Nail The Week: Sugar Skull Stamping!

I absolutely adore skulls and everything associated with them so when, hot on the heels of my first stamping experience, I spied this sugar skull image plate on the MoYou website I knew instantly that I had to make it mine.

One of the best things about stamping is the number of different looks you can create with one plate; colours can be changed up endlessly to create a variety of designs. For this mani I decided to keep things simple but striking with a range of strong, vibrant colours standing out over a white base.

Unlike a large, whole-nail design which can pretty much be planted on anywhere and then cleaned up around the edges, the small, individual designs on this plate require more precise placement. I decided to practice a little on paper first but in a way I wished I hadn’t because it gave me misleading ideas about how easy it would be to line up the skulls! I was originally aiming to have each skull in the centre of the nail, but I’m actually glad it didn’t quite turn out that way, as slightly off-centred, skewiff skulls gave a funky, asymmetric feel to the manicure.

After my first use of this MoYou plate, I can safely say that I’m delighted with it. It’s affordable and good quality and I love how each little skull has different features, such as flowers or stars for the eyes and assorted headpieces (my favourite is the little pirate!) I worked out that you could do almost two manicures without using the same skull twice and many more using portions of the large skull to create an abstract effect. My test run on paper also proved that the use of this image plate is not limited to nails; it could also be used to adorn letters, cards and invitations. I’m not usually one for repeat manicures, but I loved this look so much that I might just have to bring out the plate again for my next nail design.

Here’s a look at my practice run on paper and a close-up of the image plate:

And lastly the materials I used:

– Gelly Nail Paint in Watermelon, Pomegranate and Satsuma and Nail Paint in Matt White, Bright Purple and Navy, all Barry M

– MoYou Explorer Collection Number 8 Image Plate

– Konad Stamper and Scraper Set

– Sally Hansen Diamond Strength Base Coat and Insta-Dri Top Coat (not pictured)

Nail The Week: My Debut Stamp!

 I’ve been wanting to try nail stamping for a while now and when my Konad m57 image plate and scraper and stamper set dropped through the door a few days ago I knew that the time had finally come. I’d heard mixed reviews about the difficulty of this nail art technique, so rather than risk ruining a good manicure with a smudgy stamping episode, I decided to err on the side of caution and carry out my debut stamp over polish that been on for a few days and was in need of a freshen up. That way, if things didn’t go according to plan I could happily wipe it off with no ruined mani frustration.

For those of you who don’t know, the process of stamping itself is pretty uncomplicated. You simply chose whichever design you like on the plate, add a blob of polish, brush firmly across the design with the scraper, roll the stamper over the design to pick up the polish and then roll onto the nail. The most common problems people experience are picking up only half the design on the stamper, issues with design alignment on the nail and of course the dreaded smudging.

With the associated risks in mind, for this ‘trial run’ stamp-a-thon  I selected my Barry M Black polish to stamp with because I knew that it had sufficient colour opacity to do the job and I didn’t want to splash out on stamping polish only to find that I was utterly useless at it.

Once everything was ready, I took the plunge and indulged in my first stamp. Like many things in the world of nail art, I found that stamping was nowhere near as problematic as expected. My first stamps turned out by no means perfect, but my fears about smudging and problems with picking up the image were largely unfounded and the end result was ultimately exactly the look I was going for!

Overall, I was really happy with my first stamping experience, especially as the design still looked fab several days afterwards, therefore almost doubling the life of my original mani! I will definitely be trying out more stamping designs soon (probably next time on fresh polish!), so keep you eyes peeled for blog entries about it!

Here are  the materials I used for stamping (the original mani was done with a bright pink shade from Dior’s Bird of Paradise collection.)