Sunday, March 1, 2015

Stampy McStamperson

finally started poking at nail stamping and haven't posted my last two manicures so I figured I should let you know what I've been up to.

I got a Konad Coraline type B stamping set on a whim a few years ago along with a couple of random Konad plates (M28 and M60) and later received the Pueen 2013 plate set for a holiday gift. They have been very safely tucked away in a little decorative box and shoved in the back of my nail polish tools ever since.

I follow some AMAZING artists on FB and Instagram so I've been researching stamping on and off for a while, but have been too chicken to try until this past Valentine's day when I did the manicure just below. I wasn't terribly unhappy with the final result but it was immediately apparent that I was going to need a few more tools to get the effects I wanted. 

Well, not to mention of course practice. A LOT of practice.

Valentine's mani in a berry coloured creme with sheer stamped hearts on the ring finger and rose gold glitter on the pinky. 

I kind of wish I had left off the rose gold as it was so much higher visual impact than the stamping. I know this pic isn't the greatest but it was VERY hard to get a shot where glare did not wash out the hearts.

The sheer, faintly holo pink is very pretty, but wasn't really the effect I was looking for. I assumed that since it was a Konad polish it would be more opaque, but that's what I get for assuming. I lined this finger up pretty well but the left was a few degrees off.

This was also the absolute limit of nail length I could stamp with those Pueen plates, as I confirmed doing my next mani. The 2013 Pueen plates have a concave curve-in at the bottom of each design which frankly makes NO sense since it cuts a good couple of millimeters off of the usable length of the designs. It does look like this has been fixed with later plates but that doesn't help me much with the ones I already have.

My next attempt at stamping was a crocodile mani inspired by a really deep leathery green Sally Hansen Insta Dri polish I had just picked up.

Deep forest green creme mani with croc skin stamping over a pale green with a glassfleck finish.

This design doesn't look half bad from normal viewing distance but up close it is NOT the effect I was going for. The dark green reads more black than I had hoped and it turns out that at that scale a croc skin pattern just looks... kind of messy.  I feel like I should have put some kind of lizard stamp on another nail as a "this is what you are looking at" key.

Again I expected the green to stamp more opaque. I did try out the polish on paper a few times both for colour and to make sure my stamper was primed properly, and it looked okay there but the glassfleck just overpowered the dark green. The level of contrast here just did not do anything justice. Even though the stamping is the same polish as the rest of my hand it looks completely different and doesn't look tied together at all. I think I would try this again with closer coloured base under the stamping, or possibly even with shiny stamping over a matte base.  Also the Insta Dri nail polish dried really fast all right, but I don't think that was so helpful in this particular design.

The pattern was definitely too short for my nails. It barely covered my ring and middle fingers and would not have covered my thumb. Because it was kind of abstract I was able to restamp in a couple of places to fill holes, but obviously this would not work with a more regular design.

So what now?
This is going to be a limited technique for me until I get a few more tools. Luckily(?) I'm tired of winter and am engaging in lots of retail therapy so a few of those tools are already on their way. In the last two weeks I bought three stampers and six plates. All of the plates were either larger scale designs or all over etched plates.

The main issue I have is due to the shape of my nails. I have a wicked double convex curve to my nails and for a firm stamper like the Konad one to work I have to either squish it so hard I will distort the design (also that's really uncomfortable), or roll the stamper around in a spiral pattern (yeah, that's not going to get messed up) to cover top to bottom and edge to edge.
I love the way my talons look most of the time, but this makes nail art SUCH a pain in the butt!
I have similar problems with all stencils, tapes, wraps, and charms... pretty much any thing which requires a flat surface of any sort to work is a no-go for me. Also really annoying for touch screens because when my nails get long as I have to use odd parts of my finger.

Based on the issues I had with the firm Konad stamper I decided I wanted a supersoft XL stamper. I'm also really interested in trying the reverse stamping (kind of DIY wrap) technique I first saw via this video from Instagram user Sveta_sanders so I want a really large stamping surface.

For a really fantastic video of this process I highly recommend this video from blogger / youtuber / instagrammer Cassis Peach.

The first purchase was a large round silicone Creative Shop stamper from Beautrometry. Since this is currently back ordered pending a restock shipment from the Ukraine I also ordered from AU retailer Messy Mansion and got two XL rectangular stampers on the squishy side (one purple, one white) and three plates  (MessyMansion22, MessyMansion44 and Leadlight Lacquer05). According to the tracking site these are currently in Georgia so I should have them within a few days. I like that all of those stampers have deep curves to them so I think it will be easier to get reverse stamps to sit well on my nails.

A couple of days after that I saw a Facebook post from Lacquer or Leave Her on MoYou London's duochrome stamping polishes and found out that they have a David Bowie themed stamping plate (Rockstar09), so I finally bit the bullet and bought it along with two more plates (Festive15 and Fashionista11).

Yeah, like I wasn't going to buy this.
I had wanted to buy some of their duochrome stamping polishes but fiscal responsibility finally prevailed. Polish texture obviously makes a difference so I do want to pick up some stamping specific polishes. Cassis Peach apparently swears by a Mexican stamping polish called Mundo de Unas so that's going to be the next on the shopping list. It's very reasonably priced, but I've declared wallet truce until all of the stuff above (and a polish order form Lucky13 Lacquor) comes in.

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