Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Nail Art for Dummies

Hi ladies! We just got hit with a major storm here in Massachusetts (about 18 inches of snow!) so I'm going to be in all day. The good news is that means I'll probably be doing manis, playing with nail art, and taking pictures :) Today I thought I'd show you guys my guide of "Nail Art for Dummies". You see, I have the artistic talent of... a snail. I can manage maybe some lines on my nails with a nail art pen, and that's about it. What's a girl to do?!

Well, here are my solutions, my "cheat sheet" for nail art for the artistically challenged:

1. Fimo sticks:
So as I showed you the other day, these are fimo sticks (also called fimo canes, nail art sticks/canes, etc.) in the process of being cut for use. You can see the full stick on the left, the small slices I already cut up, and my razorblade on the right for cutting. I started cutting these up and, I kid you not, I have a blister on my hand from it. It's work to cut these tiny little pieces! But, as you can see, the results are great (and cute)!

Fimo sticks are available online, you can buy them through pretty cheap, usually sold in bundles of 25-100. Bundle Monster (more on them in a bit!) sells 100 sticks for $17.99 with free shipping, which is the deal I decided on with my gift card. Once they arrive, they are flexible and can be cut into small pieces. It requires a little force, but it can be done! To make them softer, you can dip them in warm water, but that can warp the designs, so you really need to cut the whole stick once you do that. You can also buy pre-cut fimo designs, but they tend to run you a bit more money and you get much less (usually about $5 per 100 little decorations).

The next challenge for me was storage. What do I store these tiny little nail designs in? I checked around at craft stores and the small containers were 10 for $5, and would not have fit all the designs, even if I mixed them together. So my creative solution?:

I decided to use a pill organizer. You know, those things that you can buy at the pharmacy that have days and times listed to put your pills in for the week, so you can keep track of what to take at what time? Well, at $4.14 at Walmart, this pill organizer was the perfect solution! (Can't say I'm not creative!)

Here are some of my fimo sticks, all cut up. I've been busy! I decided to color code them by "type". Top row is fruits, and weird designs on the end that I don't intend to use. The second row is flowers (3 different kinds mixed into each compartment). Third row is (currently) butterflies and hearts. The bottom row is for holidays and I have one little compartment of clown fish on the left. So far I have Halloween, Valentine's Day, snow flakes, birthday, and Easter.

To attach these, you can either imbed them in gel or acrylic nails or stick them in wet polish on natural nails. For natural nails, the thinner they are, the better. They're more flexible when they're thin, so you can contour them to your nail. You can also use nail glue to apply them to real or fake nails.

2. Nail Stickers: 
On the left, I have nail stickers. We have all used these since we were little girls. Very simple: unpeel from backing, stick onto nail. Voila! Easy and self-explanatory. I got these from for about $2, but they are available pretty much everywhere (Walmart, Sallys, etc.).

3. Nail Sprinkles
(On the right in the picture above in the round containers)

These are much like fimo decorations in that they are small, slightly flexible, and you can stick them right into nail polish or gel/acrylic, or glue them on. These are white holo stars (top) and holo silver hearts (bottom). I got these at Sally's, where they run about $3 for the small containers. However, also has them for, what else, $1. I can't vouch for how big the containers of those are since I haven't ordered from there yet, but I can say they are currently having a buy one get one free sale on heart shaped designs until February 14th - go snatch some up!

The only downside to these are their inflexibility. I have used them on my nails before and despite clear polish and sticking them in wet polish, they weren't bendable and so the edges stuck up from my nail. This resulted in losing some of them overnight, and then many more the following day. They look really cool, but they don't last very long (especially if they are pointy) unless you can contour them to your nail.

4. Finally, Konad/Fauxnad: 
I'm sure many of you are familiar with Konad plates. They are small metal plates with designs imprinted on them, so you can apply polish, scrape off the excess, and use a soft stamper to transfer the design from the plate onto your nail. If anyone would like further explanation, please let me know!

These are the Bundle Monster plates, available on for $17.99 (free shipping). Great deal to get a ton of designs (I believe it includes 21 plates). Now, lots of other companies have caught on and these plates are available all over the place in a variety of patterns. Original Konad plates cost about $5-6 each, but lots of places have them cheaper or in larger bundles with similar patterns to the Konad plates. Check out,,, and for some examples (and if you know of any other places, let me know so I can link them too!).

For me, I had trouble storing them. What to do with tiny metal plates with sharp edges that I didn't want to scratch? As you can see above, I borrowed some of my nephew's trading card sheets (the ones you stick in a binder to display/collect) and slid them in - they fit perfectly and it protects them well. I fold them in third and store them that way. The only downside is that they slide out fairly easily, so if you happen to hold the sheet upside down, you can get pelted with sharp metal disks!

So what do you ladies think? Any other suggestions or ideas? There are also foils out there, but I have yet to try those since I've heard they really only last a couple hours or so. Water marbling is also an option but that might require a whole new post...



Visual-addiction said...

This is awesome! I've always wanted to try the fimo canes but was always a little nervous, I think you've changed my mind

Amanda said...

They're easy as pie! Try them out!

Arlyn Parker said...

I LOVE all the storage idea you have! One of my favorite things about bloggers is when they show how they store and organize their stash. I love crafty ideas and especially how you stored your Fimo Sticks! Great ideas!!

victoria s andrews said...

You can use shlf liner in with the plates to keep them from slipping out. Just buy a roll and cut in little squares and put a square in with each plate. Works like a charm.