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Nails by Asami: March 2010

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! I’m here to share with you what I consider to be the perfect St. Patrick’s Day nail polish, embellished with some Konad stamping. Also included in this post is a step-by-step tutorial for creating 3D acrylic nail art clovers.

Pictured is two coats of China Glaze’s “Four Leaf Clover” from their “Up & Away” spring collection. I used Konad stamping plate M22 for the clovers. “Four Leaf Clover” is a fiercely vibrant kelly green creme. It is absolutely unique to my collection and it is the brightest green I own. Like the name suggests, “Four Leaf Clover” makes for an ideal St. Patrick’s Day polish.

I actually did my Konad stamping in white, but because “Four Leaf Cover” is such an intensely bright polish, a tint shows through my thin stamping making my clovers appear a light green color. If you would like to achieve this effect with a white stamping polish, just use a neon or strongly pigmented polish as your base color and seal with a clear topcoat. The color tint effect won’t appear until you add your topcoat.

China Glaze’s “Four Leaf Clover” is one of the most misrepresented nail polishes on the internet. Feel free to Google image search the polish name to get an idea of what I mean. Pictured above is an example of what I most frequently see online. When I first saw swatches on nail blogs, I put “Four Leaf Clover” out of my mind because I already own several teals. In reality “Four Leaf Clover” isn’t a teal at all! I was very surprised to see how green it actually is when I first held a bottle in person.

Pictured is two coats of “Four Leaf Clover” before I added any Konad stamping or topcoat, just to give you an unembellished view of the shade.

If you would prefer something more difficult than Konad stamping, you can try your hand at 3D acrylic nail art. Pictured above are all the supplies you will need to get started:

– Acrylic powder. I use EzFlow acrylic powder only because I always get good results with the brand. It can be very difficult to find colored acrylic powder in the U.S. and EzFlow is the only company I know of that sells an abundance of colors. I love their kits because you get many different colors in a box, plus each box comes with a bottle of acrylic monomer. (Pictured is EzFlow’s Boogie Nights Carnival collection which contains 15 different bright colors, most of which contain a bit of glitter for extra sparkle. I will be using “Fat Tuesday” in today’s tutorial, but I can’t wait to show you some of the other great colors in this kit!)

– Acrylic monomer. This is the liquid you will need in order to turn your acrylic powder into something you can shape. The bottle pictured came inside my Boogie Nights Carnival kit.

– A paintbrush. I use a Kolinsky sable size 6 rounded paintbrush for all my 3D acrylic nail art. I recommend Michael’s Craft Store for purchasing paintbrushes. They are much cheaper than Aaron’s Brothers or other art stores, and they have a wonderful selection.

– A small dish to hold your acrylic monomer liquid. You will need this to pour out a bit of acrylic monomer each time you will create 3D acrylic nail art.

– Paper towel or a napkin. You will need to dab off excess liquid, so make sure you have some paper towel on hand.

– A window, because you will need to sit next to it. Open the window all the way before you begin because it is not good for you to breathe in the fumes of acrylic monomer without proper ventilation.

3D acrylic nail art is very popular in Japan, and once you master the basics of picking up a 3D acrylic powder “ball” you will be able to create any shapes you like, such as flowers, hearts or little bows.

Pour out a bit of acrylic liquid monomer. You may be tempted to just pour the bottle like you would pour out a soda, but this will lead to some liquid dribbling down the side of the bottle and because acrylic monomer smells strongly, you want to avoid spilling any. Touch the neck of your bottle to your brush like pictured above so the liquid can travel down your paintbrush and straight into your dish.

Only pour out what you will use because once you start using it in conjunction with acrylic powder, you cannot add your extra liquid back into the bottle. You can always pour out more liquid if you need it, so it is better to set out less than you think you will use.

Fully wet your paintbrush in your monomer when you are ready to begin. As you can see, I only poured out a little bit of liquid. This will be plenty for me to create one large clover.

Dab off a bit of excess liquid. If you don’t, then when you dip into your powder your acrylic “ball” will be too wet and you won’t be able to shape it. Your brush should be wet, but not dripping.

Gently wiggle the very tip of your brush in your colored acrylic powder. Pictured is “Fat Tuesday” from the Boogie Nights Carnival collection. This color has a bit of glitter in it so our clover will be sparkly.

After you pick up your acrylic powder “ball” you must wait just a moment. When the ball turns shiny like pictured, then you can place it wherever you would like.

By the way, you are not limited to decorating only nails with 3D acrylic. You can also decorate cell phones, lighters, pocket mirrors, pencil cases and many other things. 3D acrylic is very durable.

This is what a 3D acrylic ball should look like. Practice making many of these on a piece of paper until you master the right balance of liquid and powder. Once you can make this, you will be able to create anything you like.

Here you can see what I mean by “the right balance of liquid and powder.” If your brush is too wet your powder ball will melt before you can shape it. If it is too dry it will become rock hard before you get a chance to form it into something. If they are correct, they will look just like those “candy buttons” that come on long sheets of paper.

When you get the hang of making this basic shape, touch one onto your nail. After I place this, I wait just a moment before I begin shaping it. The only way for you to master the timing is to practice.

The polish pictured above is three coats of China Glaze’s “Cowardly Lyin'” from the beautiful and recently re-released Wizard of Ooh Ahz collection.

Gently pat your 3D acrylic “ball” to smoosh it down and begin giving it some form.

Then use the tip of your brush to poke in a corner.

This is the first petal of our St. Patrick’s Day clover. Now rinse out your brush in your acrylic monomer.

Place another acrylic ball next to your first petal and repeat.

Don’t they almost look like two hearts?

Make a third clover petal using the same steps.

Now we will make our clover’s tail. Place a smaller 3D acrylic powder ball near the base of your petals.

Poke the sides to shape it into a line.

Nudge the other side, and go back and forth until it is as thin as you would like.

Do you like how it turned out? Now that you’re done, don’t forget to wash out your paintbrush with a bit of dish-soap and water.

If you would like your clover to be shiny, you can seal in everything with topcoat like I have above. This will also make your clover stay on for an extra day or so.

When you would like to remove your clover, soak a cotton ball in a nail polish remover that contains acetone and place it onto your 3D acrylic nail art. Wrap a small piece of aluminum foil around the cotton ball to keep in against your nail and leave it there for a few minutes. That will soften your nail art so you are able to gently peel it off.

Never tear off 3D acrylic nail art without softening it first using the steps above. It is placed on your nail very securely and tearing it off may also remove the topmost layers of your nail plate.

If you wear the design for several days, there is a chance it might pop off on it’s own from everyday handwashing and showering. This is okay and it won’t damage your natural nails.

I’d like to thank American International Industries, the manufacturer of China Glaze and EzFlow for supplying me with “Four Leaf Clover” and “Cowardly Lyin'” as well as the Boogie Nights Carnival kit which contained the acrylic powder and liquid momoner shown in this tutorial. These designs would not have been possible without these wonderful gifts and I am incredibly grateful to be able to share new things with my readers because of their kindness and generosity.

As previously stated, I will never claim to like something unless I truly do and I am not paid to promote any products. Anyone who is acquainted with me knows that China Glaze polishes take up a huge part of my personal collection and I have been recommending the brand long before I received these complementary items. As far as EzFlow goes, I’m being completely honest when I say it is the only acrylic powder I use. Their Pastel Flower collection was used to create the 3D Acrylic Candy Hearts and 3D White Acrylic Flower in my Valentine’s Day Mix & Match designs, and that kit I purchased myself. 🙂

Feel free to ask my any questions you may have; I am a real person, not a team and I recommend only products that I actually use myself.

Another swatch photo of “Four Leaf Clover” to close with.

What polish will you be wearing for St. Patrick’s Day?

Asami

Asami

My name is Asami, and I’ve been an experienced Nail Technician for over 20 years. All started back in college as a simple hobby, while it has become a lifestyle. I worked in various nail salons while I got many degrees and certifications which helped me gain more and more experience. During my career I learnt from the very best people in the industry.

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