out the pictures.)
Bam! Something like this seems pretty complex if all you’re armed with is some bottles of lacquer. There’s definitely a secret, though, and it’s the tools you use. Here’s everything that I needed to do this mani.
The fruit slices and rhinestones might make it over the top for some people and I totally get that. The dotted french just seemed to lack an extra sparkle to me so I thought I’d spice things up a bit. I’ll work through everything I did step by step. Even though I have acrylics,the first thing I like to do is prevent discoloration by using a clear coat on bottom.
I’ve been using the “No Chips Ahead” topcoat from Essie and it is neither chip resistant nor anything resembling a topcoat. It’s thin and doesn’t dry smooth or glossy, but it dries quickly and makes an alright base so that’s what it’s become for me. Since I wanted something colorful, I picked out these lacquers for the tips.
For the dots I used my recent favorite, Illamasqua’s Jo’mina. The pink, named “Fuchsia”, looks washed out in that photo, but it is crazy neon in the bottle. I picked it up for $2 at a dollar store, and while it looks horrible on its own the color comes to life under a good topcoat. The top coat I’m using is my new Nails Inc. Gel Effects “plumping” top coat. For a neat looking tip, I applied the pink using my slanted brush.
Don’t concern yourself with coverage for the first coat, just get the shape as neat as you can. Use the angled tip of the brush to give a nice curve on the edges of the nail. Because I’m bad at remembering to take pictures consistently, I don’t have one of the finished plain tips; just try to get an even coverage so that there’s no spots where light can show through. For the dots, a dotting tool is immensely helpful. I’ve used toothpicks and bobby pins and all of the DIY dotters, but having a tool designed precisely for what you’re doing makes everything that much easier.
I like to put a drop of lacquer onto a notecard or other surface to dip both my brush and dotter into. It keeps a source quick at hand for refilling the tool without drying out the bottle. At this point, if you have any mess either from the base or the dotted lacquer, you can use the same slanted brush dipped in remover to clean up or push back any polish that got outside of the shape you want. Next is the fun bit! I love playing around with 3D nail art and there’s one thing you’ll need to save yourself infinite heartache:
Your tweezers will be your new best friend if you want to do any sort of 3D manicure. Even just for laying down striping tape these save you time, keep you from getting adhesive all over your fingers, and prevent your fingers from dirtying any of your shiny nail art parts. With 3D nail art, less really is more if you’re looking for something wearable.
It’s incredibly easy to go over the top because of how small each nail is, and I try to stick to one “large” piece on my thumb and accent finger and a smaller decoration on the others. Use a dab of basecoat or nail glue as an adhesive for the parts you want to stick on. Don’t worry about using too much – the topcoat is what will really seal them on. Gently place with a tweezer and try not to push to avoid damaging the lacquer underneath.
There’s a balance to be struck between the colors of the lacquer and the 3D pieces – they should look nice together, but if the shades are too similar the deco may get lost which totally defeats the purpose!
When you’ve gotten all of your 3D deco tacked in place, apply a generous amount of topcoat over it to lock it in place. I might lose one stone after a few days, but usually getting the pieces off is harder than anything else.
I really like how this mani turned out, and I can’t wait to do more fun fruit-adorned tips in the future. Be sure to post in the comments if you have any questions about technique or products!