Monday, May 26, 2014

DIY Nail Art Decal

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Ooh check out this Pokemon nail art I did on my right hand!
I actually did not paint it directly on, but instead made my own nail decals so I could use my dominant hand to paint and also correct mistakes or start over without needing to remove all the polish on one hand!

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Here are two more Pokemon! The Clefairy didn't turn out well :( But it's a good try!

I used to spend tons of time on nail art to match my clothes, including recreating Lolita prints from my dresses on my nails. It was a very time-consuming process and exceedingly frustrating when done the day of a meetup, so being able to create a bunch of custom nail decals ahead of time is quite nifty.

Nail Polish in your colors of choice
A plastic sheet such as a file folder, plastic bag, etc. A firm but flexible surface works best!
Clear nail polish
Dotting tool, pins, pencils, brushes, etc. to help you with detail designs
Acrylic paint if you don't have all the polish colors you need (use only small amounts because it's inflexible)

Paint a base. Make sure it is opaque and try to keep the edges neat.

Add your details. Let the colors dry between layers so they don't mix. Try to keep the colors opaque but not too thick or the decal becomes thick overall and may be more difficult to use because it is stiffer.

Top Coat
Brush a layer of clear polish over the whole design, giving yourself a wide margin. The clear polish will make it easier for you to lift up the decal when dried.

This is the most tedious part, because you just really want to pick it up and see if it's worked! Let it dry for several hours. Even if the top layer is dry, touching it too early may squish the bottom layers and make your design blobby (the same thing that happens to manicures when you try using your hands before they are fully dry!)

Peel and Stick!
Use a pin or dotting tool to pick at the edges of your dry decal and slowly peel it away from the plastic surface. Being able to bend the surface away from the decal will be a big help, too. Trim the edges as needed so fewer air bubble form in the clear edges when you stick them on your nails.

To use, apply a base coat (color or clear) and let it get tacky. Then place your decal on your nail and quickly press out the air bubbles with a pin head, dotting tool, or other small round point. Try to get rid of as many air bubbles as possible, because those are a giveaway that these are not painted directly on your nails!

And then you are done! Tada!

The completed decals can be saved for future use and come off with regular polish remover. I'm not sure how long they keep, though I imagine saving them for too long may cause the polish to become brittle. Have fun and pretty up those nails!