Monday, January 13, 2014

Mani Monday - WELCOME to our new MM contributor!

You guys, I am so excited to introduce you all to Mani Monday's new contributor, Tiffany. Tiffany is a bit of a nail art pro, and once a month she will be sharing some of her great nail looks and techniques with us.  Take is away, Tiffany!

Happy Mani Monday to ya'll!  I'm Tiffany.  Heather has kindly and awesomely asked me to take over one Mani Monday a month on her blog!  I'm flattered and honored to be here!

A little about myself first:  I'm 29 years old and I have 2 awesome little girls, Danica who is 4 and Emersen (Emmy) who is 3.  They're 18 months apart and you can usually find me breaking up their fights or pulling them down from the chandeliers.  (Okay, I don't really have any chandeliers but if I did I'm sure they'd be swinging from them.)  I've been into painting my nails since middle school.  In high school and college I did the tips and acrylic thing but once my kids were born I kicked that habit and began stalking various nail blogs.  I became a total addict.  I haven't inventoried my stash in a while but I believe I have close to 300 bottles of polish!  My own nail blog was born a little over a year ago but hasn't seen a new post since May 2013!  If you'd like to check it out anyway, it's here: Hard Lacquer.  I'm much more active on Instagram (@hardlacquer).

Enough about me - onto the nails!  I decided to do a water marble for ya'll.  I have to admit - I had a hard time finding polishes that would work well this time!  I don't know what the deal was, but I ended up with a neon combo (that I've used before) and a black/white combo.

The colors I used on index and pinky are Wet 'n Wild Black Creme and Wet 'n Wild French White Creme.  The middle and ring finger were marbled with China Glaze Love is a Beach (pink), Splish Splash (blue) and Sun-kissed (yellow).  Please excuse my middle finger, I got a hair stuck on it... 

There are hundreds of great watermarble tutorials out there, most of which I have watched or read to hone my technique - but I'm gonna give a quick rundown of the steps and tips I've found helpful so far.  It really does take lots and lots of practice and even after you get good, you'll still have days where they don't turn out so great.

Here's what you'll need:
- White or Nude base polish
- Acetone and Brush or Qtips for clean up
- Tape
- 2 or 3 color polishes of your choice
- Orange stick or other pointy object for dragging the polish in the water (I use my most pointy dotting tool)
- tooth picks (or orange stick dedicated specifically to watermarbling)  
- small cup of room temperature filtered water 
- tweezers

Before you start, open all the polishes you will be using - you don't want to do this with a wet base coat.  Fill up your cup with room temperature filtered water.  You can use a small plastic or paper cup (easy clean up here) or a small glass cup (cleans well with acetone and you'll always have it).  I personally use a shot glass.  Then:

1. Paint a base coat on your nails - I usually use white, regardless of what actual colors I'm putting on my nails.  A light nude color would also work well.  Occasionally I will use the lightest color of the polishes I'm marbling with - it just depends on the combo.  This time I used 1 coat of Milani White on the Spot. There is no need for this to be perfect or completely opaque, we just need a blank canvas for the color to show up on, since the layer of polish in the water will be very thin. 

2. Tape around the nail bed.  Watermarbling is messy and this really helps with the clean up.  Some people use vaseline or chapstick around the nail bed - but taping works best for me.     

3. Drip the polish into the water, one or two drops at a time, in a bulls-eye fashion.  For the image above I did 1 drop Sun-kissed, followed by 1 drop Love is a Beach, followed by 1 drop Splish Splash, then the same cycle once more. 6 rings.

4. Take your orange stick (or pointy dotting tool, or toothpick, etc) and lightly drag it across the surface of the water to make a design.  You'll get better at this the more you practice.  There are many possibilities here.  I tend to stick to the design above.   

5. I should've gotten an "action shot", but I didn't and for that I apologize.  What you want to do next is get your nail pretty close to parallel with the surface of the water, and lay your nail into the design.  Once your finger is completely "dunked" you can move it however you need to in the water.  LEAVE YOUR FINGER IN THE WATER while you take a toothpick or orange stick and move it around in the water to clean up the excess polish.  It should stick to the toothpick pretty easily by this point.  If it's not picking it up, let it dry a little longer.  Cleaning all the polish up out of the water before you pull your finger out is VERY important. This pic is right after I've removed my finger from the water.

6. While the polish is still wet, pull off the tape.  I use tweezers to do this.

After you pull the tape off, use a brush dipped in acetone to clean up the excess polish and get the clean line near the cuticle.  Add a top coat.  For these I used 1 coat of INM Out the Door Northern Lights for sparkle and then my usual Seche Vite.  And you're done!  

Some extra tips:
- Not all polish will work well.  The more you do it the more you will figure out what works and what doesn't, but largely this will be trial and error.  I tried a bunch of white and blacks before I landed on two that were satisfactory for this design and I still wasn't completely happy.  Sometimes it helps to use polishes of the same brand together.  Sometimes a certain polish will play well with some polishes but not with others, so just because it doesn't work one time you try it, doesn't mean it won't work with something else.  Most of the time, neons DO NOT work - they dry way way too fast in the water, almost as soon as you drop it in.  You can not draw a design if the polish is already dry on the surface.  If you really want to marble with neons, I suggest the China Glaze Summer Neons collection from 2012. That's where these 3 came from.
- I learned this from My Simple Little Pleasures: when doing your design in the water, always drag a line from the center of the innermost circle to the edge of the cup on two opposite sides first thing.  This anchors the polish to the sides of the cup, stabilizing the polish and makes it easier to draw your design. Go watch her videos because she's awesome, she has a ton, and you can learn a lot from her!
- You want to work somewhat quickly since you can't draw a design in dry polish - but this time will vary each time depending on the nature of the polish you're using.
- Keep some paper towels near by to wipe off your drawing stick after every stroke or two in the water.  You don't want polish build-up on your tool - it will mess up your design.
- Once you've cleaned up the water and removed your finger, there may be random bits of polish floating on the surface of the water.  If that's the case, drop one drop of polish in the water, make sure it spreads to all sides, then let it dry.  Once dry, gather it all up with a tooth pick or other tool and voila! The surface of your water is clean.

Thank ya'll for reading!  Sorry if it got too lengthy, but I hope I covered everything...feel free to ask questions! Thanks so much Heather for inviting me to do this!
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These are AWESOME!! Thanks so much for sharing, Tiffany! Now it's your turn to link up!! Can't wait to see what you guys have been rocking on your nails!

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