Jack O’ Lanterns for #maniswapcircle

Things that are illuminated at night have always fascinated me. Fireworks, stars in the night sky, fireflies, candles…and Jack O’ Lanterns all draw me in. Hmmm….as I type this, I’m wondering if I might have some type of insect DNA in me…you know those that can’t help but fly into the bug zappers…

Eiw!! Shivers. OK — I’ve just ruined my enchanting opening for today’s post haven’t I? Wanna change the subject to nail art? Yes, please!

KimettKolor Jack O' Lantern Nail Art

I’ve been having a bit of bad run with health crud lately and was super glad to be able to put this design together just in time for #maniswapcircle. It may not be my best work (both nails and photos), but I’m still happy with them anyway. My nails had been bare for far too long! Speaking of long — they’ve grown quite a lot too, which ended up working out perfectly for this design because the Jack O’ Lantern images that I really wanted to use are a bit big for my nails (I had to use another image on my smallest fingers).

So, here’s the skinny. The theme for this round of Mani Swap Circle was “Orange & Black – Halloween Edition”. Once again, Angela @glacewing and Natasha @natasha_dauncey put together a fabulous challenge. Here is the collage Angela made of everyone’s designs.

Spooky — how good this looks! Yes?

My assigned swap buddy was Christine, known as @shortywhatwhat on Instagram. (Love that name!) Like so many talented ladies of the “Nailstagram” world, she has lots of lovely designs to pick from. Yet, I knew just which one I wanted to re-create and how. I immediately remembered liking her sunflower design when she posted it this summer.

The combination of the tone-on-tone pattern background with the leadlight sunflowers positioned differently on each nail really appealed to me. And, I could instantly “see” it in orange & black with pumpkins–bonus!

It was fun to be paired with a lefty too!! It gave my brain a little extra challenge when I was sketching out the design. I had to make some adjustments because of nail size and stamp image sizes, but I think I captured the essence of her design fairly well. My only regret is that my black stamping pattern wasn’t as visible against the background polish as I thought it would be…but I didn’t have the time to re-do it.

KimettKolor Jack O' Lantern Nail Art

Design Details

Just like with a previous Mani Swap Circle (remember the Crimson Flowers?), I started off with a magical polish made by Meghan of Renaissance Cosmetics. This fabulous blackened jelly base has micro-sized holographic glitters (just the right amount) as well as multi-colored flakies. It’s name fits my design too: “Out of the Darkness” one can spot the Jack O’ Lanterns on porch steps welcoming the Trick or Treaters.

Out of the Darkness: Two Coats plus top-coat

On top of this beautiful base, I stamped an eery vine pattern in black. I then top-coated it again before moving on to the next step.

Christine used the leadlighting technique to color in her sunflowers after stamping their outlines in black. I’ve been itching to do leadlight art, and was extra excited to do it in the reverse (over a dark background instead of light). I stamped the image in a light, almost white polish first. Then, using a dotting tool applied the colors/shadings with sheer polishes over the top of the stamping (rather than filling in the spaces between the stamped image).

Here’s a collage showing the progression of the design:

KimettKolor Jack O' Lantern Nail Art
Top left: just the base polish
Top right: two layers of stamping (the black vine pattern and the off-white pumpkins)
Bottom row: after coloring in the stamping portions

Unfortunately, I had a little bit of “bleed thru” with the black vine pattern appearing up through to the surface after about 15 minutes later as it was all drying. I think that it happened because in places I let the dotting tool touch the surface making the polish layers react with one another. Or it may have just been the combination of top coat, and the two brands of stamping polishes. The most distracting spot was on my thumb around Jack’s left eye (seen in the close-ups above & below). Other than that area, I think it just gave the pumpkins a bit more dimension. So, yeah. I meant for that to happen. That’s what I’m going with anyway. 😉

KimettKolor Jack O' Lantern Nail Art

The lead-lighting technique over a dark background was a good one to achieve the glowing look that I was after with these. As a kid, I remember being so excited when the little candle was lit and the top put on the pumpkin. I would be mesmerized watching that inner glow come through the carved areas.

And, I think it was a good choice to not stamp in a stark white — it seemed to give the right tone. White might have been too stark in edges, etc. What do you think?

KimettKolor Jack O' Lantern Nail Art


Stamp Chat:

For my stamping buddies out there — just a couple quick mentions. I recently placed an order with Bundle Monster and am happy to report being quite pleased with their new Monocle Stamper (XL Clear). I’m so glad I’ve added it to my arsenal. It’s got a short barrel and is crystal clear – there is no distortion when looking through it to apply the stamp on your nail. As we all know, having just one kind of stamper doesn’t cut it – but having more than one that you’re happy with is extra helpful.

The other item I tried out is their liquid latex cuticle protector called Poli-Peel. This worked well for my skin chemistry – I had success in peeling it off in one smooth motion. As I mentioned in a previous post “What About Stamping In Black“, reducing the need to remove black stamping polish from your skin is a good tactic – and this product helped me out with that.

Polish Palette:


  • Black base (jelly with fine holographic glitters and multi-colored flakies): Out Of The Darkness by Renaissance Cosmetics
  • Black stamping using Joss stamping polish
  • Off-white stamping with Papyrus #43 by Mundo de Unas
  • Lead-light colors: Muse Myself (yellow) & Art New-Beau (orange) by Essie; Smelly Cat (dark orange) and Ross (green) by Creative Cuticles Nail Polish
  • Stamper (the Monocle Stamper) and Liquid Latex (Poli-Peel) by Bundle Monster
  • Stamping Plate – both sides of the Halloween EJB-04 by Ejiubas (also available through Amazon.com)

In the hot beverage debate, I’m definitely a tea person. Coffee was never appealing. No pumpkin spice latte for me, thank you very much. Instead I have probably close to two dozen different teas in my cabinet. With the arrival of cooler weather, I reach in for the darker teas. Coincidentally, I just received a sample of Pumpkin Spice black tea inside a catalog last week — thought it made a good photo prop for these nails. What do you think?

KimettKolor Jack O' Lantern Nail Art
Photo taken in the golden hour for that delicious mood lighting

Another confluence of timing this week included orange foliage in the yard, handy for pretty nail photo props. Probably a good thing I had this deadline…had I waited until Halloween it may have been too late.


Cuticle oil info (bottom right): It’s made by Allison of le polish Pumpkin Everything is her scent of the month for October. I’m glad it was in the giveaway goodies from Carolina’s Blogiversary (Colores de Carol) and that I gave it a try, as I usually order un-scented oils and balms. This one has a perfectly pleasing scent without being too strong.


KimettKolor Jack O' Lantern Nail Art

Last thoughts on this post bring me back to the beginning topic of illumination. Had I thought about it a little bit more, wouldn’t it have been fun to use Glow-In-The-Dark polishes for the pumpkins?!

**Last minute pre-publish edit: Well…speak of the devil!! Another curious timing, just 48 hours (or so) ago, I found out that I won a giveaway for six Glow-In-The-Dark polishes from Serum No.5!! (This brand is new-to-me, but is famous for their fantastic glow quality.) Can’t wait to try them out! Stay tuned Kimett Kolor fans…lots of fun is planned ahead!!**

As always, thanks for stopping by. And, if you are a Halloween fan – I hope you have a great one this year!!

Till Next Time,