Creative musings in bright colors

Posts tagged ‘water decal’

Pinned Petals

This idea got into my head and I just had to run with it! I wanted to make a purple-white-floral overlay, and then add a rectangular stud to make it look like they were being buckled together. Ta-da!


I made nail art using the full nail water decal that you see spread across the tips of my nails here, but honestly I like the way this came out better. Don’t get me wrong, the whole decal is stunning, but there is something about this mani that keeps me coming back to it.


Also the base color here is yet another polish pickup pack shade, this is called Just One Look by Painted Polish, and it is from the August options. This is three thin coats and I adore this polish! It goes on a little thick, but the pastel purple is stunning and I love the linear holo background with the larger holo glitters!


~ Pastel purple: Painted Polish – Just One Look
~ White: LA Girl – White On
~ Decal: Born Pretty – A055


The born pretty store is having a rather impressive sale right now, so you can find this set of decals (with two others) on sale for 99 cents here! Gotta say, I love that these are opaque and yet thin, so if you are into decals I recommend them! Enjoy!

Knotted Neon Meeting

Sorry for not posting yesterday, it was Match Day for us medical school folks and I ended up going out to celebrate with my friends (ALL of whom got our #1 choice, which is basically unheard of) and forgot to post! Anyway, this mani was a bit touch-and-go, but it came out remarkably well for something that I thought was hexed!


I wanted to use these neon gradient water decals that I was sent from the Born Pretty Store…but it turns out they need a white base (can you imagine these popping over black? I was so darn excited initially). Anyway, this necessitated me going and buying a new white polish since my poor final bottle of Snow me White by Sinful Colors is so thick that it is only suitable for stamping. Ergo, I grabbed the LA Girl white and it took three darn coats! Oh Sinful Colors, please come back to my pharmacy!


Once those three coats finally dried, I added the decals. Over white, they are wonderfully pigmented and very finely designed! I love the detail and how well the colors actually blend. However, they made for boring nails…so I color-matched the pink and blue to two creme polishes that I own and did a gradient just along the edge of my nails! The colors ended up awesome, but I really REALLY should have done the gradient FIRST. It ended up a bit messy as a result and I spent more time than I had trying to make it look symmetric from nail to nail!


~ White: LA Girl – White On
~ Pink: Zoya – Kelsey
~ Blue: Zoya – Ling


Anyway, if you want to pick up some very bright water decals (and three sheets worth from things like full-nail swirls, to geometric patterns, to knots like these) head over to the Born Pretty Store. They are currently on sale for 99 cents! Not bad. Hope you enjoyed!

Harvest Floral

This is somewhat fall-colored? Oranges and burgundies? Regardless, this was very easy and ended up looking nice!


I wanted a fast mani, and nothing is faster than water decals! Except no polish, but that isn’t a mani at all :-p


I used the images from BP W15 for the flowers, over a white creme base. The orange nails were painted using Sun of a Gun by ULTA, a pretty burnt orange.


There really isn’t much else to say about this mani! I did not use the polish I am holding in the photo, but it matched the flowers and ULTA polishes are cylindrical which I find difficult to pose with.


Hope you enjoyed!


So, this polish has an interesting origin story. At my bridal shower (thrown by my sister and my mother) the party favors were nail polish! Totally a good call on their parts. Unfortunately, my sister lost the color battle so they were all shades of pink and red, but luckily won the brand battle so they got essie (and not sinful colors or wet n’ wild)! The polish I am wearing here was the one I snagged from the few leftovers, so I am wearing my own bridal shower polish!


The polish itself is called Eternal Optimist, and is a slightly greyed medium light pink. 100% work appropriate but a bit more interesting than a candy pink, at least to me! Eternal Optimist covered nicely in two coats, and was beautifully glossy and self-leveling. Basically, it had a typical formula for essie creme polishes.


I then went and added triangles with white polish, and threw on some bits and pieces of water decals I had sitting around! I always save my leftover water decal pieces, since I always have left over from full-nail designs. This ended up pretty cool, although it was a hassle trying to find the right sized triangle to match the white patch on my nails! I maybe should have measured (at least by eye) before I painted the white polish on.


The design was finished with striping tape and top coat. The striping tape was really a necessity since the water decals were not perfect fits for the white patches. Whoops!


~ Pink: Essie – Eternal Optimist
~ White: Sinful Colors – Snow me White


Hope you enjoyed! Next week is chrome polish week. Since I have so many posts lined up, I am making themed weeks! Although some of the themes are things like “short nails” and “nerdy”. I haven’t picked out an order to post them it yet!

Cherry Red Blossoms

More water decals! These were super easy, and ultimately super pretty! Yay for fast manicures 🙂


The blossoms and design are from full-nail water decals that I got from Lady Queen Beauty. The background of the design is clear, so I put them over white (I could have done a very pale pink but I wasn’t sure just by looking if the background was see-through or not). The thumb design was a tiny bit too skinny for my thumb, but I just tilted it, so you can barely tell since the flowers fade out at the edge anyway!


The water decals are thick enough to be pulled off their backing without breaking, but thin enough to lie flat. These ones are quite well made! Once they were on and cleaned with acetone, I added tiny dabs of gold polish into the center of the flowers. Initially they were clear with black dots, but small amounts of glitter make everything better 😀


I do love free-handing nail art, but these would have been too complicated to do! I’m glad water decals exist…I much prefer them to stickers (they stay on better, lie flat, and the patterns are much more detailed). Go figure!


You can pick up these cherry blossom decals from Lady Queen Beauty for $2.25. Don’t forget to use my 15% off code, BPLC15! Enjoy!

Delicate Dangles

I had my engagement photos taken the day after I painted these, and I figured that in 15 years I might not want to look back and see rainbow nails (I mean, honestly, I likely would but just in case…) so I have some pretty subtle dangly black and pink nails today!


Most of this nail art comes from some beautiful water decals from Lady Queen Beauty. The decal is DS-189, and it is an array of half moons, pointed half moons (what I have here) and curly love words. These decals are super thin, which makes them sit nicely flush with the nail…but also makes them prone to folding on themselves. I actually had one fold in half and then rip and had to trash it, so although I love how these look they are a bit hard to work with!


Regardless, I think these look nice without being overly boring! I almost went and used “love” on one of my nails as well, but that is a bit more kitchy than I was going for. Sometime later!


~ Light pink: ULTA – Freshwater Pearl
~ Light pink shimmer: Revlon – Calla Lily


The water decals are currently on sale for $1.99 at the Lady Queen Beauty shop, and if you have something elegant coming up in the future I recommend them! No one wants to hand-paint tiny lines and swirls :-D. Hope you enjoyed!

Golden Down

How do you make a fast-and-easy manicure take a long time? Add hex glitters. This came out pretty awesome (if I do say so myself, and if you like bling), but took much longer than I thought it would!


I’m fairly certain that I started with Rosebower as my base, and painted one coat of Visions of Love over the top of my nail, then 1-2 coats of All Nighter. Unfortunately, All Nighter usually takes 3+ coats on its own, so I need to layer it over a darker color. After my layers of red were dry, I trimmed some gold water decals to fit the line formed by the reds, and then added gold glequins at the divider.


In my head, this mani would take 30 minutes (mostly waiting for things to dry). I conveniently forgot how much of a headache glequins are! Picking up one at a time and then trying to clean up all the spilled gold glitter…It took closer to 1.5 hours. Whoops!


~ Light red: A England – Rosebower
~ Dark red glitter: Pure Ice – All Nighter
~ Dark red creme: OPI – Visions of Love


Still, red + gold glitter = happiness! It is one of my favorite combinations to work with. Maybe next time I’ll skip the glitter though! Hope you enjoyed 🙂

Dusk Lace

After using two nail stickers/nail wraps in a row and now these…oh wow do I love water decals. They always look perfect and are repositionable and just wonderful. This mani looks pretty awesome and was not nearly as much effort as my recent attempt at nail wraps have been!


Anyway, I got these awesome water decals from Lady Queen Beauty to review. I had been requesting them for a while and they kept being out of stock, but I am so glad I got to play with them! The decal is curvy at one end and straight at the other. It isn’t super long, but I had no trouble fitting it on my nail. I debated ignoring the curved edge (I could have fit only the fully-patterned part on my nail as well) but decided I liked this look.


I debated far more than was necessary before putting together the base gradient. I’ve been using a lot of pinks and teals and purples, but that covers most of what I own. I then remembered a bright orange-red that I seldom use because it needs a white base to be opaque (and no one has time for that) or 4+ coats. But…it would work great in a gradient because the free end of my nail would be darker anyway! The water decal was applied once the gradient was dry and top coated, and I added a rhinestone just for fun. I don’t use enough rhinestones :-p


~ Orange: Julep – Natasha
~ Red: Pure Ice – Siren
~ Dark red: OPI – Visions of Love
~ Dark purple: Station – Happy Wine-y People


Hope you enjoyed! You can pick up these awesome water decals (and many like them…let’s be honest, I am going to be getting nothing but water decals from here on out. They are 24601% better than stickers) from Lady Queen Beauty for $2.15. Don’t forget to use code BPLC15 for a 15% discount!

Ink Scroll

Turns out a name for the awesome Japanese scroll art is ‘kakejiku’ which is a perfect description for this mani! Although it looks awesome, I can claim very little effort on my part 😀 (and since the description on the Lady Queen Beauty website says these are Chinese-based designs, I opted against giving this post a Japanese title…but it was the first thing I thought of!).


All the awesome designs on this (the misty mountains and the red flowers) are water decals, from set BLE1813. As water decals go, these are basically perfect. The hard plastic top sheet is easy to remove even from small cut-apart decals, and the decals themselves have pre-defined boarders and a clear background. The decals are thin but not overly breakable, and were easy to re-position as long as they were still wet. 10 out of 10 for ease of use!


I have missed how easy it is to make beautiful art with decals. I have been so caught up in my new stamper that I’ve been neglecting my nail art supply box!


The base color here is a simple pale grey, Bare Bones by Maybelline. I thought about adding gold glitter around the mountains, but I decided against it. Sometimes simple is better!


You can pick up these (and similar) decals from Lady Queen Beauty for $2.15. Don’t forget to use my 15% off code, BPLC15! Enjoy!

Green Blizzard

Sorry for the late post, I just got back from a weekend in Boston! Unfortunately, two of my fish were dead when I got home (neither was honestly a surprise) so I had to spend even more time cleaning up the fish tank. Anyway, here is a post!


I was having some camera troubles (apparently I white-balanced sometime in the last week and didn’t notice. So all the colors are off! Oops), so there are only 3 photos today. Which is ok since this mani isn’t incredibly exciting anyway :-p


This is really just a teal-green pastel base with some green and white glitters over it. The glitter polish is a pain in the butt…it was super super thick and didn’t want to spread at all! Even with glomming it on and pushing the glitters around, it was still difficult to work with! Now I see why last time I used this I pulled out individual glitters and just placed them. Ugh.

~ Green: Zoya – Tiana
~ Glitter: Salon Perfect – Sham-Rock Your Socks Off


The decals were actually a gift from Jacqui at Craftynail a while ago…maybe two years ago now? I don’t know. She made her own water decals and sent me some! And since snowflakes are terrible to freehand, I decided to use her decals. Thanks Jacqui! It does rather look like a green-themed snowstorm at least. Hope you enjoyed and happy MLK day to anyone who has it off!

Murky Vapor

Although it was not intended when I first put this mani together, the end result was Oddly halloween appropriate! Thus, you guys get to see it this week 🙂


I was at a neuroscience conference last week (which is why I made that post about bubble tea!), and my nails had started to chip while I was there. Luckily, I came prepared! I had base coat, top coat, black polish, and one color-shifting polish just for fun. I always travel with my mini polishes rather than full size (if I can) to save space in my cosmetics bag for things like shampoo!


What this means is that you’ll see the matching mani (same colors, but striping tape) sometime next week! Today’s mani is just a multichrome base (OPI – Just Spotted the Lizard) and water decals from Lady Queen Beauty. This whole mani took 10 minutes! Water decals make for the fastest and easiest nail art while traveling 🙂


Unfortunately, my hands got really really dry while I was at the conference (apparently that is just a thing in Chicago…everything is dry!), so my cuticles look sad. I swear it isn’t my fault!


Anyway, onward and upward to more (intentional) Halloween manis for the rest of the week!

Playful Arabesques (Water Decals)

All I did for this mani was paint my nails white. Everything else is the water decal! Full-nail decals can be hit-or-miss, with many being too thick to conform to the nail shape, too thin (and thus rip), or made out of material that doesn’t dissolve with acetone and thus is impossible to remove. These decals are PERFECT.


I don’t usually use whole-nail water decals because I feel like they are cheating…and honestly most aren’t nice enough to tempt me. These ones did, and they are truly wonderful. The design is sharp and crisp, and it comes with two different (color matched) patterns, sufficient for two different manis. Both patterns in this case are beautiful.


The decals took a little longer to slide off their backing in the water than ones that don’t cover the full nail, mostly because they was more decal! The base on these is clear, so you do want to use a white (or light colored) base color.


I had no trouble positioning them on my nail, fitting them around my nails, and then removing the extra decal with acetone. 100% would use again.


If you want to get this set for yourself, head over to the Born Pretty Store. The sheet is $2.99, but you get an additional 10% off with the code LY5X31! Enjoy 🙂

Baby Doll Lace

Very simple mani today! I picked up a light pink creme from the ULTA sale, and decided it would look great with a lace design. Luckily, I still had some water decals from the Born Pretty Store left from a set they sent me to review some months ago, so here we go!


Baby Doll is a light pink creme. I was actually pretty impressed with this polish; I’ve been in the market for a nice light pink for a few months (years?) since the ones I have (yes, there are three or so of them) are thick and streaky and just a pain in the butt to work with. One of them needs 5 (!!!!) coats to be opaque. Baby Doll covered nicely in 3 thin coats, although I probably could have gotten away with two. It self-levels nicely. The brush is a bit thick for my tastes (and my poor skinny pinky) but overall this is the best light pink creme I’ve ever worked with. Win!


The water decals are from the Born Pretty Store, and came with two sizes (you can see them both on my accent nails). Once those were on, I created a black jelly polish (top coat + 2 drips of black polish) and spread that around. It didn’t mix very well! I went ahead and added dots when that was dry.



~ Pink: ULTA – Baby Doll
~ Black: Sinful Colors – Black on Black


I really need to stop trying to make my own polishes, I’m terrible at it! Oh well. This mani was fast, easy, and looks rather nice! Hope you enjoyed 😀

Wire Flowers

More decals from the Born Pretty Store! Hollow flowers in various colors and exploding flowers! I did in fact pick these ones and I love them!


These water decals were actually a dream to work with. They took on the longer side to detach from the paper backing (maybe a minute) but that doesn’t bother me much. They were thin enough to not stick up from the nail, but thick enough that it was easy to reposition them. In short, they were perfect.


What is more, I didn’t trim them to size before applying them to my nails, and they removed easily with acetone (a pet peeve of mine is water decals that don’t dissolve in acetone…I do NOT want to try and trim down my decals before I apply them! Two of these I reversed from how I thought I would orient them because I wanted the colors on opposite sides). If you want some fast and easy nail art, I strongly recommend this set!


The set comes with two sets of 10 designs, so you get to different manis out of it. The other design in this set is even COOLER, but I wanted hollow flowers. The background is clear, so you do need to use a white (or any pale color I suppose) base color for the design.


If you want to pick up these water decals for a fast yet awesome mani, head over to the Born Pretty Store! They are $2.99, and you get an additional 10% off with the code LY5X31!

Graveyard Vines

I needed something elegant and black/silver to match an outfit of mine. When trying to figure out what to do, I remembered these beautiful water decals I was sent to test out by Lady Queen, a nail art supply store that is a lot like the Born Pretty Store! So, ta-da, awesome swirly decals 🙂


Honestly, the shop at Lady Queen has a lot of the same things as the Born Pretty Store, just in slightly different patterns. So, if you can’t find a water decal or rhinestone at one, just look at the other! The prices are about the same as well.


These decals were a dream to work with. 15 seconds of soaking was sufficient to loosen then from their backing, and they placed easily without folding all over themselves or breaking apart. They are also the perfect size for my nails right now 😀


I do love using water decal designs, they make everything go faster! And these ones are suitably cool and creepy. Boyfriend approved as well 🙂


If you want to pick up these decals, head over to Lady Queen! They are on sale for $1.39, and you get 20 decals (enough for two full manis). Additionally, I have a 15% off code, BPLC15! (15 > 10, go Lady Queen! Born Pretty Store only offers 10% discounts).

Pink Seaside

I need to preface this with a caveat: I did not pick these decals. I don’t tend to do “seaside” things, I think the whole obsession with nautical designs that swept across fashion last year was ridiculous. Anyway, I was sent these to review so I went ahead and did it, and they aren’t that bad! They just aren’t my style.


The water decals here are a mixed set of nautical-themed full-nail prints. They come as two full-mani sets per package, this being the simpler of the two. The background is clear, so I decided on a pale pink shimmery base just to add something interesting.


The decals themselves aren’t bad, but they aren’t my favorite. They take about a minute to detach from the backing, but they are very thin and crumple almost immediately. This also made positioning difficult, and I found that I trapped water or air bubbles under the decal with great frequency.


These were fast to work with, but a bit harder to get down right than some others I’ve worked with. However, if you like nautical things, they make a statement…and the straight line one is pretty awesome! That would take 15 minutes minimum with striping tape!


So, not my favorite pattern, but they work alright. If you want to pick them up, you can find these decals at the Born Pretty Store for $2.99. Use my 10% discount code LY5X31 for extra savings!

Coral Floral Lace

Apparently I am on a lace kick…the last THREE manis I have done (this and the next two Mentality polishes I get to show you guys) are all lacy! But this was the first and is the most straightforward.


I started with a base of Startle, another neon holo by Mentality. Startle is the bight orange of the collection, and went on nicely in two coats. Easy to control (and easy to remove), I really rather like this polish! It’s sort of a nudeish orange.


Startle also looks fantastic in direct light 🙂


Then I went to add the lace decals from the Born Pretty Store…and I am so dumb sometimes. When I first put on the water decals, I forgot to take off the plastic top layer! So the decals over the free edge of my nails are thick and didn’t want to stay on. I wised up half way through (because I knew SOMETHING was wrong…born pretty store decals are usually a dream to work with) and everything went much better after that! I added some black dots at the border to make it harder to see my mistake :-p



Regardless, the decals (once I got my head on straight) were very easy to apply if a bit thin, and looked awesomely lacy! I know what I want to do with them next 🙂


If you want to pick up Startle, you can find her for $6.75 at the Mentality shop. The lace decals are currently on sale for $0.99! If you like them don’t forget to use my 10% off code, LY5X31. Enjoy!

Golden Beads

So, this is not the Christmas mani I planned on showing today, but at least its color-appropriate! Until the sun cooperates (this afternoon!) I can’t take great photos of the REAL holiday manicure!


This was very simple: a golden-green base (Wallis by Butter LONDON), golden water decals from the Born Pretty Store (can be found here) and two sizes of golden studs also from the Born Pretty Store (can be found here).


Oddly, although the water decal pattern (which was, as usual, a pleasure to work with this time…it was only the one from Monday that didn’t work!) showed up clearly in normal light, it was hard to take a photo and have it not disappear into the glittery golden-ness of Wallis (which for some reason comes off a lot more green in these photos)! I still enjoyed wearing this mani. Even if the studs did fall off fast 😀


Hope you enjoyed! And if you want to buy yourself something fun from the Born Pretty Store, don’t forget to use my 10% off code LY5X31!


Sorry about the late post…I am home for winter break and I forgot that today was not a weekend! But, better late than never 🙂 This was intended to be a fast-and-dirty manicure (as I try to do whenever I use a water decal) but it didn’t quite pan out as planned! Although it ended up ok, this mani took a lot more wheedling than I expected. I also figured it would be a half-moon mani, but it real looks more like the end of a fancy christmas tree ornament!


The first problem arose with the colors. Neither my red (Zoya – Blaze) nor green (Zoya – Ivanka) is completely opaque in 2 coats, so I had to improvise. I ended up with a red base and then green over it (once I put down the decal) but I had to go over the green 2-3 times, meaning my cuticle ended up quite a bit thicker than the rest of my nail!


Then the decal. This was sent to me for review from the Born Pretty Store…and I have to say I am disappointed. The pack came with two designs, this one and a double-ring half moon in gold. one third of the 20 decals (10 of each, for both hands) was rubbed off so the gold was barely visible. Normally decals take about 30 seconds in the water to move off easily…these took almost two minutes and I still had to more peel than roll them off easily. That being said, they looked lovely on the nail. It was a bit hard to make them stay where I put them (even once they dried down a bit) so I had to top coat them before I added the green color. All in all, not the best experience.


By the end, I had 2 thickish coats of red, top coat, decal then more top coat, 2-3 coats of green and MORE top coat. Very thick nails. However, it did mean my nails didn’t break while I wore this mani! I do think this is the first Born Pretty Store decal that I can’t strongly recommend, mostly because this decal is not for beginners! Interestingly enough, they appear to have taken the decal off their website. So, if you want a different decal, the Born Pretty Store is the place to go!


It’s the week of Thanksgiving! What this really means is that I am only working 1.5 days this week…before my parents meet the entire extended family of my fiancé for the first time. Oy! DAMAGE CONTROL. Anyway. I don’t (yet) have special Thanksgiving nails lined up, but I’ll see what I can get done tomorrow! For today I present the wrong type of bird, a peacock rather than a turkey!


This peacock was enabled by my sister, who gave me some water decals a year ago…that I still hadn’t tried! Unfortunately, these are a bit thick (so they don’t lie completely flat on the nail as they should) but they are still stunning. It is a black peacock on a clear background.


I made a teal + glitter base, added the decal, added top coat (to make the decal stay…they liked to slide around) and then went in with a fine detail brush to add some gold to the feathers. Another round of top coat, and voila!


~ Teal: Zoya – Wednesday
~ Glitter: ORLY – Sparkling Garbage
~ Gold: Sally Hansen – Liquid Gold


The decals lasted about 2 days before they started lifting off, a side-effect of the thicker material. But they still looked awesome while they worked!

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