Thursday, 1 October 2015

Nail Mail Nail Art Stencils - How To

I've been using nail art stencils from Nail Mail for the longest time and although I use them in tons of tutorials, I've never actually done a post exclusively on the stencils!

I bought my first nail art stencils ever from Nail Mail and sent Kelly, the mastermind behind Nail Mail, a few photos of my designs. They were pretty rubbish back then to be honest. I didn't really know what I was doing!

Ever since then Kelly and I have been working together. She has sent my crazy amounts of her stencils and I happily use them for my nail art. She never asked me to use them, promote them or review them, I just genuinely enjoy using them.

I created this single chevron zig zag-y look. This stencil is called the Chevron Points.

I started off with a cobalt blue base. I applied 2 coats and then applied a fast drying topcoat. I waited for a good 10 minutes before doing anything else.

It's important to wait until the nails are 100% dry. If your nails touch dry but still wet underneath you'll pull the nail polish off with the stencil! I have to say... this is something I've done more than once!!

Once you've waited (at least) 10 min, you can apply the stencil. Just pull it off the paper and carefully put it on your nails. I tend to just use my hands for this, no fancy tweezers! But I know a lot of people find it easier to apply it with tweezers. I don't have very steady hands using my hands gives that extra bit of support.

Once you've put the stencil on your nail you have to make sure it's pushed down properly. Not just the top of you nail, but you also have to push it down properly around your cuticles. Again you can use the tweezers to push it down, or a cuticle pusher.. I just use my nails. If the stencil isn't pushed down properly you can have polish leaking underneath the stencils and you won't have those crips lines.

Now it's time to apply your second colour!

I used a contrasting black polish.

When applying the nail polish I try to stick to the design of the stencils. So for this stencil I painted the cuticle area first, and then just filled in the zig zags.

I find that when I just paint my nail like I normally would I get too much polish on the stencil itself and it could get a little messy removing it.

Another easy peasy way of getting crisp lines without any risk is the sponge the second colour on. Like you're doing a gradient, but just 1 solid colour! This way you won't run the risk of adding a too thick of a coat and ruining the design when you're pulling the stencil off.

Once you've applied your second colour it's time to remove the stencil. You want to remove the stencil when the nail polish is still went. Do it ASAP! If the nail polish dries you'll pull off all your nail polish or the stencil could break. Don't rush though, take your time when pulling the stencil off. I follow the design of the stencil so for these I pull it up and down following the zig zag. The stencil is pretty sturdy so as long as the polish is still wet, you won't break it.

The last step is to apply top coat!

I wait another 10+ minutes before applying top coat to any design. Topcoat has this horrible tendency to smear designs. It's literally THE worst.

Normally I take photos pre top coat and after - JUST in case I smudge a design.

If you're really worried about ruining your design, you can apply 2 coats of topcoat. The first coat will follow the zig zag design, once that's dry you can add a normal topcoat. This way you won't run the risk of smudging the 2 colours together.

I used to apply top coat like I would apply any polish, but I've learned to only have the polish touch your nail, not the brush. Does that make sense? I use a very very light touch so I'm not pressing the brush onto my nail. This also helps eliminate the design smearing all over the place.

That's it!

I feel like it sounds a whole lot more complicated that it really is. The most important step is actually the first step. Make sure your base colour is 110% dry before even starting anything else. It's happened so many times that I create this great design, pull off the stencil and the nail polish comes off with it! Trying to fix that is more work than starting all over again...

I hope this was a helpful guide on how to apply nail stencils!

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