Friday, December 10, 2010

Happy Holidaze the eigth- punch out your nail art!

We're taking another break from my marathon session of decorating nail tips today so I can show you something I worked out over the last few days. I apologize- I don't have pretty nails to show you, because due to splitting and chipping I had to file my nails back to nubs. I consider it a fresh start, and I'm hoping that with the new nail strengthener I'm using I'll see some good growth soon.

All that blahblah aside, I have something fun to share, now that I've figured out the various bits. I've had it in the back of my mind for a while now that those tiny scrapbooking punches could make some adorable nail decals, if only I could figure out how. Well, as you can see in the photo to the right, I've figured it out and now I'm sharing it with you!

This is a scrapbooking punch.
Make sure yours is small enough to fit on a nail!
The first thing we need are some scrapbooking punches. These things used to be expensive, but now you can pick them up for next to nothing! The three I've grabbed this week were a dollar each- two were at Big Lots and one was found in a bin of sale punches at Michaels. Can't beat that, especially if you're a frugal person like me! I picked up a heart, a star, and a cute little swirly design, but I also saw a dog, a cat, a dragonfly, a hand, a sun... there really are a lot of designs you can find!

Then I had to figure out how to use a craft punch on liquid nail polish. Kind of a tough idea, yea? I tried painting it onto thin paper and punching that, but it was hard to get it to apply nicely to the nail afterward. Same thing happened with thin plastic. And yet... I remembered that nail polish pulls away from zipper sandwich bags nicely once it's dried thoroughly. So... if I were to paint it in a sheet...

That's just what I did. I painted a strip a bit wider than a nail onto some plastic I cut up for the occasion, then let it dry for a couple of days. I know, I smudged the heck out of it because I am incredibly klutzy. It's a miracle I manage to get my nails dried ever.

I also tried punching directly from the plastic, but that only worked partially, and it resulted in me patiently fiddling with tiny stars and hearts, removing the plastic backing from them so they would work on the nail more effectively. Oh, the things I do for nail art...

Once the strip had dried, I very carefully bent the edge of the plastic down away from the polished edge. I sort of pulled/rolled it down, so that it pulled away from the polish. Once I had enough polish free of the plastic, I was able to gently pull the strip free, and I was left with a sweet strip of pure polish.

I'm once again reminded that I haven't quite got the hang of photoing processes for the blog, because I have no pictures of me actually removing the strip of polish. All I have are photos of the dried strip on the plastic, and then pictures of the strip off the plastic.

This is because I am a minor fail. I am, however, decent with words, so I can at least partially describe the process for you. Hopefully it's enough. I will say that it really is important to let the strip dry for at least 24 hours, preferably 48. Otherwise, it hasn't had time to do its polishy-drying thing, and the chemical reactions involved with drying haven't finished. Once it's thoroughly dried, it's much easier to work with.

Once the polish is dried and peeled, you're left with... a very dodgy strip of nail polish. Well now, this is useful... right?

Actually it is. Even if you don't have punches, you could cut this into strips with your regular scissors, punch holes in it with your office hole punch, or cut shapes with your scissors or an xacto knife to apply to your nails.

We're going to use this strip in our punch. Remember, it's fragile, so be careful with it as you slide it into the punch slot. Practice with a sheet of paper to make your first few punches so you can get the feel of the device. Once you're comfortable with paper, you can move on to the polish strip.

I prefer to work with the punch upside down, so that I can see through the opening that I'm getting a solid shape without having pre-cut areas poke in. If you work with it right-side up, you may have problems getting the strip positioned correctly.

Once you've pressed the button and punched out a shape, this is what things look like. You've got a sweet pure-polish decal and a strip of polish with a heart cut out of it. It didn't occur to me until I was writing this that you could place your punch in the center of the strip then cut the strip of polish so that you've got a contrasting stripe in the punch color with the heart shape punched out.

You could then apply this strip onto a different nail as an accent nail, letting the heart stand out in your base polish. It's an idea I'll have to play with once I've got some more time. It would also work really well with nail tips.

And that's all there is to it! To use these, I painted my nails, topped them with a coat of Seche Vite, then let that dry for 5-10 minutes. It was dry to the touch then, so I positioned the heard where I wanted it, then pressed it down with my thumb and forefinger of my opposite hand. The polish in the decal stuck to the polish on my finger! Then I added another coat of Seche Vite to keep things in place, and there ya go- sweet nail art with super-crisp edges that's all polish! Removing this will be super-easy because there are no plastic bits to resist the polish remover!

I got five decals from this sheet, and I wasn't being terribly careful.
Imagine the possibilities!

I don't know if you can tell, but I'm super-excited about this. Imagine the possibilities- using a tiny hole punch to make polka dots! Making your own holographic nail accents! Paint marbled swirls for accents, or even strips with stripes and dots! I'm seriously giddy here.

So what do you think of these? Is this something you'd be interested in doing yourself? Would you be interested in buying decals like these, especially if you could choose the polish color yourself?

Hard Candy Beetle was provided by the manufacturer for consideration.
See my disclosure statement for more information.