Friday, May 22, 2015

Nail School: Let's Play Catch-Up

Well it's been a hot minute since I've made a post about nail school, huh? Last time, I had just finished taking my acrylic evaluations. Since then, I've had lots of opportunities to work with the medium. It's been a challenge, for sure, and only recently has that nervous feeling that comes with an acrylic appointment begun to fade.

I don't mean to imply that I don't like working with acrylic; only that it can be frustrating to take on a completely new skillset. I've seen some big improvements in myself (after a bit of struggling) that are really encouraging, and I think acrylic is an amazing tool for any tech's arsenal.

For example, just two weeks ago I had a client come in who had broken two of her nails down low. She was headed to a wedding and wanted to do a French manicure, but was concerned about the look of her two broken nails. We decided to build out two sculpted nails to match the rest of her natural nails. When we finished the manicure, she looked down and said, "I can't even tell which ones are fake!" That was an awesome feeling.

Can you tell which two are acrylic? (It's her right ring and pointer fingers.)

In addition to lots of acrylic full sets, fills, and fixes, I've continued to practice and improve on services that I was already more comfortable with, like gel manicures, pedicures, and one-step gel strengtheners.

Not too much to report here, honestly! As I suspected in my last post, we haven't learned new services, but instead just kept practicing and working with clients.

One thing that I've really noticed is a big difference in is service time. While I wasn't necessarily slow before, I've definitely become much more speedy (while still providing the same quality service). No special tricks to be learned there, just lots and lots of practice and repetition.

We also had a new class of students join us at the beginning of April! It was really fun to have some new faces around school and I enjoyed getting to know them.

Though I haven't taken any shots of my gel manicures or pedicures, here are some of my acrylic clients from the past few months. Again, these are all sculpted nails; we do not use tips in class.

Full set of sculptured pink and whites

Full set of sculptured pink and whites with some unique nail art

Full set sculptured pink and natural (before polish), round

Full set sculptured pink and natural (before polish), round

Full set sculptured pink and natural (after polish)

Full set sculptured pink and natural (before polish)

Full set sculptured pink and natural (before polish)

Full set sculptured pink and whites

Fill with polish

Though I know I've still got quite a ways to go, I'm happy with my progression. I'm done with school now, but we still have a couple of posts to go! Stick around for next time when I'll give you the details on our school board exit exams.

Friday, May 15, 2015

DIY Project: Magnetic Nail Art Organizer

DIY Magnetic Nail Art Organizer Tutorial by @chalkboardnails
If you're anything like me, you've probably got tons of tiny ziploc baggies, pots, and wheels of nail art supplies strewn about your workspace. Whether it's loose glitter, studs, charms, or embellishments, there has to be a better way!

Ever since I read about the magnetic nail art wall at Hey Nice Nails, I've wanted one for myself. Now, I don't know where to go about ordering one of these, so I set out to make one instead. This project was relatively inexpensive, and would be even cheaper if you've got some of the materials at home already. Read on to learn how to make one with your own two hands. I can be crafty sometimes, who said that I couldn't?!

First, gather your supplies. I used:
Frame from Goodwill
E6000 adhesive
Sheet metal (NOTE: I would recommend bringing your magnets along to test their attraction to the various sheet metals.)
Multipurpose metal snips, or a friend that can cut sheet metal
White spray paint
Small magnets
Nail art jars

DIY Magnetic Nail Art Organizer Tutorial by @chalkboardnails

I began by prepping my frame. It started out as a kind of icky beigey-white, and I wanted it to be good old regular white. I didn't get too fancy, and started by putting out a trash bag as my protective workspace. Then, I spray painted two coats of paint onto the thrifted frame, following manufacturer instructions on spray distance and time between coats. I let it dry while I moved on to the next steps.

DIY Magnetic Nail Art Organizer Tutorial by @chalkboardnails

Next, I got started on the sheet metal. My frame came with this handy piece of backing cardboard that I used to mark the correct dimensions on my sheet metal, but you could also do an old fashioned measurement.

Cut the metal to the proper dimensions using the tin snips. BE CAREFUL! The metal is sharp as hell. I'd recommend wearing gloves for this step, even though I didn't (whoops). If your frame is ready and dry, you can pop the metal into the frame at this point. I also put my cardboard back in there, too.

DIY Magnetic Nail Art Organizer Tutorial by @chalkboardnails
DIY Magnetic Nail Art Organizer Tutorial by @chalkboardnails
DIY Magnetic Nail Art Organizer Tutorial by @chalkboardnails

Now we prepare the jars! Take your nail art jars (empty or filled) and dab a dot of E6000 adhesive onto the lid. The bottoms of my jars are concave, but the lids are flat, so lids it was. Press one of the magnets into the dot of glue.

The hardest part is that now you have to let the adhesive on your newly birthed magnet jars dry for at least 24 hours. Trust me on this! It sucks, I know, but you wanna do this right, don't you?

DIY Magnetic Nail Art Organizer Tutorial by @chalkboardnails
DIY Magnetic Nail Art Organizer Tutorial by @chalkboardnails

Once you've given your magnet jars time to set, you can pop them onto your frame in whatever arrangement you'd like!

DIY Magnetic Nail Art Organizer Tutorial by @chalkboardnails
DIY Magnetic Nail Art Organizer Tutorial by @chalkboardnails

Ta daaaaaa! Ooooh...Aaahhh...! Now you've got a cute and fun way to store and organize your nail art supplies.

Looking for good places to stock up on nail art charms and studs? Check out some of my favorite shops:
Daily Charme
Hex Nail Designs
Ocean Nail Supply
The Sparkly Shop

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Mani Mania: UberChic Beauty Stamping Plates Review

Blue stamping nail art by @chalkboardnails
piCture pOlish Forget Me Not stamped with plate 1-02

Despite not being much of a nail art stamper, I've been playing around with UberChic Beauty stamping plates lately! The manicure above was my biggest success, and maybe one of my best stamping manicures ever. Though I'm not the best stamper, I've been having a blast putting together manicures with these plates. Keep reading to check out more of my results!

UberChic Beauty stamping nail art by @chalkboardnails
Colors by Llarowe Mom Jeans stamped with plate UC 1-03

What really stood out to me about these plates is how beautiful the patterns are. They're modern, well designed, on trend, and just really fun. Many of them have superfine, intricate details, like in the photo above.

I'm not particularly skilled in stamping, but these plates seemed to work well for me! Even the finest of lines picked up each time.

Here's some more info about UberChic plates:
- The plates themselves are pretty large, especially compared to the other ones that I have in my collection.
- The designs are large, and easily covered my nails with room to spare.
- Each plate has a general theme, which includes full nail designs plus coordinated single images.

Neon and black stamping nail art by @chalkboardnails
Gelish I'm Brighter Than You stamped with plate UC 1-01

Neon mix-up stamping nail art by @chalkboardnails
KBShimmer Summer 2015 neons stamped with plate UC 2-03

Rockstar gel nails with stamping by @chalkboardnails
Purple rockstar gel manicure stamped with plate UC 1-03

Stop by UberChic Beauty to check out their plate lineup as well as their glitters and pigments! The plates used here can be purchased in plate collections 1 and 2.

I encourage you to go and check out the designs on the plates, because they really are well done. A stamper's dream!