And of course, most important to this post is --
Happy Birthday to all December babies!!
As some of you might already know, I started this monthly series of nail art designs quite a ways back. Like nearly three years ago. (Hence my patting myself on the back for finishing the series -- better late, than never. Right? Right.) I've followed the same design outline of the birthstone(s) on the outer nails with the birth-flower on the inner nails.
While there are other modern choices, I settled on the more traditional of the assigned birthstone and birth-flower for December - Turquoise & Holly.
Oh, yes, I will definitely be publishing a round-up collection post of all twelve!! I'm just not sure when it will happen. In the meantime you can catch up on the other months' posts here: Theme of the Month Series.
Design DetailsI had so much fun lead-lighting the Jack O' Lanterns a couple months ago, that I couldn't help do that again for the holly nails. Just like that time, I started with a dark base and stamped the image in white. After a top-coat layer, I then used jelly polishes to color the areas in. For these, I chose a detail brush for the leaves (with two colors - a dark teal and a yellow) and a small dotting tool for the red berries.
For the turquoise nails, I tried out a new-to-me technique: waterspotting. In case you're not familiar with it, I'll try my best to describe it:
The method is similar to doing a watermarble in that you start with a cup of room temperature water and drop polish onto the surface. With this technique however, usually you only use a single color (maybe 2 -3 drops). While that color has spread as a solid layer across the top, you spray alcohol (or a product containing it) which has a chemical reaction with the polish and spreads it out in a "spotted" disrupted pattern. You dip your finger in to "catch" the part of the pattern you want on your nail. Then, you finish up in the same way as the watermarble; by cleaning the water surface of the unused portions before taking your finger back out.I chose to make the gold layer first, and then the black on top of that for the vein patterns of the stone. And maybe because I am a newbie at this, it seemed easier for me to decorate one finger at a time. So, I took a total of six dips into the polished water for these nails.
And, as expected with a first time go of it, I went through a few trials and tribulations until I was successful creating a pattern on the water like what you see on these nails. Here are a few tips/tricks I found helpful to remember:
- Bottled or distilled water is better than tap water.
- My final results this day were with bottled water.
- Be prepared to try different chemicals.
- I tried both 70% and 91% Isopropyl Alcohol (from the drugstore, poured into travel size spray bottles). They both worked, but did not make the pattern I wanted. I've read a lot of folks like using hairspray -- I don't have any. So, I tried a bottle of perfume, also used by others successfully and the result was close to my vision, but not quite what I wanted. Finally, I tried a cooling leg spray. Eureka!! I got the types of patterns I wanted. The only problem with it was there was an ingredient that left behind a grease, making the water unusable for another pattern (the polish just stayed a wet moisturized droplet). So, I switched to smaller dixie cups and re-filled them twice before getting a fresh cup (as it too would get too greasy). In hindsight, I might get a cheap bottle of hairspray if I want to try this again. 😉
- The pressure and angle of the spray makes a difference in the pattern you get.
- I found for these I liked to hold the bottle so that it sprayed straight down on the surface (instead of at an angle) and I was usually spraying about 4-5 inches from the water surface.
- Definitely protect the skin around your nail including all around your finger tip, at least up to the first knuckle. This makes clean-up so much easier. Liquid latex products are great, but if you are allergic you can use scotch or masking tape.
Both techniques of this design were interesting and engaging to do. I really enjoyed creating these nails, finding that I got very consumed in the activity. Also, I liked that both styles produce a free-form look and felt they went well together for that reason. What do you think?
Polish PaletteIt's always fun when I get to use LOTS of items in making my "nailsterpieces". I just made up a new word. Cool. Anyways...the point is, when I was finished, my work space was very messy! Quite unlike this organized photo below, LOL.
List of the main items shown in the photograph above:
- Black creme polish: Liquid Vinyl by Orly
- Turquoise crelly polish: Ocean Water by Colors by Llarowe
- Gold metallic polish: Crunchy Leaf by le Polish
- White stamping polish: Whiteout by Rica
- Stamping plate (holly): EJB-03 (Christmas) by Ejiubas
- Teal green jelly polish: Cuddle Weather by Lucky 13 Lacquer
- Yellow jelly polish: Muse, Myself by Essie
- Red crelly polish: Boudoir by Ciatē
- Latex skin barrier: PROTect by Clear Jelly Stamper
- Stamper: FUN XL Gold Stamper by Fab Ur Nails
- Brushes: Dual clean-up & detail Pretty In Pink Brush by Clear Jelly Stamper
Inspiration SourcesDecember -- Theme of the Month
So - how do you think I did compared to the inspiration photos?
I even went outside to get pictures in different lighting, both sun and shade. Fortunately it was still daylight when I was finished...darn short Winter days...grumble, grumble. You may have noticed the different colors of my hands throughout the photos in this post; my skin gets more pink/blue-ish from the cold. After the outdoor photo session, I sat by the fireplace to warm back up. But, these were just too pretty -- it was worth the brief suffering.
You'd think I would have used some turquoise jewelry or holly plant for props wouldn't you. Well, the jewelry I do have is either pendants or bracelets - and they didn't cooperate well (or I'm just not model graceful - you can decide). And by the time I finished my nails, I didn't feel like making my own ring (or my back said "Enough already" -- you can figure that one out too). Sadly, I don't have any holly bushes, nor any artificial sprigs either. So my outdoor winter wreath and red fabric have to do for this time around. Yeah. I know, not as good, but... "done is better than perfect".
OK, so I'm not ashamed to admit that I'm doing a little happy dance wiggle in my chair right now to have all twelve month's nail art designs complete.
I would really, really love to know what you think of these! I'm glad I tried the waterspotting method finally. Have you ever done it? Nowadays there are lots of stamping plates with these natural patterns, and I was tempted...but it wouldn't have been quite the same. (Although, probably similar enough if you aren't taking close-up photos and just wearing nail art like a "normal" person. LOL) Regardless, I do hope you'll leave some thoughts in the comments section below.
Thanks very much for stopping by!
Till next time,