Hey everyone! I’m back with another entry for the Whats Up Nails Nail Art Challenge.
The sixth prompt is stencils/tape. This method of nail art is definitely a blast from the past for me. Tape and stencils is essentially how I started doing nail art! I’ve never loved doing free-hand designs because I’m a bit of a perfectionist, so stencils really allowed me to get the crisp lines I wanted. Stamping was just starting to catch on when I was first doing nail art, and I didn’t jump on board until perhaps 8 years into this obsession of mine.
For the most part, I have wholly switched from stencils and tape to stamping because I find stamping can sometimes be less finicky (although it takes a while to get used to stamping). Stencils can pose an issue because one, they are sticky and you need to press them VERY firmly onto the nail to get a clean design. Therefore, your base needs to be COMPLETELY dry. If I’m going to use a stencil, I do my base shade the night before, or at least 4-5 hours before stencil use. Second, if you have any curve to your nail, stencils can have a hard time sitting flush to the nail, making the chance of you getting a clean design kind of low. So, overall, they require some finessing, which is why stamping is my method of choice these days. However, stencils are a fun and inexpensive way to get into nail art, and tape is even better! I have done a lot of tape manis in the past, and I might even do a classic one that I did a lot, in a couple of days just to relive it. We’ll see!
Today’s mani inspiration is actually based on another passion of mine: research. I conduct research on different marine snail species and have done so since the middle of my BSc. I now have my MSc and will be starting my PhD in September of this year. I will be studying snails that live around underwater volcanoes near the Mariana Trench, which is the deepest part of the Pacific Ocean. Pretty cool huh? So in today’s mani, I’m giving it up for the snails!
- For this manicure, I started by applying my favourite base coat, Orly Bonder, to all of my nails.
- First, I painted all of my nails a speckled cornflower blue (ILNP Bluebird) and topped them off with a quick dry top coat (Seche Vite Dry Fast Top Coat). Before moving on to the next step, I waited 4-5 hours to make sure the polish was completely dry. Like I said, when using stencils you can’t be cautious enough with your base because stencils need to be pressed very firmly onto the nail, plus, they are sticky.
- The stencils I used were snail shells from Whats Up Nails. Unfortunately this product is now discontinued, but Whats Up Nails has an incredible amount of different stencils if that is something you are interested in. I used one stencil per nail, pressing it on very firmly. Because my nails are curved stencils never sit quite right, so I do have to press quite hard, and re-press right before I am about to apply polish. This is why your base must be dry!
- Using small pieces of a cosmetic sponge, I dabbed on a white stamping polish (Maniology Bam! White) on top of the stencil until I got the desired opacity. Removing the stencil left me with a nice, crisp snail shell design.
- After waiting about 30 seconds, I applied and buffed in an opalescent nail powder to the nail (Whats Up Nails Aurora Pigment) and brushed off the excess with a soft powder brush. Pigments and powders only stick to surfaces that are tacky, so by waiting until the design was slightly dry, but not completely, I was able to create opalescent-looking snail shells. I have never loved the WUN Aurora pigment, because it is not smoothly milled, giving it a kind of speckled appearance (you can really see this in the macro picture), but it does look really beautiful from a distance and the effect it gives these snail shells is breathtaking!
- I finished off the mani by applying the Maniology Smudge-Free Water Based Top Coat.
Well I certainly enjoyed revisiting these stencils! Smaller stencils that don’t cover the entire nail are usually easier to work with, so I didn’t have any trouble here. I have a lot of stencils in my collection that I haven’t used, so maybe I will use them more often now!