Friday, March 30, 2012

Flossed Fillies

What's the most fun a person with a nail art hobby can have spending an evening with her best friend who likes wearing that nail art on her nails? Wandering around Hobby Lobby going, "What can we put on our nails?" We started in the scrapbooking section, and found a nice selection of stickers that will find their way into manicures over the course of the next few weeks. I'm also going to find out how well embossing powder holds up on a fingernail, because we bought a few glorious colors. I picked up some awesome brushes in the model kit section that I'm going to have to devote another blog post to later.

Then we saw some string, and I had an idea that turned out to be worthy of the lightbulb-over-the-head depiction if I were in a cartoon. We hit the embroidery floss aisle.

You know how when you're putting a new design to nail, it seldom lives up to the mental image you're basing it on? This is NOT one of those times. This actually came out, if anything, better than I was hoping for. Okay, I can't build up to it any more, I have to show you a picture.

Is that not amazing? I know you want to know how it was done, because that's the first question I've got from every single person who has seen a picture of this this morning. First, let me tell you there was a LOT of trial and error involved. I've never seen another nail art blogger use embroidery floss, and figuring out the best way to do this was involved trying a lot of tedious ways first. This beauty took over four hours, not including the time to pick the colour of polish we wanted to use with it. I'm fairly sure I could do it again in under two, though. Once I've tried it a few more times and made sure I've figured out the best balance between ease, speed, and pretty, I'll work up some sort of tutorial on it. But for now, here's an overview of what we finally ended up doing.

We took a heavy duty piece of plastic (a freezer ziploc bag) and first I put down two layers of Seche Vite in 10 blobby circles. Then I took the variegated embroidery floss, and cut a section of it from the darkest point in the variegation to the lightest. I cut that into five fairly equal lengths. Then, starting at the lighter end of each section, I cut five pieces a little less than an inch wide, and set them out on my table like this:

(lightest section) ----------     ---------     -----------    ----------    -----------
(next lightest)      ----------     ---------     -----------    ----------    -----------

Until I had five horizontal rows and five vertical ones set out. Each vertical row would be put onto one nail. Now, embroidery floss comes in six strands twisted loosely together. How many strands in each shade row you use would depend on the length of the nails you're putting it on. For Vicki's nails, we ended up using four strands of each color, giving her 20 strands on each nail. So I separated those out first, so each of my columns was set up with four strands of each five shades, ready to go.

Back to the plastic, I did each nail transfer sticker (the two layers of top coat we've already done) one at a time for this section. I used a top coat that wasn't quick dry for this one, and brushed a single layer onto it. Then I picked up the four strands in the lightest shade section and put it into the wet topcoat. I used an orange stick to line them up neatly next to each other, and once those were straight and untwisted and sitting nicely, I went onto the next shade. This was actually quite fun and calming once I got into the rhythm of it. I just kept going light to dark on each clear blob of polish on my plastic until I had five done, then I cut enough  floss to make another set of five and did it again! I think next time I might want to only cut two or three nails' worth of floss at a time, because I kept finding myself accidentally sweeping some of the fifth column into my lap while I was working. :)

Once the floss transfers were all dry and ready to go, I peeled them carefully up from the plastic. I cut one side straight, and laid it on Vicki's dry nail and pressed it down to see how side it would need to be for that nail, and then picked it up, cut it to size, and rounded the corners a bit. Lay a thin layer of topcoat on her nails, center it carefully and press it down. I used an orange stick to push the side edges down into the topcoat. Then for security, we took Seche Vite and just dotted in a frame all around the edge of the floss, and again used an orange stick to squish it down and make sure it was secure. Repeat ten times, check the edges to make sure no stray threads are sticking up (add a touch more topcoat if there are) and voila!

I wouldn't recommend adding topcoat over the whole thing - it darkens the color of the floss and dulls the shine by a great deal. Vicki worried about washing her hands with this manicure, but I reminded her that the floss is just cotton and getting it wet won't hurt it. A gentle wash with soap and water shouldn't damage this mani at all, though I wouldn't try scrubbing! :)


  1. Replies
    1. Thank you! I'm kind of amazed at them myself, they came out so well! :)

  2. I am in awe. That is beautiful!

  3. As the recipent of this AWESOME mani, I will say that five people at work noticed without me waving my hands and saying "lookie!" Several of the university students oohed and ahhed over them. One girl took one look and said, "Be right back." She returned a few moments later with another girl, pointed excitedly at my hands, and said, "Look at that! It's incredible!" And best of all, two girls said most enviously that they wanted one too! Ro, my bestest bud. YOU ROCK! -- Vicki

  4. These are super cool! They look great and I love your creativity.

  5. That's brilliant and so creative!

    1. Thanks! I'm having a hard time not removing my manicure every day at the moment, because I've got so many cool things I want to do, all from one shopping trip! :)