Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Happy Holidaze the Sixteenth- Holy crap, there's a lot of these! I mean, let's trim the tree!

I have a confession to make. Because of circumstances this year, I haven't decorated my home for the holidays at all. I haven't even put up a Christmas tree, which part of me misses but the most of me thinks, "Meh, it's more work using energy I just don't have. Save that energy for something I care about." So this tree is the only one I'm doing this year... good thing it's a cute one!

Woo! A Christmas tree, complete with entirely too many ornaments.
I'm not sure how I feel about this one, but hey... it's a tree, right? :D

I have to share a bit of the process with you as well. This thing was time consuming! I think it'd go faster if I had some appropriate nail stickers, perhaps some sparkly thread to replace the sequins I used to make garlands. But if you're not a fiddly person, this won't be the nail design for you. What's worse, I knew this would be a design I wanted to make an animation for to illustrate the process. But this thing was complex. I sat down and counted (thanks to the counting tool in Photoshop) and there are 82 layers in all, and the animation has even more frames* than that!

So, how do you make this monstrosity of a nail? Well, first you get a chicken...

I kid.

You will need some supplies if you're going to do a nail like this one. Keep in mind, you can substitute all sorts of things, and you don't actually need any of the extra stuff I used. I just used them because I thought they'd be fun. So... what all did I use?

You'll need:
  • base coat
  • a background color (I used a beige and a glitter topcoat)
  • at least three greens (I mixed greens using my base green and other polishes to darken & lighten them)
  • a gold polish for the star
  • a flat star cutout sequin thing
  • flat gold sequins or glitter for the garland
  • nail gems for the ornaments
  • quick-dry topcoat (a must for this sort of design!)
Christmas Tree Nail Art Process:
  1. Apply base coat.
  2. Apply your background polish. 2 coats is usually enough, but use your best judgment.
  3. Optional: Apply a layer of glitter topcoat over the background color.
  4. Paint the basic shape of the tree using your medium green polish.
  5. Using your darker green, paint in some shadow lines on the tree shape.
  6. Using the lighter green, paint in some highlights on the tree shape.
    1. These shadows and highlights are just to add some texture to the background tree. They won't be terribly noticeable, but they still add a bit of interest to the background so it isn't so flat.
  7. Using a small detail brush, paint a gold star with your gold polish. You can stop here if you like, or continue on.
  8. Optional: Place a star cutout on top of the gold painted star to add dimension.
  9. Add the garland.
    1. Paint a strip of clear nail polish where the first string of garland will go. Use a dampened manicure stick (or whatever tool you prefer for applying stones and glitter) and apply individual glitter pieces along the garland line. Apply them one by one for the jeweled look I achieved.
    2. You could use a striper polish instead and sprinkle microglitter over the wet stripe of polish for a fuzzier garland look.
  10. Add your rhinestone ornaments.
    1. Dab a spot of clear nail polish where you want the rhinestone to go.
    2. Pick up the rhinestone with your tool of choice, then press it into the clear polish. Press slightly firmly so that the polish slightly indents and rises up around the sides of the stone, so that it will stay in place better.
    3. Repeat with more stones til you've got the look you want.
    4. Optional- you can leave off the rhinestones and simply use a dotting tool to add ornaments to your tree. Glitter polishes (or even sprinkled glitter) would look fantastic!
  11. Seal the embellishments and nail art in with a quick-drying top coat such as Seche Vite or China Glaze Fast Forward.
Seems so simple on paper, doesn't it? Actually, it is simple, as long as you break it down into tiny steps. If you can glue on a rhinestone or paint a stripe, you can probably do this. You may want to leave out the hand-painted star, though... *grin* The rest is just figuring out where to put stuff.

Remember, if you try this, leave me a note, because I'd love to see it! Morgan from Pass the Polish Please did an absolutely adorable version of my Santa nails, and it totally made my day to see it! So definitely link me if you try one of my designs!

Now, I'm off to have a cup of hot cocoa and snuggle with the husband for the evening. Hope y'all have a great night!

*Not that this has any importance at all. I love doing the blog and making animations, and frankly I've had bigger, more complex files than this. I just find it amusing that this particular file took me so much time. Do people really read these footnotes? If you did, that means you're super awesome and I love you to bits! You should respond with a comment saying something silly, like maybe, "Wow, that's cool, but it'd be even more awesome with a squid ornament!" You know, something weird like that!

Nail gems, sequins, and star were provided by Viva la Nails for consideration.
See my disclosure statement for more information.