I’ve moved into my new space, so the nail polish is out of storage now. Horray! Recently, one of the ModStylists at ModCloth asked me if I’d like to submit a design for the Nail Klub and Dresses challenge. I hadn’t done my nails in forever (moving is tough on a manicure, right?) so I was happy to have an excuse to do my nails and to give myself a challenge.
I used Touch of Tracery as my inspiration dress:
Julep’s IT Girl Elle as the background color for my manicure, a white striper polish (those are the ones with the thin liner brushes), a feto soap white polish for the flowers, a dotting tool to make the flowers, and foil for my palette. (picked up the foil trick from nails y’all.) I used the striper brush to make the branches – not unlike my cherry blossom manicure I posted on Instagram. In fact, it’s almost a greyscale (purplescale?) version of the same mani, but with more flowers. How’d I do?
I’ve been teaching lots of Make Your Own Nail Polish workshops lately, and something I’ve been hearing a lot from women about doing their own nails or nail art is “I could never do that.” or “I’m not good at painting my nails.” “It looks like a 5-year old painted my right hand.” I have a secret you guys. I’m kind of terrible at painting my nails. and at nail art. It takes me forever, y’all! I usually ding them before they dry, and then have to start over. But I’ve been doing it more lately and getting a little better at it each time! Through the instagram hashtag #nailart I have learned to use a small concealer brush to clean up the polish up quickly from your skin, and I even found out about a beginning nail art class held by @nailsyall through the instagram nails/nail art community here in Austin and took it! I had a book on nail art, but it required a bunch of supplies I hadn’t accumulated yet, so I’m glad I took a class. She showed us how to use nail art polish brushes, dotting tools & showed us how to make our own stamps from plastic wrap along with using foil as a palette. I also read/watch a lot of nail art tutorials. I couldn’t paint a leopard to save my life during the @nailsyall class, but on my 2nd and 3rd attempt (pictured) I was able to on the practice wheel. It helped that I didn’t use a color dot in the center for me to make the shapes. I painted over my first leopard (it’s the green nail) because it was so bad, ha!
Getting better at painting your nails takes practice. So do your nails often, and you’ll get better at it! Pictured are most of my manis from 2014. I figured out I like doing themed nails (like if I’m going to an event, I try to match the event’s colors). So there are a few red and blue combinations for Maker Faire. Last night I did the red nails with white outline because I’ll be at the thinkery teaching soapmaking today. I might do a dot outline for my right hand – polka dots are one of my favorite nail art designs so far. They are easy and look so cute! All you need is a dotting tool, pin head, or bobby pin to dip into a little drop of nail polish on your palette. Are you on instagram? If you want to see my latest mani or project, follow me @fetosoap.
Nails Y’all Advanced Nail ArtClass Examples
Last Sunday, I went to @nailsyall‘s Advanced Nail Art Class. I signed up for it by mistake! I meant to sign up for the Beginning Class, but as it turned out, I was the only beginner to sign up, so Meghann invited me to the Advanced class. She caught me up to speed by reviewing how to do an ombre, tiger stripes and leopard spots. I chose a tan and deep blue for my first ombre.
Starting my first ombre
We had the option of practicing on our nails or on a nail wheel. Most of the people I know who do nail art use a plastic yogurt container top as their palette, but Meghann uses small pieces of foil. She had us tear off little pieces of a makeup sponge to use for our ombre. My favorite designs were the ikat (southwest diamond weave pattern that’s made it’s way back into current fashions) and the lady eye. The most difficult design for me was the tribal nail design (stripes, dots and triangles!) and the leopard (think in terms of three when you outline!). My wheel is the one that’s front and center: I painted over the leopard with my favorite citron green color. She also taught us how to make a shattered glass look and how to make turquoise with plastic wrap. She may have covered more, but the tribal nail took me FOREVER, so I may have been still working on that one! Meghan said that it sometimes takes up to three hours for her to finish a tribal nails pattern on a client! Wowzers! Since I didn’t get to attend the beginning class, she gave me a copy of the zine she illustrated for the first class (she’s also a talented cartoonist) along with other goodies + tips on how to use them. I promptly lost my black striper brush as soon as I got home, so I ordered a whole set of 25. You might be thinking “You ordered nail polish? But you make nail polish!” Yes! I ordered nail polish! Striper polishes are those nail polish bottles that have a super thin brush like an eyeliner brush. I did some research online and couldn’t find any at a reasonable price. It actually cost less for me to buy a set of 25 stripers ($20 shipped) than to buy 25 empty striper brush bottles! I may not have looked hard or long enough, and didn’t go to any local stores, so I might be able to find some there! And you know after I find some, I will totally be making my own striper nail polishes!
Another thing you might be thinking is “Why did you go to a nail art class?” so I’ll answer it just in case: I am a formulator, designer & teacher. I make & teach others how to make their own nail polish (any color I desire whether it be a creme, shimmer or glitter bomb) but that doesn’t make me an nail technician (like the talented Meghann) or expert on nail art. (not yet anyway! I have a lot of practicing to do!) Nail art is something that takes practice, like any other skill, amirite?
Meghan’s next nail art demonstration is at The Thinkery, March 6th, 7-9pm.
and I’ll be teaching my next walk-up nail polish making workshops at SXSW Create on Friday, Saturday & Sunday March 7-9, 11am- 6pm at the Austin Mini Maker Faire booth. It’s at the Long Center 701 W. Riverside
and at SXSW Renegade Craft Fair March 13, 14 + 15th Noon – 8pm at the Palmer Events Center.
Both of these events are FREE and open to the public.
A SXSW Guest Pass is required to attend this and many other free SXSW events. Get yours on site at Renegade or in advance at multiple Austin locations. More information here.