I've been a fan of nail polish since high school, and I think that's the only thing that makes me super girly - my love affair with nail polish, because I don't wear makeup, and I don't really like dressing up.
It was in college when I started doing nail art, and I really enjoyed it. Aside from reading, writing, and crafting, doing nail art has become one of my greatest stress relievers. After a hard day, or whenever I feel a wave of anxiety take me over, I'd just think of a design, grab some lacquers, and paint my time away.
True enough, I'm no nail art pro, but as family and friends have been bugging me to share the designs I do, I decided to document 31 of my "best" works - all of which I did in a span of a little over 7 months. A pretty long time, if you'll think about it, but sometimes, I get lazy, or my designs turn out crappy, or I don't have the time at all! Typical me.
Anyway, I'll leave you now to scroll through this post. If there are some designs you fancied, please let me know in the comments section. I'd really love to hear from you! And, if you've got requests (I've been thinking about making a part 2 of this challenge), feel free to post them, and I'll find a way to do them.
"Action-packed" is the first design I made for this challenge, and for a nail art beginner like me (back then), I found it really difficult to achieve the design I had in mind. This one is inspired by vintage comic books and the typical superhero colours. I used The Face Shop's Diamond Pop water nail stickers for the words, Forever 21's studs, and a tape cut-out for the lightning bolt, which I outlined with silver polish.
A friend of mine sent me this circuit board-ish nail art, and I took it as a challenge, so I did"The IT Nails". I wish the gold lines were more defined and visible, though.
"Garden Fresh" is inspired by a hand-painted vase my dad and I got at Evolution for my mum years ago. I just love its design so much that I tried to paint similar tiny colourful flowers on a white base coat, and voila!
The day before a beach-themed event, I did "Summer Sunset". I used a white base coat, so the shades of pink, orange and yellow will pop. I used a sponge to create the gradient effect. I then painted coconut trees, birds, and island outlines with black polish for that silhouette effect.
I was supposed to use a black base and white text for "L-O-V-E", but I thought it wouldn't look nice, so I switched them, and this is the outcome! Painting the letters proved to be challenging, as they had to have some kind of continuity, so I tried to keep my fingers stuck together until I finished the outline. I used Forever 21's heart stud for the thumb. It was originally gold, but I painted it with glittery pink polish, so it would be more visible.
A big fan of John Green's novel The Fault in Our Stars, I just had to incorporate some of its elements into a nail art project I'd do. I mixed various blue polishes to achieve the (almost) perfect TFIOS shade of blue, and used the book's signature blue-black-white scheme for each nail. I was about to use the clouds for the title on my thumbnail, but it would look too common, so I used two overlapping hearts instead, which could be found on the Czech cover of the novel. I also drew stars, puffy speech balloons with the iconic "Okay?", "Okay." lines from the story, and the infinity symbol (lemniscate).
The tulip is my favourite flower. With my nails growing longer, I decided to do a tulip nail art inspired by the tulips in Keukenhof (Lisse, Holland - one of my favourite places in the world!), thus "Out in the Tulip Field". I used a pale blue background to depict the gloomy spring sky, and also to make the yellow, pink, and orange tulips look more visible.
"Stargirl" by Jerry Spinelli is one of my favourite novels. It's a story that my high school friends and I treasure, because it reminds us to be ourselves and embrace the real us (no matter how cliché that sounds). I used a blue base, and brushed some matte top coat over it, so when I draw the star and the stick person figure, they'd look rather glossy. I then sponged a my favourite glittery polish from Claire's for the remaining tips.
I super love these black and white lace nail decals I got from Nature Republic! They look so classy... so elegant! I made sure I used every single design, so I alternated the black and white base coats.
I was pretty surprised "From Jaipur with Love" turned out this good, because I had so little time to do it. I was rushing for a summer-themed awards show that day, and I just had to have nails that matched this reddish-pink dress I got from Old Navy that I would be wearing. I tried my best Indian detail impressions (dots, lotus flowers, etc.), which I also use when I draw mandalas or rangolis. I then stuck tiny gold studs from Forever 21 at the centre of each design.
I see all these Cath Kidston-ish nail art designs everywhere, and I thought I should give it a shot, so I did "Vintage Prints", adding touches of gold to the predominant light blue and, of course, roses. I love how it turned out - so pretty and so dainty! These nails are perfect if you're attending a tea party.
I wish I had longer nails when I decided to do "Tie-dyed Tips", so the design would look a lot more psychedelic, but whatever! Every nail still looked like a portion of a tie-dyed shirt (somehow). I used a white base coat, and with a thin brush, flicked the swirly patterns.
I rarely use red polish, but when I do, I paint "Li'l Ladybugs". Haha! I used a french tip guide for the white tips, where I drew a tiny head for each ladybug.
"Minty Fresh Nails" is so simple anybody could do it. I used a minty shade, then gave it a white french tip, and brushed some silver polish just below the white line.
The Face Shop's Diamond Pop water nail stickers are simply ah-mazing. They're not too thick and not too thin, so tearing them is almost impossible. I previously used them for "Action-packed" (the first design in this post), and now, for its "Shine Bright Like a Diamond". For extra-shine, I used glittery silver polish, except for the ring finger. I used white for it to highlight the tiny silver glints I painted around the top of the diamond.
"Aquamarine" is pretty much like "Minty Fresh Nails", the only difference is the colour scheme. For this one, I used an aquamarine base, white tips, and a gold lining.
I've always had issues with the colour purple. A counsellor I used to visit suggested that I expose myself more to the colour, and what better way to do so than painting my nails with the it? Upon applying the purple polish, I was reminded of an image of Merlin and his silly hat in a King Arthur story book I had when I was a kid (although I was pretty sure Merlin didn't really dress like that), so I did this "Wizard's Hat" design. I used tiny star studs from Forever 21 and brushed on some glittery silver polish for the tips.
I was slated to interview an author, who writes about really dark topics, so I wanted to capture her books' themes in my nails when I meet her, so I did "Studded". I used a matte top coat against black, so it would look leathery, then attached a square stud from Forever 21 on each nail.
I wanted to try Forever 21's "Perfect Manicure Nail Stickers", so I purchased this pack of cheetah-print stickers, which are super easy to attach! But once I tried filing the excess sticker off, the whole thing started to tear. Ugh, so not the perfect manicure I was expecting!
"Newsie Nails" is one of my most-used nail art techniques (I even made a tutorial on how to do it!). It's super easy and super cool! For this, I mixed 3 parts white, 1 part black polish to get the newspaper grey shade, and applied the mixture on my nails. As soon as they dried, I cut tiny rectangles from a newspaper, and pressed a piece against a nail with an alcohol-soaked tissue (you can also use cotton) for a few seconds to transfer the ink. I then brushed a matte top coat so my nails would really look like newsprint.
I did my typical french tip-plus-lining combination for "Pink and Pretty", but used one of the metallic nail wraps I got from Claires for my ring finger nail.
"Double Happiness" is a design I did for Chinese New Year. And since I was going to attend some festivities at Manila Chinatown that day for a shoot, I decided to get my nails in the mood for the celebration. I painted the double happiness characters, magnolia trees (I was thinking of that scene in Mulan, where she was sitting under a magnolia tree with her father), a lucky coin (?) which didn't turn out so good (LOL!), and sponged some gold polish for the pinkie finger.
"He loves me, he loves me not" is actually a result of a mistake. I had something else planned out, but I screwed up, and thought, I should just work with what I already had, so I drew daisies with petals falling off. It turned out simple and clean, don't you think?
You might find this silly, but this design is inspired by an IKEA rug called "Lusy Blom" (but I used our dark-blue Lusy Blom pillow for the photos' background. haha!). The icons I painted were good enough, but when I applied the top coat, the colours bled and stained the white base, which is just sad. The biggest victim was the orange flower on my index finger. Pity.
My first nail art challenge wouldn't be complete without a Harry Potter-inspired entry, so I did "House Pride". I know that I'm not that gifted of an artist to flawlessly draw lions, snakes, eagles, and badgers on my awfully tiny and narrow nails (in fact, the H for "Hogwarts" on my thumbnail gave me a lot of trouble already, because I really wanted it to look like the Hogwarts H, but evidently, it didn't. Haha!), so I just experimented with the house colours and patterns, then put tiny rhinestones from Girlstuff at the centre of each nail. I'm happy with what I came up with!
PS. I'm a Ravenclaw (well, Pottermore said so!)
"Metallic Monarch" is one of the nail art designs I've been wanting to try. I first saw something similar on Pinterest way, way back, but it was just plain, matte orange. Not hat it was boring, I just wanted mine to be different, so I used 3 glittery-metallic lacquers in pink, orange, and yellow, which I sponged them onto my nail to create a gradient effect. (To make the colours pop even more, I used a white base coat.) Then, instead of dotting plain white polish at the tips, I used tiny rhinestones.
I really love the doodles in the opening sequence of Disney Channel's Violetta, so I thought I should try replicating them on my nails. I decided to call this design "En Mi Mundo" (after the show's theme song). For this, I used a plain white base, then did the glittery lavender french tips with a silver lining below. I then painted the flower (used a tittle) from the show's logo on my index finger, a G-clef for my middle finger, eighth notes on my ring finger, a star on my pinkie finger, and a heart on my thumbnail. I also stuck some rhinestones.
It's Aztec meets Native American for "Dream On"! I think I will never get over how much I love this design! The patterns, the dream catcher, the colour scheme, everything's just the way I like it! This is a really difficult design to make (a lot of things went wrong while I was painting - if you'll look closely, you'll spot the mistakes), and seeing how beautifully it turned out is very rewarding, indeed!
Water-marbling is a technique that can be quite fun and frustrating at the same time. "In a Trance" is actually the result of my third attempt. It's also my first successful one. I tried to experiment with more colours, and posted a step-by-step tutorial in this blog, which you can check out right here.
I've never used super thin nail art tape before I did this design, so I was pretty sceptical at first. I thought the colours will mix or bleed, but every nail turned out nicely. I then brushed some matte top coat, just because. Haha!
"Roses are red" is a design I did for my grandmum who loves roses and the colour red. She instantly fell in love with my nails when she saw this! All of the decals and wraps I used for this design are from Forever 21.
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"A woman is helpless only while her nail polish is drying."