I love looking at Japanese nail magazines, they are so inspiring! I wanted to do a unique but fairly simple design, so I decided to try this one:
(From Nail Up July 2010.)
This is how it turned out:
(Click to enlarge.)
Not as nice as the magazine, but I still like how it turned out. The pastel green and floral print are very feminine, but the gold beads and contrasting coral red make it a little edgy.
Doing this design is pretty easy. For the base, you will need a minty green and a bright, coral red. In addition, you will also need burgundy, dark blue, and lighter blue colors for the floral design. Here are the colors I used:
L to R: Love & Beauty Blue, H&M Blue Sky, Essie Mint Candy Apple, Essie Red Nouveau, OPI It's a Doozi, Says Suzi
Here are the tools I used (besides remover, base coat, and top coat):
Beads, cotton pad, toothpick, small brush. I bought the box of little beads and the brush (part of a set) on ebay. The picture in the mag uses flatback beads but all I had are the small, round ones (some people call them "bouillon beads"). It would be easier with the flatback beads, but feel free to use whatever you have on hand.
The first step is to paint the base colors (easy enough). Then, while the nail polish was still wet, I worked on the beads. I poured some of the beads onto a cotton pad so they wouldn't roll around on the table. To the nails, I added a layer of top coat that is NOT quick drying. This provided a sticky base on which to stick the beads. I dipped the very tip of the toothpick into the same top coat to make it just a little bit sticky and used it to pick up the beads and place them on the nail. The toothpick I used has straight sides (as opposed to rounded) so I used the sides to press down the beads to secure them on the nail. If the top coat dries to the point where the beads do not stick, add a little bit more to the area where you are working. Cover with top coat (quick-drying top coat is okay for this step).
To do the flowers, I used a very thin brush to basically paint blobs. I painted coral blobs, added some burgundy bits, then painted light blue blobs next to the red, and finally added some dark blue dabs. It works best if you just kind of dab the brush instead of really trying to paint shapes. When you cover with top coat, smearing the design a little is okay, it actually looks better that way.
I also practiced doing some acrylic sculpture:
Spare Zoya plates/spoons are perfect for this! I have a pretty hard time getting the consistency right, even with Asami's tips. You have to make sure it's not too wet or dry, and quickly sculpt the little blob into what you want before it dries. I actually did a pretty decent bow (the middle one, not the one on the right):
I'm getting better at it, though, just need (lots) more practice. Hopefully I can do some fun manis with 3D acrylic sculptures soon!