July 23, 2014

Don't Be Koi

Don't Be Koi

I created these nails a while ago, but was recently asked by Nail It! Magazine to make a tutorial for their website.  I submitted the picture to them for the fish theme nails that appear in the current issue of the magazine.  This design didn't get picked, although my sushi nails did.  But having a tutorial featured on their website is pretty cool too. 

Koi NailsMy stamping skills have improved since I first did this mani, so I actually think it turned out better this time.  You can see in my old picture that I submitted (right), that the waves on the thumb didn't get fully stamped, and some of the details on the koi got lost.  So it was actually nice to be able to re-do this look and give the nail stamps the justice they deserve.

The nail plate I'm using is MM29 by +Messy Mansion.  They are based in Australia, so you can buy directly from their website, or on Etsy.  For this design, you'll be stamping the koi and the waves background.  One thing I really like about Messy Mansion plates is that their designs are REALLY big.  This allows full coverage for the background stamps, and lets you break up a design over multiple nails as I've done here with the koi.  I still haven't tried the rest of the designs on the plate so I'll have to play with this again. 

Here is a closer look at the designs for this mani.

Nail Polish
Polish Used:
  • Ulta - Faded Blues
  • Piggy Polish - Polar Sea Ice
  • Wet n Wild - Sunny Side Up
  • Wet n Wild - Black Crème
Other Supplies:
  • Messy Mansion plate MM29
  • Dotting tool
  • Tweezers
  • Nail stamp (a few if you have them)
  • Nail brush
  • Nail polish remover
  • Base and top coats

I've always been obsessed with koi.  I love feeding them, looking at them, anything koi related.  When I have my own house, I want an indoor koi pond.  In the meantime I'll have to settle for koi nails.  Here is how to create this look:
  1. Apply a base color.  I'm using Faded Blues by Ulta.  It is a nice light blue, so the waves stamp will stand out against it.
    Blue Nails
  2. Stamp the waves using Polar Sea Ice by Piggy Polish.  The bright blue is accentuates the waves but is not overbearing.  The koi should be the stand out of these nails.
    Stamped Nails
  3. Create a koi decal.  To get the "colored in" look of the koi, you'll need to make a decal out of the stamp first.  Because the koi is so big, it is helpful to break it up over multiple stampers.  I used three stampers so I could make each nail's decal on its own, and wouldn't have to worry about trimming issues.  If you don't have more than one stamper, it is not a problem, it will just take a little longer.  To create the decals:
    • Stamp the koi onto a stamper using black polish, and let it dry for about 15 minutes.
    • Using a dotting tool, color in the design using Sunny Side Up, and let it dry for about 20 minutes.
    • Paint a coat of clear top coat over the entire design, and let it dry 30-40 minutes.
    • Using tweezers, gently remove the decal from the stamper.  It is easier to run the tweezers under the design while pushing down into the stamp, versus peeling the design up off the stamper which can tear the design more easily.
    • When you flip the decal over, you'll see that it is now colored in and ready to go on your nails.
      Koi Stamp
  4. Trim the decals by cutting off most of the excess clear polish, and try to get the decal as close to the size of your nail as possible.  The decal won't stick to your nail on its own, so you can temporarily place it on for trimming purposes.
  5. Apply a layer of clear top coat, and place your trimmed decal in the desired location.  It is best to start with the koi's head on the middle finger, and then work to its body and tail next.  Press the decal on gently with tweezers to smooth out any air bubbles and the edges.  Don't worry if the decal still sticks out past your nail.  This can be cleaned up later.  Repeat the process for the rest of the nails with the body on the ring finger, and the end of the tail on the thumb.
  6. Any edges that extend beyond the nail can be melted off with some acetone on a nail brush.
  7. Seal everything with a few coats of clear top coat.
In outdoor, direct sun, the orange is a little darker.
Koi Nails

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