Glitter Balloons

One of the many nuggets of wisdom that I have picked up from Mr. Kimett over the years is that the right tools make the project. And, so it makes sense that using the wrong tools will aid in the project’s failure. These glitter balloon nails were a product of my stubbornness in using the wrong tools when, of course, I really know better. It’s just that I get so excited…and the wild artist in me takes over all brain activity, throwing careful planning right out the window.


Can you see the balloons floating up to the ceiling? Those black squiggles are supposed to be the balloons’ strings…(cough, cough). I hope you join me in capturing all of the fun things about these nails, bearing with me jotting down the things to remember not to do again, and ultimately seeing if this design was worthy of the #31DC2013 challenge.

Alright – let’s start with what went right:

  • It was suggested that I do a balloon design for the glitter challenge prompt. I was a good nail-artist and sketched out the design using pencil & paper. This helped when time to paint as I had a guide.
  • I loved using a metallic polish for a base. So often I think of creme polishes for the foundation. And using one of Essie’s Mirror Metallics helped by being an easy to control formula, quick-drying and opaque enough for just one coat. Yay – speedy first step!
  • My first time using an art brush!! So cool. That’s what’s great about these challenges. They get you out of your comfort zone and trying new things. I used a medium volume but short bristled brush to create the balloons. And, I was overall happy with the balloons – their shape and positions (I liked 15 out of the 16 that I did. :))

Now, trying not to be a Debbie-Downer, here are some things that could have made these nail designs something to show-off rather than take-off:

  • As usual for me, my design ideas evolve as they become closer and closer to reality. Early on, I had decided to use the Nubar Sparkles polishes for my balloons. I have 3 of them. And I had also imagined another glittery polish to bring the total to 4. This plan changed a bit, mostly as a result of just needing to simplify things. In hindsight, I wish I had picked different polishes to represent the glitter-istic balloons. These polishes had to piled on pretty thick to get the coverage needed (which I did in 2 passes for each balloon shape). And, the blue polish wasn’t sparkly enough as it had a tinted base which hides the effect. I thought about these issues, but dismissed them in my unwavering desire to stick to my original polish choices (rookie move!). Next time, it would be better to use either glitter polishes that have more coverage and/or use undies that enhance them.
  • I think I needed one more balloon color – 2 was a little boring.
  •  The glitter I chose to put over the gold “background” was perfect, particularly in real life. The blue & violet hexes and the holographic micro’s. So what was wrong? Well, it was very subtle in the photos and combined with the balloons not sparkling enough – I don’t believe I fulfilled the challenge prompt as I’d hoped. The glitter idea of bringing out a celebration type design with balloons…blah.
  • And finally, the big – big fat hairy deal-breaker of these nails…my balloon strings. You would think that after just opening and using those acrylic paints that I would’ve used them and a tiny striping brush to make them. But – here’s where the artist lost all practical thought processes. Not only did I use a polish pen that was too thick (although everytime I practiced I made thinner lines than on my nails), but I was trying to draw the lines over the top of the bumpy glitter. Ugh. Dumb Kimett. Yes, that left me with thick, weird-looking squiggles rather than wispy stings. Now, stubborn Kimett didn’t stop using the pen after the first string or nail completed…no! I kept right on doing it – ruining all the nails!!
The one string that came out best – and still was not good-enough;
the last one done on my pinky on my right hand.

So, all in all, I would consider these glitter balloons a failed design…except, as the incredibly well-timed post by the Digital Dozen yesterday summarized regarding mistakes:

lovely readers, I hope this post helps you learn from the mistakes we
have already made… though I was taught in hair school that you never
make mistakes, you only have learning experiences, which I believe to be
an important way to think about mistakes.  Trying to learn from them
and improve yourself in the future is a major benefit from making
mistakes in the first place!  And remember, even your favorite bloggers
and nail artists still have their own learning experiences, maybe more
often than you think… ;)”

I was really thinking of not posting these nails and doing another design for the glitter prompt…but these gals reminded me of the benefit of learning through our nail-art misery. Are you in agreement? Do you find these types of posts helpful or should I keep them to myself?

The one do-over I still did though – was to re-photograph these on day 2 after I had washed all the stray tiny micro-glitters off of my skin even after I spent a TON of time doing clean-up. Glitter gets everywhere! I scrapped all the photos taken on day one; and I’m happier for it.


I took this photo with direct flash, trying to get more sparkle action…

Materials Used:

Polishes (L to R): Essie – Gold As Gold, NYC – Starry Silver Glitter,
Nubar – Petunia Sparkle and Night Sparkle
(Not photographed: Cina – Black Nail Art Pen)

Inspiration Sources:
This design idea was whispered to me by my #1 fan – CurlyGirl66 – thank you! And, I concurred because glitter reminds me of confetti and parties – so balloons!

And, the “31 Design Challenge” (more info in my previous post here)

courtesy of Chalkboard Nails

Till next time,