1 July 2013

Crafty Zig Zags - Making Nail Decals Part 1

Today is the first in a series of upcoming posts about how to make your own nail decals. So what exactly are decals?  Basically they are images you stick on your nail that are made out of nail polish or in some cases special paper, called decal paper. For today's tutorial we are going to have a go at making zigzag polish decals with pinking shears to create this modern and very popular nail art look.

To create this look you need to prepare the polish beforehand to allow it to dry. If the polish isn't completely dry this technique will not work so realistically give your polish at least 6 hours dry time. I left mine overnight. So here's what you do. Cut strips of baking paper that are approx 3 cm wide. This size fits through the pinking shears perfectly and will create zig zags that are wide enough to cover even your thumb nails. 

I chose to paint squares of a range of polishes because I had no idea which polish would work the best so I  wanted to try a few different ones. There are cremes, liquid sands, glitters, jellies and indie polishes in the mix. You need to paint two coats of polish on the baking paper allowing the first coat to dry before applying the 2nd. Leave overnight. 

The next day I used these pinking shears to cut the decals. The plastic craft version of these scissors did not work for me, they weren't sharp enough. I got these from Spotlight for around $20. I cut my decals with the baking paper still attached to the polish however you can also peel the polish off the paper and cut it on its own. A good trick to help you line up the shears is to work with a lamp in front of you. Hold up the paper with the polish on it and the light with shine through creating a guide shadow so you can line up the shears and control the thickness of your decal. It took me many oddly shaped diagonal decal failures before I figured this out!

From the above sized sqaures I ended up with 6 zigzag decals but not all of them were usable as you may end up with a few that are too thick or too thin. So if you are set on a colour I would paint at least double the width to ensure you have enough.  The colours I used in this mani are:

  • OPI Skull and Glossbones (grey)
  • Essie Where's My chauffeur (aqua)
  • Picture Polish Heavy Metal (glitter)

To apply the decals to your nail peel off the paper if it isn't already. For best results ensure your base colour is completely dry or apply a fast drying topcoat before applying the decals. I used base coat to stick my decals on and because I had top coated my nails it was easy to move the decal and make adjustments to straighten them without damaging my base colour. Gently press down on the decals to stick it to your nails, especially at the sides. Use your fingernail from your other hand to press into the decals on the side of your nail to cut them to the correct width. Apply topcoat to seal down the decals. I used 2 coats to really flatten mine.

I cut up a whole heap of colours and left most with the paper on to use another time. Once I figured out how to line the scissors up I was on a roll! I hope you guys give this technique a try, its heaps of fun and looks really great. Stay tuned for part 2 of making nail decals.....

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