Check after the jump to see what all went into the making of this sakura blossom design. I am pretty proud of how it turned out and hope you enjoy it too! I will include some pics of my process at the end of the post, so check if out if you're curious!
For the swatch part, I used a pale mint creme called Zombie Unicorn, and it's holographic! This was one of my first purchases from NEP and I've used it in a floral gradient back in July (post here). This is going to be picture heavy!
Now that I've added more polishes to my collection, I wanted to revisit this one with a different gradient in mind than what I've done before.
One of my favorite things about NEP is that the creme polishes get opaque pretty quickly, I used two coats here. If there's art to come later, putting 3-4 coats of something is pretty time consuming!
All that holo <33
Now onto the second step - gradient! Winter Solstice is also made by NEP, it was a gift with purchase during Small Business Saturday sale, so unfortunately it's not available unless you get lucky and someone is destashing theirs.
In the bottle Winter Solstice looks much darker, almost black. But during application you can tell it's like a navy color, full of holo of course, and a few flakies hiding in there!
I was worried the gradient wouldn't look smooth with just these two colors, and how different they are, but I think the blending went well, they combined to make a transitional blue.
I'm figuring out that my lightbox is taking away the glare, which I like, but the polish dulls and looks like I have a matte/silk effect going on, which I don't :(
With some direct lamp light the colors and holo come out to play!! I was really pleased at this stage and started to get concerned if I'll ruin it by attempting the sakura design.
Not too bad, right? The pink pops great against the navy, and the brown against the mint.
I even managed to get some macros, even if they highlight the faults I noticed in the end product - bubbles in top coat and random air pockets x_x
Excess or incomplete stamping...oh well, the overall look makes me satisfied, even if the minor details aren't perfect!
And now onto some behind the scenes working of how this all came together :)
Any messy art requires some preventative protective measures, and I am still using the liquid latex stuff from BPS (item #22612). I'll be honest, after I had great luck with it the first time, it was a complete mess the second time - it wouldn't peel off in one piece and seemed to just flake off...which made removal twice as long! I gave it another try and used a thick layer all around and voila! it was back to working well again. So that's probably the trick - lay it on thick! I'm putting quite a fill line in my bottle and started getting concerned about getting a backup bottle, this stuff is useful!
The branches look a bit funny here, but they'll straighten out by the time I'm done with them! I didn't want to risk messing up the gradient with attempting to place them straight on from the stamper, so I made decals out of them - that way I can wield the tweezers and control my placement. Branches are from plate QA21. I got this plate so long ago I don't even remember where...Aliexpress or Ebay, most likely. BPS does carry the QA line of plates, but this specific one isn't listed. I did, however, use the brown stamping polish that I got recently from BPS, it's just called #15 Brown (item #22335) I've used a drugstore brown in my collection for stamping, and it did the job, but stamping polish is stamping polish, it's way better in terms of opacity, and this one did not disappoint. It did dry a bit fast, but it wasn't a big deal since I was making decals.
The flowers look funny as well - that's because they're also stuck on there haphazardly, lol. Now you see how I really do this stuff! I stamped Mdu 55 Orchid onto a dry clear coat on my silicone mat, and after it dried, I cut apart all the individual flowers. The sakura flowers are from BPS plate BP-20 (item #17265).
Because I made my decals yesterday, they were pretty dry (if I were to use them the same day they'd still be tacky and adhere easily). So I had to add something sticky to my nail, and I dabbed on some Orly Bonder to help out,and then just stuck the flowers on randomly. After applying the topcoat (I use Seche Vite most of the time) all the layers of decals kind of melt into the topcoat and look more or less seamless. And that's my process! Was this helpful at all? It was definitely a lot more pictures than usual, but it's the weekend and I had time to run back and forth across the house, trying to catch our rare sunshine, before slinking off to poke the lightbox.
I have more NEPs I hope to use soon, so come back and visit if you've enjoyed Zombie Unicorn!