Stamped Heart Nails for Anja…and for Nick

Hi! Today’s post is a bit of a two-for-one. I’ve got a fun design for a Birthday nail art party that also happens to include all about my very first adventures with Soak Off Gel polish.

KimettKolor Heart Stamped Decals Over Gel Polish
Spoiler alert — it went fairly well. Hope you’ll check out all the stages shown in this post…

Please allow me a little bit of introduction here. So, as everyone knows, life can be unpredictable and cruel. I’m bringing this up because the duration of time that is shown in this post, from beginning of the nail painting to the removal of the color, is much longer than was planned.

My family has just lost someone way too young after a long and fierce battle with cancer. And, I’ve needed to step back and wallow in grief and worry for my family members who lost their son, brother, cousin, nephew, grandson.

Alternately, I have much gratitude in knowing there is peace now for my cousin, Nick. And, there is a LOT of love, support and caring in my family and our many friends too. We will always celebrate his life and we will find a way forward as best we can.

OK. That’s plenty of non-nail related words from me today — but I do like to share just enough that you know there is a “real” person behind this blog and these finger photos. And, thanks for letting me. It feels good to connect in this small way.

KimettKolor Heart Stamped Decals Over Gel Polish

 

Just a small message from the heart. 💛

A New Technology

(Well, not literally “new”… but new to Kimett Kolor.)

After the way of it all, it seems the best approach to describe both this nail art and my new experience with soak-off gel polishes is to combine them into one story. Here goes –

KimettKolor Gel Polish Supplies

 

Thanks to a nail buddy, I had a bit of help in finding out what supplies to acquire. The photo above shows the majority of what I purchased (sans some small items like extra wood sticks, etc.). If you don’t have a friend who has already dabbled in at-home gel nails, there are a ton of helpful blog posts and YouTube videos available.
Shown above:

  1. LED curing lamp: Melody Susie 48W LED Nail Dryer (I found this review post and video helpful in choosing this lamp, but you can google and find lots more.)
  2. Cleanser & Remover: part of this Onyx Professional Nail Polish Remover Kit
  3. Soak-off tools: ASP Soak Off Gel Polish Caps and Foam Pads
  4. Soak-off base & top coat: Melody Susie
  5. Peel-off base coat, no-wipe top coat, white & black polishes: Madam Glam
Items #1-4: I purchased through Amazon.com
I’ll be honest, I went through all of the stages of apprehension about gel polishes. (I’m going to call them gel polishes — even though I will always mean the soak-off gel polishes as opposed to the professional gel services offered in salons.) For the past year or more, I’ve been saying “Nope”, not for me. Then this year…I started to waver.
As you know from my blogging and discussion in my latest Swatch Spotlight post, I have no intentions of forgoing use my “regular” nail polish. But…I am always looking for ways to reduce the time it takes me to complete my nail art — or more specifically the time of the basic steps so that there is more time for the fun stuff! This is where I think the gels will be a big bonus for me. And today’s post shows off some of these bonuses very well.

Polish Palette

KimettKolor Madam Glam Perfect White

 

While going through the motions of applying the gel polish (base coat, color coats, top coat) in this newbie adventure, I did NOT think I would be blogging/sharing the photos. I thought I’d just do this one and then share the next after I learned a thing or two. Yup, we know what happens when we plan.So above is an informal cell-phone picture of my fledgling application of an very appropriately named white gel polish — Perfect White by Madam Glam. I know it might sound funny to be excited about a white polish – but Oh My Glam! I love this one! It really is the perfect white.

As everyone says, there are three things to practice (and they’re right!): THIN coats, tip application (aka capping the tips), and top-coat application (aka making sure you only have it on the nail surface before curing it). All of which I need to practice, practice, practice. LOL.

However, it can not go without mentioning — how incredible it is to have perfectly DRY nails in such a short time. I could go right on with my day – do dishes, apply nail-vinyls without worry, whatever! I can only imagine the time savings to come – Yippee!!

Design Details

It was then FIVE days later that I quickly put together this nail art look to join a surprise Nail-Gram Birthday for Anja. You’ll see that my nails grow very fast by the difference in size of my gap between polish and my cuticle line. Also, I had used the soak-off base coat (again, not planning to leave these on as long as I did) — so there was the start of pulling up along the sides. But, at the time, it was more important to me to participate in the collaboration than worry about quality of the outcome.

Important to note though: If I had painted with regular white polish, it would not have been suitable at all for nail art five days later — so I have already experienced the benefit of the gels’ lasting longer for sure!

KimettKolor Heart Stamped Decals Over Gel Polish

If you’re on Instagram, you can check out the fun Birthday collage put together by host Doris (@dorisnailsdiary) and see all of the fabulous re-creations of the Birthday gal’s nail designs, Anja (@nailart_by_anja) using the hashtag #happybdayanjasmit.

Anja is no stranger to life’s challenges, yet she’s an up-beat and very kind lady living in Holland, whom I’m glad to have come across in the nailstagram world. I was very grateful for the opportunity to celebrate life during this tough week and was inspired by Anja’s fighter’s spirit. She paints her nails as a hobby, and therapeutic escape like many of us, subsequently posting her nail art on Instagram

I really, really wish I had a stamping plate that had a heart pattern closer to the one that she used. I am in love with the whimsical and randomness of those hearts. The stamp plate I had is cute too — but just not the same. It was interesting though — I have both the first generation and the, later issued, larger version of the same Bundle Monster image.

KimettKolor Heart Stamped Decals Over Gel Polish

 

On my index and ring finger I used the image from the BMXL-10 plate. And, on the ring and pinky nails, I used the BM-317 plate. I stamped using black stamping polish from Konad, then painted in the hearts with acrylic paints while the image was still on the stampers (5 in total).

One of the reasons I liked this design of hers, was the incorporation of blue and silver – making it not just a feminine or romantic heart motif. I also like the color hues that Anja used better than mine…but the dark pink that I used ended up getting trimmed off the edges. Small oops. And, I added gold – because it is the color of the Childhood Cancer Awareness campaign…for Nick. Yellow is also the Sarcoma Awareness color (Nick’s type of cancer). All in all, my design had a similar, but yet different look. And, well, that’s that.

Oh – did you notice I’m not showing my thumb??

Well. See. The thing is…that…Anja did her design using the reverse stamping technique – which I like and wanted to use also. But. When I applied a coat of regular top coat to my thumb, waited for it to be mostly dry but still tacky, and stamped the colored-in image…it didn’t come off of the stamper completely. So – I tried again thinking my top coat was too dry to “suck” the dry image off of the stamper. This time I didn’t let the top coat dry as long, and when I went to apply the rest of the image, it all smeared because it was too wet.

Now, had I had time to remake another one, it would have been great. Because, all I did was use some non-acetone remover and off came the stamping mess, leaving behind a perfectly pristine white nail. Oh – gel polish – you have won me over already!!

So, what did I do, you ask?Time was running out and I needed to use the images I had already created. So, I applied a layer of regular top coat over the images on the stampers and then used the stamping decal method to apply the designs to my four fingers. Yay – I was still able to finish that, take some pictures and get my entry in to Doris in time for Anja’s party. Phew!!

KimettKolor Heart Stamped Decals Over Gel Polish

Oh – and applying stamping decals over a gel nail base — it’s way, way easier! Another bonus because you can press and apply the decal without worrying about squishing the base. I still got some wrinkles and other flaws in my application, and my matte top coat smeared the design a little (I was rushing) — but again, it got done!! Yay!!

So to recap, for this design, I combined gel polish and regular polish, and acrylic paints! Here’s the list:

  • Peel-off base coat: Madam Glam (can be used with regular or gel polish)
  • White gel polish: 3 coats (two will be fine once I’m more practiced) of Perfect White by Madam Glam
  • No-wipe gel top coat: Madam Glam
  • Stamping polish: black by Konad
  • Stamp plates: BM-XL10 and BM-317 by Bundle Monster
  • Acrylic paints: assorted brands from craft store
  • Glossy top coat for decals: Shine B-right by B² Lacquer
  • Matte top coat: B Matte also by B² Lacquer

 

KimettKolor Heart Stamped Decals Over Gel Polish
So, the question on a lot of folk’s minds when considering trying out the gel polishes has to do with their removal. Because I chose to use a peel-off base this time, I can’t yet speak to the soaking part. Well…not exactly. I did end up having to soak four of my tips because I didn’t understand the importance of not getting polish on the underside of my nails (the different technique of wrapping -vs- capping the tips). And, so I did get do some soaking – and it went fine. But also, the peel-off base worked well. Much the same as with peel-off base coats under regular polish.
KimettKolor Peel-Off Base Coat Nail Art
Due to my lack of experience, I didn’t get quite the “pretty” one-piece peels from the gel nails as I did with the Yellow Triangle glitter nails that I did recently (plus those are over a couple weeks old – so the peels have tightened and hardened). But – overall, you can see that it worked. And, also importantly, my nails are just fine, no damage.
And now, you have seen from beginning to end of my novice venture with a gel polish & nail art design! Do you feel like you just watched one of those nature shows where I led you into the jungle to see how the vegetation grows (or something like that)?
Well, my friends, I’m going to end this post with a hearty wish for a wonderful and safe Thanksgiving holiday (or a fantastic rest of your week & weekend to my International readers). I hope you get a chance to hug as many friends and family as you can, as well as stuff yourselves with lots of yummy food. Unfortunately, I won’t have any nail art for Thanksgiving this year. However,  you could find inspiration from my Pinterest board: Spring/Summer/Fall: Seasonal & Holiday Nail Art.
Phew, I wasn’t planning on combining so much into one post…. So, if you made it all the way through to the end without eyes glazing over, you deserve an extra helping of mashed potatoes tomorrow (or for my non-American readers – a couple cookies instead).
As always, I’d love to hear from you in the comments below!
Till Next Time,
Kimett