Saturday, December 28, 2013

How to acrylic nails - 3D bow and red sparkles

3D bows never seem to bore me. They are pretty, sexy, classy and cute at the same time. It can go with almost any design. And the fun part is: They are easy to make when knowing how to work with acrylic. Sure it takes some practice but once you understand how it works, you will be able to create one perfect bow after the other. Handcrafted designs are much desired amongst nail lovers.

After removing the old design and doing prep and prime, I applied the red glitter mix the the free edge and spread it all the way across. To create a fade, I drag my brush upward trough the glitter towards the cuticle. Depending on how far you want your fade to be, you need more or less glitter.

Right before applying the clear acrylic to encapsulate the glitter and forming the nail, I applied a last coat of primer. While the primer is still wet, I applied a big ball of clear acrylic near the cuticle and held her hand in an angle so that it will run downward rather than up. This way prevents lifting problems.
Pat the acrylic all the way across from one side to the other and brush down. Because the ball is large, it should cover the whole area. If you feel like you need more acrylic in some places, you can always add more. The less you use, the less you have to file away. Don't forget to smooth out the acrylic to make filing much easier and faster.

When everything is dry, I filed and shaped the nail to the desire thickness and shape. (You know when the acrylic has hardened when you tap on it with the end of your brush and you hear a "tick tick tick" sound. If you hear a more of a muffled sound like "tok tok", you should wait a little longer)

At this point, I let her wash her hands with warm water and soap to get rid of any dust and residue chemicals.

Now for the fun part! For me personally, it is easier to create the opposite side of the bow first. For example: I am right handed, so I create the left part first. The reason being is: it's much more easy to get an almost exact copy of the left side.
So to create the left hand, I let her flip her hand so that her fingernails are pointing up. Doing this, the left side of the nail will temporary be on the right, making it easier to sculpt with my right hand. (It makes perfect sense in my head, so I hope you understand)

I picked up a small ball of white acrylic with a size 4 oval acrylic brush. On a paper towel, I drained the back of the brush to get rid of any excess monomer. I placed the ball on the right side of the flipped nail and wiped my brush to get rid of the left over monomer. I started pushing the ball in the middle towards the right, creating a flower petal. Depending on how big you want your bow to flair out, you press more and more upwards and downwards. To create the bow shape, I pushed in the right side to the left side. While the acrylic is setting, I keep on pressing lightly to ensure the shape of the bow will stay that way. When that bit is done, I flipped her hand back to normal so the bow on the right will now be on the left. And now you do the same on the right side to create the other part.

To get the center of the bow, also pick up a small ball of acrylic and drain the excess monomer. Place the ball in the middle and let it sit for a couple seconds. With tweezers, I put a Swarovksi crystal right in the middle and pushed it in. Not too hard, but deep enough so it will stay put. If the middle for some reason is not round anymore you can go around it with your brush.

When it has fully hardened, I applied a coat of glaze 'n go on the entire nail. Do NOT put any gel sealer on top of the crystal, or else it will not be sparkly anymore. I let this cure for 3 minutes.


Saturday, December 14, 2013

How to acrylic nails - Eyeball

Eye-catching nails? Yes we can. Pun intended.

After prep and prime, apply a nail form underneath the natural nail. Apply a medium side acrylic ball on the free edge, let it flow and pat it in place. With that ball you create the needed length.
Apply a second ball at the stress area and fade it upwards. This will prevent overfilling the nailbed when removing the design later on.

When it has completely dried, remove the form and shape the sidewalls and free edge. Also file the nail smooth for further application of the glitter. 

Apply a glitter color of your choice to the free edge and fade it up. I chose a nice bright pink.

Depending on which eye color you are going for, apply a ball of glitter acrylic somewhere in the middle of the nail where you want the iris to go. I keep the top somewhat straighter.

Using white acrylic, create the whites of the eye around the iris, giving them the shape that you want. I went for somewhat a rounder eye, but you can also go for almond shaped. I did not apply white acrylic above the iris.

Filing around the white acrylic will allow you to correct the eye shape to your likings and give it a more crisp look.

Apply a large size clear acrylic ball near the cuticle and pat it into place and stroking the acrylic down towards the middle. Apply a second ball at the free edge and stroke it up to blend in with the rest.

When everything is dry, it's time to file the sidewalls, free edge and the surface of the nail. After filing, buff the nail so that it would be easier to draw onto it. Remove all the dust with a wipe and some rubbing alcohol or in my case, IBD prep. If you have any dust left on the surface of the nail, the gel topcoat is more likely to bubble up.

With a calligraphy pen and black drawing ink, start drawing the pupil. Then outline the eye. When drawing the outline of the iris, I made the inside uneven with little lines to create the limbal ring.
Also don't forget to draw on some eyelashes.
To give a little spark to the eyes, apply two small dots. I used a silver pen to draw Christmas cards with.

When all the ink is dry, coat the entire nail with a gel sealer, I am using NSI Glaze 'n go. Let this cure for 3 minutes in a uv lamp. 

Hope you like it!

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Acrylic nails - Goddess nails

god·dess  (gds)
1. A female being of supernatural powers or attributes, believed in and worshiped by a people.
2. often Goddess A female being believed to be the source of life and being and worshiped as the principal deity in various religions. Used with the.
3. An image of a female supernatural being; an idol.
4. Something, such as fame or wealth, that is worshiped or idealized.
5. A woman of great beauty or grace.

Sometimes, wearing beautiful nails makes us feel like a goddess. So why not goddess inspired nails.

The symbol of a goddess usually is a full moon with two crescent moons on each side. But I thought it would be fun to do it with a star, resembling a pentacle.

Ever since I was a little girl I was fascinated by mythical beings. A goddess being one of them is the inspiration for this nail design.


Friday, November 15, 2013

Pink glitter nails with 3D flowers

I personally don't pay attention to what season it is when it comes to nails. Some people want red gold or silver for the Christmas times, bright for summer, brown for fall and soft pastel for spring. I go with whatever I feel like having on my nails. I could even go with red and gold during summer.

Now for this particular design I just used some soft pink gliter, clear acrylic powder and a pearly white powder. Let's get started.

After a complete prep and prime I created a fade with a pink glitter mix.
I encapsulated the glitter with clear powder.
Once everything was dry, I filed and buffed the nail to the desired shape.
Using a pearly white powder I created small flower petals. (I think the pearly white powder is from vivalanails)
I applied glaze 'n go on the entire nail, including the flowers. Before curing it, I placed a little metal ball in the center of each flower.  I let it cure for 3 minutes.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Gel nails - Late night thunderstorm

Now that the summer has made room for fall, we get less to none thunderstorms. That's one thing I love about the summer, the late night thunderstorms. I never feared thunderstorms and find the thunder and light play soothing. One day, thinking about new nail designs, my thoughts wandered off back to summer. I tried to transfer my thoughts to this nail design. The camera did not really pick the beautiful light play, but I hope you like it anyways.

After prep and prime, apply a thin layer of IBD builder gel clear. Without curing it, apply black glitter near the cuticle and let it fade down. Apply a dark purple glitter from the free edge up into the black. Go back and forth with the two colors to create a nice blend. Let it cure for 2 minutes.

Apply another layer of clear gel and put small pieces of yellow mylar flakes on the nail in a lightning bolt pattern. Let it cure for 2 minutes to secure the mylar in place.

Apply the last layer of clear gel and build the structure and overall shape with strings. Let it cure for 3 minutes.

Remove the tacky layer. Because the mylar may have left the nail with some bumps, you will file it smooth with a nail file. With the nail being somewhat rough, the black ink will show up much better and stay in place. Outline the yellow lightning bolt and let that dry completely.

Using a gel sealer, apply a thin layer on the entire nail and let it cure for 3 minutes. This doesn't have a tacky layer so you will be able to instantly rock these nails.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Classy gel nails

Do you need to attend some kind of formal party, a wedding or something classy? These nails are perfect for that. One solid color, with hexagons for that little pop of bling.
Painted nails are always in trend. Especially now with Uv polishes and gel colors, your painted nails will last you a long time.

Let's get this tutorial started.

In this video I am doing a sculpted lipstick nail. After prep and prime, I applied a nail form underneath the nails and closed the flaps. Using IBD builder gel clear, I picked up a string of gel and outlined the nail shape. If going for square or oval nails, you should outline it in that particular shape.
Then I filled in the gaps with some more clear gel and made sure it overlapped the natural nail. If you don't overlap it, it will crack off the second you remove the form. I let this layer cure for 2 minutes.

When the nail came out of the lamp I removed the nail form by simply pinching the side flaps and it should come off easily.

For the next layer I also used IBD builder gel clear. I applied a thin layer on the entire nail and then started building the thickness and overall shape with strings. I let this layer cure for 3 minutes.

When it is completely cured I removed the tacky layer and roughened up the surface of the nail to ensure better adhesion of the UV gel polish.

Using Sina UV gel polish in the color 516, I applied a thin layer all over the nail, being tidy and neat around the cuticle area for a clean look. I let this cure for 2 minutes.
Using the same gel polish, I applied a second layer all over the nail for a good coverage. I let that cure for 3 minutes.
Some gel polishes have a dispersion layer and some don't. This one did so I removed it with none-acetone nail polish remover.

I put on a dab of clear nail polish on a piece of paper and used a dotting tool to apply some near the cuticle area. While the nail polish is still wet, I pushed in some hexagons in a half circle near the cuticle.
I let that dry for a couple seconds and applied clear nail polish all over the nail, including the hexagons.
They should not come off by normal use of your nails.

For gel polishes that don't have a dispersion layer, this step would have been easier. 
Before curing the second layer of gel polish, you can put in the hexagons near the cuticle and then let the gel polish cure for 3 minutes. This will lock the hexagons in place. And then just simply top it off with clear polish for extra shine.
If I would have done this with my gel polish, when removing the dispersion layer would have removed the golden shine of the hexagons, completely ruining them.

Have fun experimenting!

Sunday, October 27, 2013

How to fix a cracked nail

Having a cracked nail isn't fun. Why remove the whole nail to apply a new tip while you can save time and just fix it? For this you will need a nail form.

Remove the form from the paper and stick the little circle on the back for strength. Roll the form so it will have a nice shape rather than just bulky and unmanageable. Place the form under the nail. Make sure the form fits really well underneath the nail, or else the gel will run underneath, creating a messy fix.

Apply a layer of builder gel on the entire nail. Pick up some extra gel and place it where the corner is cracked off. Make sure the gel overlaps the natural nail too, or else it will crack again. It shouldn't be too thin. Let it cure for 2 minutes. Now your cracked nail is fixed and you can continue with any design.
This will also work if your nail is split or if a larger piece has broken off.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Classy medallion nails

Don't we all love those beautiful 3D acrylic designs? But you have gel nails? You think you can't have some of that? Guess again ladies! Having some 3D acrylic art on your gel nails is easy. You still have the benefits of your gel nails but now also the benefits of 3D art. It is really easy. Let's have a look.

After prep and prime, apply a thin base layer on all 5 nails, one hand at a time. Go around the cuticles with a rose woodstick and let it cure for 2 minutes.

Apply a thin layer of clear gel on the free edge. This is the layer your glitter will adhere to. With a clean gel brush, apply the glitter on the nails. Wipe your brush between a paper towel to remove all the glitter and clean up your smile line. If you have 2 gel brushes, you can use one for patting the glitter on and one for cleaning up the smile line and for the whole gel application. After cleaning up the smile line, let it cure for 2 minutes.

Doing one nail at a time now, I apply a thin layer of builder gel clear on the entire nail. First the nailbed and last the glitter. Otherwise you will have glitter transferring onto your nailbed. After doing so, I am using the string technique to "build" the thickness of the nail. Go around the cuticle and let it cure for 3 minutes.

When all the nails are fully cured, I remove the tacky layer with none acetone nail polish remover and a lint free wipe. I also reshape the sidewalls and free edge.

Wherever you decide to do acrylic art is where you need to remove the shine of the gel nail. Acrylic needs those tiny scratches to adhere to. It has a tendency to pop off from something smooth and shiny and we want our art to last long. Make sure the nail is dust free.
Using NSI attraction radiant white, the same brand monomer and an acrylic brush, I picked up a medium size ball to create a circle shape on the nail. Keep patting the acrylic in place while it sets. When it's dry I used a stamp to create the zebra print.
I brush on a coat of Glaze 'n go on the entire nail and also on top of the medallion. Don't cure just yet, we need that coat to put our tiny pearls in. Just pick them up with a rosewood stick dipped in a bit of Glaze 'n go and arrange them around the medallion. Let it then cure for 3 minutes. Finish off the rest of the nails with a clear topcoat.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Ruby red nails

Here is a step by step on how to do these gorgeous Ruby red glitter nails with silver nuggets.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Gel overlay

Sometimes we don't want a french nail, bling or a complex design. Sometimes we want it simple. A gel overlay is great to give strength, it's a good base for nail polish and it has an amazing shine.

This woman still has her uv polish from 2 weeks ago. It's grown out quite a bit. So I am going to be removing the color, but not the existing gel that is underneath. I am going to use that existing gel in my advantage so that I don't need to add that much more later on when I fill the nails.

As with any nail service, I push back the cuticles.
Removing the color by simply filing it off with a 180 grit file. Also reshape the free edge and if needed make them shorter. If for some reason there is a bit of lifting near the cuticle, also remove that. Also removing the shine of the new nail growth for better adhesion.
I removed all the dust and sprayed the nails with IBD prep, this will dehydrate the nail and get rid of any oils on the nail bed.

With NSI superbond, I prime her natural nail only.
I applied a thin layer of IBD builder gel clear to the entire nail. Then I fill in the nails with the string technique . I went around the cuticle area with a rosewood stick and let it cure for 3 minutes. Repeat on all the nails.

I removed the tacky layer with a lint free wipe and none acetone nail polish remover, reshaped the side walls and free edge and applied a high gloss topcoat. And as always, use some cuticle oil to finish off your service.

If doing a gel overlay on a natural nail, the steps are as followed: push back cuticles, remove shine from natural nail, prep and prime, coat of clear gel with strings, cure, remove tacky layer, reshape side walls and free edge, clear nail polish and finish.

This overlay can be left like this, or you can apply nailpolish, which will last you for weeks without chipping.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Nicki Minaj Nails

Sometimes we do design that are inspired by object, things we see, things we like. But also very often they are inspired by people and by the colors that they wear. This particular design was inspired by Nicki Minaj's I am your leader music video. The walls are green and the bathtub is purple.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Watermelon nails

Having a simple design is classy, but having a little extra is more fun. Sure, it's not everybody's taste, but if you like it, you rock it!

The previous design has been removed, as shown in this video. The nails are clean and dust free and are ready for being prepped.

With NSI prep dx, I am applying it with a small nail brush to the new growth. This is a dehydrator and it dries to a somewhat chalky white.

Next up is primer, applying it sparingly to the natural nail only. If applied on the left over acrylic, it can cause yellowing.

Right before applying the acrylic to the nail I am applying one more coat of primer to the natural nail only, for better adhesion.

Using colored acrylics directly on the natural nail can cause staining so I am applying a thin layer of NSI attraction totally clear over the entire nail.

Picking up a very bright pink acrylic color from EzFlow and placing it near the cuticle area. Pat it in place and drag it down towards the free edge. Shaping the smile line with your brush will create a smooth and crisp line. This is also called the reverse technique.

Repeating the same process on all nails with NSI attraction extreme pink. This is a translucent pink acrylic powder.

If you feel like your smile line isn't as crisp or as sharp as you want, you can always go ahead and file it.

With a premixed bright green glitter, I placed a small ball against the smile line and pushed it in place to create a thin line.

With a dark green premixed glitter, I filled in the rest of the free edge. Same goes for the rest of the nails.

Encapsulating the glitter with NSI attraction totally clear.

When all the nails are completely dry, I shaped and buffed them. Applying a coat of NSI Glaze 'n Go near the cuticle area of the ring finger as a sticky base for the "watermelon seeds". Picking them up with a dotting tool and placing them near the cuticle. Let it cure for a minute to lock them in place.
Then apply Glaze 'n Go on the entire nail and let it cure for 3 minutes.

Finish off your service with some cuticle oil.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Alice in Wonderland

After prep and prime I applied a thin layer of IBD builder gel clear as a base layer and went around the cuticles with a rosewood stick. Letting it cure for 2 minutes.

On the free edge I applied a thin layer of the same gel and applied a gorgeous blue glitter. Also letting it cure for 2 minutes.

When all the nails are covered in glitter, it is time to build the nails. I am using the string technique.

Remove the tacky layer with a lint free wipe and none acetone nail polish remover. Reshape the sidewalls and free edge to get rid of any scratchy edges.

In order for the 3D flowers to stick better to the nails, I remove the shine with a soft buffer.

I picked up a tiny ball of white acrylic and placed it onto the nail. With my size 2 acrylic brush I start to form the flower petal. Repeating the same process over and over till you have as many flower petals as needed. The larger the ball of acrylic, the larger the petal.

In the center of the flower petal I placed a Swarovski crystal. And when all the flowers are made, I sealed the nails with NSI Glaze 'n go and let that cure for 3 minutes.

Starter kits

I get asked a lot what people need to buy in order to do nails. Doing nails is not a cheap hobby, even though there are a lot of cheap products out there. But does cheap mean good? Sometimes it does, sometimes it doesn't. You must be aware of the dangers that come along with doing nails. (infection, allergic reaction, transmittable disease,...)

I am going through the basic tools and products you will need for a simple french set and I will list where I got them.

Tools for acrylic

  • cuticle pusher and nipper (came with my nail kit from school)
  • nail files (Bell'ure from
  • dust brush, sanitisable (kabuki brush from
  • acrylic brush (nailcreation)
  • dappendish with a lid (nsi from

Tools for gel

  • cuticle pusher and nipper
  • nail files 
  • dust brush
  • rosewoodstick (from ebay)
  • gel brush (from,,
  • dotting tool (ebay)
  • UV lamp 36 watt (ebay)

Products for acrylic

  • sanitizer (IBD prep,
  • dehydrator (Prep dx, nsi,
  • primer (nsi superbond,
  • acrylic liquid/monomer (nsi attraction,
  • acrylic powders clear and white (nsi attraction,
  • cuticle oil (anywhere)

Products for gel

  • sanitizer (IBD prep)
  • dehydrator (IBD prep or prep dx)
  • primer (nsi superbond or ibd natural nail primer,
  • bonder (ibd bonder,
  • clear builder gel and white gel (ibd,, sometimes ebay)
  • cuticle oil
  • none acetone nail polish remover 

To finish acrylic nails
  • buffer (ezflow,
  • UV gel topcoat (NSI glaze n go, and ebay)
  • Uv lamp (ebay)

To finish gel nails
  • high gloss nail polish (orly glosser,, ebay)

Other things for gel and acrylic
  • lint free wipes (gauze, pharmacy)
  • empty plastic containers for glitter mixes (ebay)
  • nail forms (ebay)
  • nail tips and tip cutter (ebay)
  • nail glue (ebay)
  • glitter and nail deco (ebay, nail store, craft store,...)

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Smooth Gel Nails

"How do you do the strings? What are they for? And why do you do it?"

Doing nails can be a bit time consuming, especially if you want to do them correctly. Doing a normal set whether it is acrylic or gel, you had to file and buff afterwords to get the nail smooth. But with this technique you don't have to.

Using the string technique allows me to cut back in time and speed up the whole nail process. By placing the strings on the nail exactly where you need them, you can create a smooth and lump-less surface.

But in order to be able to do the strings, you need to have the right gel. The brand doesn't really matter, it's the consistency. The ideal gel has the consistency of honey. You can test out if your gel has the right consistency by dragging a line on the surface of the gel. If it runs back together almost immediately, the gel is too runny. If the gel stays that way for a very long time, the gel is too thick. If the gel self levels in  10-20 seconds, you are good to go.