photos/post/design: Kristin Ess
In a world where everything feels so new, I always like to take a step back, reach into my pocket of childhood memories and see if there’s something to bring back to the table. Who didn’t LOVE needlepoint as a kid? It’s classic folk art! In memory of an era when most things were handmade, I thought it could be fun to do needlepoint nails and I’m pretty obsessed with the way they turned out. If you have the patience and time, it’s a super cute mani…
Here’s the pattern I made. You can follow the same one or make up your own. Keep in mind, it doesn’t have to be perfect. Once you lay down a lot of little x’s, it tends to come together. To see the polish colors I used, click the links I’ve added in the steps below.
- Start with a base color. I chose black so that the colors would pop. White would also be a great fit for spring!
- Follow the pattern I illustrated above. Start with GOLD x’s.
- Next one WHITE x to help the center “pop” .
- LIGHT PINK for the inner petals.
- DARK PINK for the outer petals.
- DARK GREEN for the darker leaves.
- Next, you’ll carry the dark green petals over to the middle finger.
- Add some additional LIGHT/BRIGHT GREEN x’s for the lighter leaves.
- Same colors will be used on the pinky.
- Add a quick drying topcoat once your x’s have dried!
I’ve always loved the artwork below and I finally figured out a way to get a similar look in a mani. It’s different than a regular chevron pattern because it’s slightly more abstract and free-handed. I love the way one color runs over into the next one.
You have to find the right pens- some that run/smear as you slowly apply a topcoat, and others that stay put. Through trial + error, I found that these ones that worked best together:
Whatever colors your choose to use, I suggest putting a white zigzag below a darker zigzag. That way you can really see it when it smears over the white.
The steps to this are pretty simple:
Start by prepping your nails with a bright color as a base– try hot pink, coral or green. I used THIS ONE. You don’t want to do this on bare nails because it could stain. I waited about 2 hours for the green to really harden so that there wouldn’t be any “sticking” when I was using the pens. If you have time to let the color dry over night that’s even better!
- Using your Ultra-Fine tip Sharpie, make a zigzag pattern horizontally. You don’t want it to be overly pattern-y. Might sound silly but I tried thinking of an electrocardiogram pattern from when a doctor is looking at your heartbeat.
- Follow the ultra-fine pen with your Sally Hansen nail art pen.
- Next use your gold metallic Sharpie in between.
- Last, take your topcoat and slowly add a layer. The lines will smudge into each other creating the look. Wait for that first topcoat to dry entirely before adding another if desired. You’ll want to wipe off your topcoat brush each time as it will get a little color on it. I used polish remover and a paper towel.
If you want to see a short video clip on running the topcoat over, you can see it on our Vine! We’re “The Beauty Department”.
By the way, if anyone knows the name of the artist who made that image above, I would love to know so I can credit them! xo
UPDATE: Artwork is by the insanely talented Jennifer Moreman.
photos/post/graphic design: Kristin Ess
Annnnd we’re back with yet another sweet Valentine’s Day mani. How can we help it!? This was inspired by a bracelet my friend got me with my name on it in morse code. This mani will be great for anyone who wants to add a little “LOVE” to their nails this week without using the typical red + pink. Personally, I love doing this because it’s gold, it’s subtle, it suits anyone at any age and it’s not too much for those who can’t wear polkadot or glitter manis to work. This is one of the easiest/quickest nail ideas and makes a great conversation piece. Here’s how to get a lil’ love in morse code:
TOOLS: Black polish. Clear coat. Polyester string (gold) from the craft/sewing store. Microbeads (gold). Small scissors.
- Cut 5 tiny pieces of gold string and grab 7 micro beads. You will need 3 pieces of the cut string to go across your middle finger for the “O” in “LOVE” so make sure they’re small enough that you can fit 3 across.
- Draw out morse code so you can get an idea of the spacing.
- Paint your nails solid black. To be honest, you can do this in any color but this is my fave. I did 2 thin coats.
- Once the color dries, paint on a clear coat.
- Quickly apply the micro-beads + string to spell out “LOVE” in the correct pattern. I like to do one finger at a time so the clear coat doesn’t dry before I get them on there.
- Last, apply a quick drying clear coat over the whole nail.
That’s it! Happy Valentine’s Day, friends!
Oh… and that cute little gold heart ring on my finger is from Catbird in NYC. I also got THIS ONE there as seen in our last Valentine’s Day mani! xo
photos/post/design: Kristin Ess
It’s almost Valentine’s day!! Whether you’re celebrating or not, a heart mani always looks simple + sweet. After trying to get a perfect heart a million different ways, I finally figured out the best way to do it. Washi tape! You can order it online, find it at a stationery store, or I’ve even seen it at Target in the stationery section. Washi tape is much less sticky than regular tape so you don’t have to worry about it adhering and pulling off your base color so much. Okay, here’s how we got the perfect heart!
- You’ll need a red, a metallic gold + a gold glitter. I used this for my red, this for my metallic gold + this for my gold glitter.
- You’ll also need washi tape and small scissors. I used the kind for trimming brows.
- Paint your nails with the red and let them dry for a few hours. I like to let the base dry overnight just to be safe.
- Cut a 2-3″ piece of washi tape, fold it in half but leave the ends apart like you see in photo 4.
- Place the open ends of the washi tape on your pointer finger on the opposite hand you cut with. Cut out a half heart that is a little less than half the width of the nail you’re putting the heart on.
- Gently peel your washi tape open to see the full heart.
- Place it on the nail and press the edges with a soft, dry, clean paintbrush.
- Paint the metallic coat first. This will give you the perfect heart shape, which you can’t get when using glitter polish alone.
- Now add the glitter polish on top of that.
- Peel your tape off slowly while the metallic and glitter polishes are still wet. You don’t want them to dry to the washi tape.
You can use a detailing brush to add more glitter to the heart if you want to. Add a top coat once the glitter heart has dried. xo
We haven’t done a mix & match nail in quite a while so we thought it was time! While we love painting one nail a different color than the rest, but we also love alternating a pattern. This one is quite simple and I was thinking– how cute would this be in pink, red + white or pink, red + gold for Valentines day!? Here we go…
You’ll need a dark polish, a light polish and a bright polish, a top coat and a dotting tool (or mechanical pencil as I taught you here!). Here are the links for the colors I used: GREY // WHITE // TURQUOISE
- Paint your fingers with alternating colors.
- On your darker color, use your dotting tool to make dots all around the edge with your light color.
- Now follow the same pattern and do another round of dots just inside of your last dots using your bright polish (see above). You can keep going with this pattern if you want. I just like it lining the outside but it’s up to you.
- Take your darker color and freehand this step. You basically want to follow the shape of your nail, just slightly smaller to allow the bright color to rim the edges. It can be a little hard to get the hang of but you’ll get it. I like to start with painting from the tip. Notice the angle of the brush in this photo.
- Now switch your brush around as you see in photo 5. You’ll connect the two in the middle. I didn’t use stickers or a guide because I think it’s best to just freehand it. Also, once this dries you can go back in with your bright color and touch up the edges so don’t worry too much anout making it perfect.
- Top coat time. The best thing about a topcoat is it makes everything kind of settle in smoother. The little mess ups I had seemed to disappear once I applied my generous topcoat. (Thank goodness)