This is my most complex manicure yet – and my favourite! :)
(I apologise for the scar on my ring finger – who knew an admin job could be so lethal? Almost every day I walk out with battle scars. But that’s a whole different story…)
I recently discovered the wonders of an online store called Dollar Nail Art. As you can guess from the name, everything on the site is $1. The downside: you must purchase a minimum of $25 – PLUS postage and handling. A rather expensive endeavour if you are not dedicated, but certainly worthwhile in my eyes.
On this site was a category I’d never heard of: foils. When you think of the word ‘foil’, you immediately think of alfoil, or the process of hair-dying. This is ‘foil’ on a whole new playing field. Foils are lengths of a paper-like material with printed designs, ranging from solid colour, to floral, to metallic, to this: Elven Gold.
Foils come in tiny containers, as shown above. The rolls at Dollar Nail Art are 5 ft long – that’s a lot of nails. These foils can be purchased at other places, like eBay, but I doubt you’ll find them cheaper. The range is phenomenal. I was in nail art heaven!
For this look, start with your base coat. I’m still using Sally Hansen’s Miracle Cure to level out my flaking tips. Apply a green colour to your entire nail. I used Inglot’s 319, as seen above. I wanted to bring out the green in the foil, but also a little of the gold. Also, you want to use a colour that will blend with the colours in the foil, in case the foil doesn’t transfer properly, and misses spots.
Okay, not ‘in case’ – WHEN the foil doesn’t transfer. This stuff can be pretty tricky…
This colour will be your tips, so make sure it’s one you want visible. In hindsight, I could have even applied a semi-transparent gold over the top, to give my tips more of a golden shine. Give it a go, if you care to.
Next, we come to the foil (sorry, no pics!). This stuff requires patience (a trait I most definitely lack). Cut narrow strips from the roll, wide enough to cover your finger, plus a mill or two. Using foil adhesive (also purchased from Dollar Nail Art, or on eBay), apply a thin layer of glue onto the part of your nail where you want the foil; in this case, all but the tips of your nails. You can start with a line defining your tips, and then fill in the rest; you can even place a manicure curved tape along the tip to give you your line. Whatever works for you. I used the manicure curved tape – it didn’t work as well as I’d hoped.
But that could just be the operator, not the product.
You want a thin, even coat. It will apply milky – don’t panic! You’ll know it’s dry when it goes completely clear. Even when it’s clear, I would recommend waiting another minute, just to make sure it’s fully good to go. DON’T TOUCH THE ADHESIVE. You may like to poke and prod things, but RESTRAIN YOURSELF. Anything that touches the surface of that glue will wreck the smooth surface of the foil when you apply it.
Example: if you lightly dab a finger on the adhesive, just to check its texture, your fingerprint will be visible in the foil. An interesting abstract look, perhaps, but totally not the aim here.
Once your adhesive is clear, lightly place one of your foil cuttings onto your nail, pretty side up. It should immediately stick to the adhesive. You want to rub this foil onto your nail, pressing quite firmly all over. You are coaxing the foil to stick to the adhesive, and pull away from the clear backing. Get right into your cuticles, the sides of your nails. You need to rub this thing into tomorrow. If you’ve done it right, the backing will start to peel away as you rub.
When you’re sure the foil has adhered, gently pull away the backing and remaining foil. You should have Elven Gold where you applied the glue. It will probably go over your cuticle in places – this can be fixed with some remover. I had the misfortune of having an inconsistent line towards the top. If this happens, you can apply some more glue in those spots, and do the foiling again. I also ran a cotton tip with remover over the tip side of the line to ensure a straighter edge. This meant I had to reapply the polish to the tip of my nails.
Apply a NON-quick dry top coat all over your nail. If you use a harsh or quick-dry polish, the foil will crinkle and do all manner of unpleasant things. And if you don’t do this step at all, your foil will just rub or scratch away. You want to seal it in.
Apply a small line of top coat along the dividing line. You can place anything from rhinestones to sequins along this line to further divide the two textures. I stuck on tiny beads. You can see them in their small bottles back up the top. They are tiny and, if you’re not prepared, can drive you crazy!
Dab the pointy end of an orange stick (or toothpick) into the top coat you just applied to get it sticky. One by one, touch a coloured bead to get it onto the end of the orange stick, and place it on your nail to form a lovely narrow line. I used gold, light green and dark green beads, alternating randomly as I went. If a bead isn’t exactly where you’d like it, just nudge it with the stick.
I could have started my lines lower on the nails – I put mine too high, making my nails and their tips look very short.
I stopped a bead or two short from the edges; from straight on, it looked odd having beads all the way around. If you don’t get my meaning, by all means, try it. You’ll see how silly it looks. If you want to go on blind faith, just leave off a bead or two at the ends of your line :)
Once your beads are applied, brush on a top coat. You can revert back to your normal polish now.
Just be wary: as you can see in the below pic, I put on so much top coat, in such thick, goopy layers (I was afraid the beads would fall off, or I’d knock them easily) that the colour ran. You can see the green on my thumb tip, and you can also see that some of those beads have lost their bright colour. Just build it up, thin layer by thin layer, and they’ll be right as rain.
It also would probably dry ten times faster… As you can see, some of my lines were knocked out of formation in my sleep, because the polish hadn’t fully dried.
And there is your Elven Gold! :)
I have to say, the pics with the flash on, the foil looks more like camouflage! I can assure you, this stuff looks far more awesome in real life.
People kept asking if the beads came on a string, or if they were pre-done decals you just stick on. No, my friends – I stuck them on INDIVIDUALLY. Yes, I sat there and put those miniscule things on my nails, one by one. It sounds traumatic, I know, but it actually wasn’t that bad.