Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Simple Vintage Floral Inspired by Lacquerstyle

Vintage floral nails by @chalkboardnails

We are nearing the end of the challenge! Today's prompt is "inspired by a tutorial" and I've taken inspiration from the talented (and Queen of Florals), Lacquerstyle. For this particular look, I've followed her Simple Abstract Floral Tutorial, which not only features a fun and easy design, but has gorgeous cinematography and photography to boot.

Vintage floral nails by @chalkboardnails

I wont detail how to do this look -- if you want to visit the tutorial, just click on the link above!

I used Formula X Cloud Nine as my base. The flowers are painted with China Glaze Make an Entrance, while the blue blossom sprays were done in China Glaze First Mate. I created the leaf shade by mixing China Glaze Take a Hike and American Apparel Crescent Heights.

I love this look, though mine aren't quite as perfect as Kristin's! The smaller blue sprays really add a lot to the completed manicure.

Vintage floral nails by @chalkboardnails

Check out the other tutorials I've tried in the past:

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Crop Circle Inspired Nail Art

Crop circle nail art by @chalkboardnails

"Inspired by the supernatural" is another one of the challenge prompts that I'm not usually too enthused about. I started out today attempting a manicure depicting the Galactic Entity from Futurama, but quickly changed my mind (looked too much like my galaxy nails!). I decided to do some crop circle nail art instead, and boy am I glad that I did! I'm super pleased with these and hope you enjoy them too.

Crop circle nail art by @chalkboardnails

I started out by applying two coats of Essie - Mojito Madness as my green base. Then, I used the dry brush technique to add some swipes of Duri - Shocking Twist. If you're unfamiliar, you just wipe most of the polish off of your brush, and then lightly swipe it over your nails.

Then, I used LVX - Avenal to handpaint my crop circle designs. Many of them have geometric elements to them, so I chose to focus on concentric circles as well as lines and triangles.

I finished the nail art with a matte topcoat. I liked the look of it glossy, but to be honest, the reflections of the lights that I use for my photos on my nails made my linework look distorted.

Crop circle nail art by @chalkboardnails

See more of my supernatural nail art:

Monday, September 28, 2015

Pizza Bunting Nail Art

Pizza bunting nail art by @chalkboardnails

Today's prompt is "inspired by a flag," and it's arguably the worst prompt in the whole challenge. I was thinking about bunting and how that would be a cute idea to do for flag-day, but wanted to figure out a way to make it more unique. All of a sudden - I had it! At the beginning of the year, Rebecca of Rebecca Likes Nails had crocheted and then gifted me some pizza bunting, and I figured it'd be perfect to try to recreate on nails.

Pizza bunting crochet

Pizza bunting nail art by @chalkboardnails

Though my nails aren't as cute as her crochet creation (could anything EVER be?), I think they're unique and fun and who doesn't like pizza, you know? My favorite toppings are pineapple and ham, though lately I've been gravitating towards banana peppers. Also - have you guys tried Pizza Hut's pretzel crust? Pretty sure they just put some butter and salt on it, but man that stuff is delicious.

Pizza bunting nail art by @chalkboardnails

Previous "inspired by a flag" manicures:

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Line Drawings Inspired by Zach Bootz

Line drawing nail art by @chalkboardnails

Today's prompt is "inspired by artwork" and I've done some nails inspired by the artwork of my pal Zach Bootz. He does these really awesome black and white line drawings that combine surreal patterns, geometric lines, architecture and more. While my manicure isn't as intricately crafted as his pieces are, I've tried to draw inspiration from his style and general "feel."

Line drawing nail art by @chalkboardnails

Though Zach's signature style includes black and white, I knew I wanted mine to be in color. I chose LVX Viola and LVX Mineral. Mineral is a light grey, but when I topcoated the design, the blue base seeped through and turned it pale purple. It looks cool, like blueprints, but this is the second time I've had trouble with an LVX polish bleeding through. I'm wondering if maybe it's the combination of their formula with my topcoat?

Afterwards, I finished with matte topcoat as a kind of nod to ink on paper. Be sure to stop by Zach's website and check out more of his work! It's really compelling stuff.

Not too many challenge days left! I can't lie and say I'll be sad when it's over.

Line drawing nail art by @chalkboardnails

Previous nail art inspired by artwork:

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Carnaval Netting - X-Patterned Nail Art

Carnaval Netting by @chalkboardnails

Today's prompt is "inspired by a pattern" and I don't even know where I took it today, but here's what I ended up with. The candy colored palette has me thinking of Carnaval in Rio, while the X pattern is vaguely reminiscent of netting.

Carnaval Netting by @chalkboardnails

Wouldn't you know it, my base polish fits the theme! It's Gelish Carnaval Hangover, which is my new gel manicure for the week. I completely finished and cured the manicure before adding the designs.

Using a small nail art brush, I added the Xs with Duri - Shocking Twist (pea green), Sally Hansen - Blue Me Away (blue), and American Apparel - L'Espirit (pale purple). I didn't try to make them uniform, especially not from nail to nail, and instead went for a more abstract feel.

The manicure still needed something else, so after the Xs were done, I added black dots wherever the lines met. I think it contributes a lot to the final look!

Carnaval Netting by @chalkboardnails

More "inspired by a pattern" nail art:

Friday, September 25, 2015

Pinstripe and Damask Nail Art Inspired by Tory Burch

Tory Burch inspired nail art by @chalkboardnails

Ladies that are also attempting the challenge with me... Are you getting tired of this yet? I've hit my yearly breaking point, but as always, I will push through and prevail. Today's prompt is "inspired by fashion," and I've drawn inspiration from a Tory Burch look that was just shown off at New York Fashion Week.

I love these patterns and colors together, they're very textile-meets-Hamptons. Bold meets soft. Rigid meets organic.

Tory Burch inspired nail art by @chalkboardnails

I used Polish My Life - Saint as the base, and then mixed together Formula X - Glorious and LVX - Paraiso for the pinstripe color. I added the floral designs on with Formula X - Push the Limits and finished with topcoat.

Tory Burch inspired nail art by @chalkboardnails

Previously, on "Inspired by Fashion" day:

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Modern Romance Nail Art

Modern Romance nail art by @chalkboardnails

Today's challenge prompt is "inspired by a book." Unfortunately I'm not reading as much as I'd like, so my options were pretty limited, but I ended up finding inspiration in a book that I just started reading: comedian Aziz Ansari's Modern Romance. The book is all about dating in the modern age, and while I don't have much personal experience with that (longterm relationship and all, ya know?), I've certainly seen how it has affected my friends and peers!

With their experiences in mind, I decided to paint an ode to modern romance and, more specifically, the booty call.

Modern Romance nail art by @chalkboardnails

In my manicure, I included an Instagram "like" heart, the Tinder app icon, and (my favorite part), an iMessage booty call -- with someone in the middle of responding, of course. They are all handpainted and finished with matte topcoat.

I'm not very far into the book yet, but I've especially been enjoying all of the actual data they collected to back up the anecdotes. It's a super interesting read and funny, to boot.

Modern Romance nail art by @chalkboardnails

Previous literary manicures include:

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

You've Got a Friend In Me! - Toy Story Nail Art

Toy Story nail art by @chalkboardnails

Is there a better trilogy than Toy Story? Ok, there probably is (there are a lot of awesome trilogies!), but it's definitely an amazing one and probably the best animated trilogy at least. Today's 31DC prompt is "inspired by a movie" and in case it wasn't clear, I've done some nail art inspired by Woody and Buzz, the bestest friends ever!

Toy Story nail art by @chalkboardnails

These are handpainted using the following nail polishes...

Formula X White Matter
Salon Perfect Oil Slick
Color Club Je Ne Sais Quoi
Deborah Lippmann Respect

Formula X White Matter
China Glaze Looking Bootiful
Formula X Pyrotechnic
Girly Bits It's Hoop to Be Square

Formula X Provocative
Formula X White Matter
Salon Perfect Oil Slick

Toy Story nail art by @chalkboardnails

I have done quite a few movie manicures in the past! Check out what I've done previously for the challenge:

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Paint It Black

Paint It Black nail art by @chalkboardnails

For today's prompt, "inspired by a song," I decided to do some nail art inspired by The Rolling Stones' "Paint It Black." The song is about depression and loss, and wanting to paint everything black to match those feelings.

If you're familiar with the song, the obvious choice would have been do a red door and then put some black on it, but I wanted to go for something a little more colorful and (only slightly) less literal. I opted for a bright base, splattered and smeared with black paint.

Paint It Black nail art by @chalkboardnails

I began with a white base to help the colors above it pop.

Then I cut off a strip of a makeup sponge, and painted swipes of my three base colors directly on to the sponge. I used China Glaze Too Yacht to Handle, Nicole by OPI Hit the Lights, and Girly Bits Hip Hoop Hooray.

For the big black swipe, I wiped most of the polish off of the brush of Salon Perfect Oil Slick, and then dry brushed it across my nails. I used a small nail art brush to add the splatters and drips, then finished with topcoat.

Paint It Black nail art by @chalkboardnails

See how I've been inspired by songs in the past:

Monday, September 21, 2015

Midnight Sky Nail Art with JINsoon Nocturne

Night sky nail art by @chalkboardnails

The challenge theme for today is "inspired by a color," and like I've done in many years past, I've decided to do a nail art interpretation of a nail polish's name. The nail art that I ended up with is stylistically simple, especially compared to the galaxy nails that I just posted, but I think it's more wearable and a little more mystical.

Night sky nail art by @chalkboardnails

My base color is the polish I was inspired by: JINsoon "Nocturne." It's a rich, smoky black with a slight metallic sheen to it. It looks like satin, but dries to a glossy finish, and covers perfectly in two coats. You do have to be a little attentive towards brushstrokes when applying, but it wasn't too difficult.

I then added small white stars and a crescent moon using Formula X White Matter and my small nail art brush.

Night sky nail art by @chalkboardnails

Check out my "inspired by a color" looks from past years:

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Peachy Marbled Stone Nail Art

Peachy marbled stone nail art by @chalkboardnails

We're at the end of section two in the 31 Day Challenge! Today's prompt is "water marble," so basically I've been dreading it this whole time. I am not a good water marbler, I cannot create a marbling bullseye to save my life... BUT this time, I used that to my advantage! Instead of going for a super perfect and gorgeous water marble design, I opted for something a bit more organic with a marbled stone look. More room for error = happy Sarah.

Quick sidenote, does anyone know what kind of stone I created? Some pals suggested banded carnelian, agate, & jasper... But I can't shake the feeling that there's another one that I just can't put my finger on!

Peachy marbled stone nail art by @chalkboardnails

I started with a base of Presto #100 Trillo gel, a soft peachy nude. I've been wearing gel underneath all of my challenge manicures and this happens to be my base for this week!

Then, I dropped drops of white polish and a slow-drying clear topcoat onto the surface of a small dappen dish filled with room temperature water. I used a pinpoint dotting tool to gently stir up the drops until I had a pattern that I liked. Working one at a time (since my dish was so small), I dipped my nails into the swirled polish.

Look guys, I'm never gonna be a great watermarbling resource. Here's a good video for beginners from Hannah Rox Nails with some tips and tricks, if you're interested in learning!

Finally, I used a skill that I do have: freehanding! I added some orange and deep red banding along the white marbling using my tiny nail art brush.

The last step was to add a coat of sheer pink on top to give everything a deeper, buried look. I used Formula X Sheer Strength in Wonderous.

Peachy marbled stone nail art by @chalkboardnails

Previous water marble work:

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Bejeweled Galaxy Nail Art

Jewel-toned galaxy nails by @chalkboardnails

IT HAS ARRIVED! Galaxy day of the 31 Day Challenge! I love this day because I never do galaxies, even though I should, and they're so easy to do, and they always turn out lovely, and the sparkles are overwhelming, and yeah. Galaxies are the best.

Jewel-toned galaxy nails by @chalkboardnails

As with all my galaxy manicures, I started with a base of black polish.

Then, I tore off tiny pieces of a makeup sponge, and used it to create layers of the following shades:
LVX Cameo
LVX Viola
Girly Bits Hoop There It Is
Color Club Peace Love and Polish

Next I added the bitty stars! I always use China Glaze Fairy Dust for my stars. The key is to swipe it on randomly, instead of covering the entire nail!

The final step was to add the individual stars. I used a pinpoint dotting tool and Polish My Life's Saint, then added some lensflares on a couple of the stars.

I totally love how these came out and honestly they took me maybe 30 minutes to do. A win all around!

Jewel-toned galaxy nails by @chalkboardnails

Check out my galaxy nails from years before:

Friday, September 18, 2015

Electric Carnival Half Moons

Electric carnival half moon nail art by @chalkboardnails

Half moon day! I love half moons and every year during the challenge, I say that I'm going to wear them more often and then I never do. So here's my look for this year -- it started out in a different place than it ended up, which is some kind of mix of "electric carnival," "60s mod," and "old wallpaper." I dig it, but had one main issue, which we'll talk about below.

Electric carnival half moon nail art by @chalkboardnails

The base of this manicure is LVX Midori, this gorgeous yellow-green shade that I adore. Like, ADORE it.


Midori has this tendency to seep through and discolor any other shades that are used on top of it (even if there's a coat of topcoat between them). It's worse with light colors, but Midori even altered the deep cobalt blue that I used in my stripes. I didn't remember this when I reached for it, and by the time I realized, it was too late. In this case it was okay, because the color palette ended up looking kinda cool and retro, but this was not originally what I had in mind.

Electric carnival half moon nail art by @chalkboardnails

The process for these is pretty easy. I put down two coats of Midori plus a coat of quick dry topcoat. Once it was set, I used half moon nail vinyls to block off the moon area, then painted freehand stripes with JINsoon Cool Blue and Deborah Lippmann Whip It. As you can see, Midori turned Cool Blue into "Cool Teal" and Whip It into coral. Oh well!

Next, I removed the vinyls, and added the arcing stripes in the open moon space. The final step, of course, is to finish with topcoat. Carnival chic!

Here are my half moon manis from the past four years of the challenge:

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Silver Honeycomb Glitter Placement

Silver honeycomb glitter placement gel nails by @chalkboardnails

Just a simple look for the "glitter" prompt today! I always do a glitter placement for this day of the challenge, and today is no different, though I didn't go all-out like I usually do. Instead, I opted for a chic reflective pressed glitter gel manicure, and then layered a bold accent nail over the top.

Silver honeycomb glitter placement gel nails by @chalkboardnails

This is a gel manicure, so I started with proper nail prep and a gel base coat. Next, I applied two coats of Presto #104 Sordino to my nails, curing between each.

After I applied the second coat and cured, I took loose glitter and used a French brush to press/scrub the glitter into the tacky layer of my color gel. In this case, I reached for Artiglio Willy, which I think worked beautifully with the grey base. (Quick sidebar: I NEED to use it for a full rockstar -- the photos on the Artiglio site are tantalizing!)

The honeycombs were created using black polish and honeycomb vinyls from Love, Angeline. I sponged the black over the vinyl to avoid pooling, and then removed it to reveal the pattern. I placed single pieces of loose silver hex glitter in the center of each hexagon.

The nails are finished with gel topcoat.

Silver honeycomb glitter placement gel nails by @chalkboardnails

In case you can't get enough glitta...

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Flower of Life Sacred Geometry Nail Art

Flower of Life sacred geometry nail art by @chalkboardnails

Today's challenge prompt is geometric. I wanted to attempt some sacred geometry, and a quick Google search revealed that I would probably have the easiest time attempting a Flower of Life design. Of course, I knew it still wasn't going to be a walk in the park, and not only was it not, but it was actively really super challenging! Getting those petals even and spaced nicely was H-A-R-D!

Flower of Life sacred geometry nail art by @chalkboardnails

I used the three creme shades from the new Deborah Lippmann Roar Collection for my color palette.

I began with a base of Deborah Lippmann She Wolf, a creamy taupe. The formula was excellent, by the way, went on smoothly and evenly and covered in two coats.

Next, I added the freehanding with Deborah Lippmann Miss Independent (purple) and Respect (red). I blended the two shades together in equal parts for the middle of the nails where they meet.

Flower of Life sacred geometry nail art by @chalkboardnails

Last year was the first year that included "geometric" as a prompt (changed from "tribal" to be more culturally sensitive). I chose a handpainted geometric gradient design similar in style to this one, actually!

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Lavender Blossoms Floral Nail Art

Delicate lavender blossoms by @chalkboardnails

Delicate print is always a challenging day in the 31DC, because it's fairly vague yet still specific at the same time. I wasn't sure what I wanted to do this year, but I recently had some training on essential oil soaks at work and one of the blends included lavender. I thought that lavender blossoms would make a great "delicate" manicure, and I'm so so beyond pleased with how these nails came out.

Delicate lavender blossoms by @chalkboardnails

These nails were really easy -- I'd say the biggest key is making sure you have a super tiny nail art brush. If you don't, you can create one by thinning down the bristles of a thicker brush with cuticle nippers.

I started with a base of Polish My Life's Muscat Martini. It's an extremely pale purple, it's almost grey looking. Then, I painted on my stems with China Glaze - Take a Hike. Definitely place your stems first, as it allows you to keep an eye out for the overall balance of your art. I mixed Take a Hike with a bit of China Glaze - Trip of a Lime Time and added some lighter leaves.

Then, I used the tip of my nail art brush to dot on oblong blossoms. I did the bulk of the buds with LVX Aster, then went back in with LVX Currant and added some more (sparingly!) for additional dimension.

Delicate lavender blossoms by @chalkboardnails

Check out my previous delicate print manicures:

Monday, September 14, 2015

Electric Daisy Floral Print Nail Art

Electric daisy nail art by @chalkboardnails

Floral print! I love a good floral and have been doing a lot of these varied-size daisies for clients lately. I decided to pop them onto a dark background with some smoky swirls of color and ended up with these electric daisies. I've never been to the Electric Daisy Carnival, but I imagine these would fit in there, too!

Electric daisy nail art by @chalkboardnails

I started by polishing my nails with two coats of Salon Perfect Oil Slick and letting it set.

Next was the colorful smoky background. I mixed a few shades of Wildflowers Art Paints with some water to thin them out, then loosely brushed them on to my nails and let them dry. The shade I chose for this look are Kisses, Bright Blue, Pollen, and Pansy.

I painted on the white daisies with Formula X White Matter, then added the centers with the same art paints that I used in the background.

Electric daisy nail art by @chalkboardnails

More floral prints for you!