Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Japanese Geisha Design - Water Decals and Paper Print Transfer with Alcohol.

Birthday double blog whammy yay! Second post of the day is my latest design which I did a couple of days ago, a Geisha inspired Japanese theme.

 I love Japan, I have been there and travelled in several different cities all over the southern region, and it's one of my favourite places in the world (which for a girl as well travelled as I am is a pretty big claim!) everything there is soooo damned beautiful. The thing that I love most about the Japanese is that they really know how to take care of what they have and show it in it's best condition. That's something I have come to appreciate a lot, after living for many years in a place like Rome where they are surrounded by the most beautiful landscape, and mystical historical buildings, but no-one gives a crap. Rome is a filthy place covered in Graffiti and everything is left to fall to bits. It makes me want to slap the people in charge. But not Japan, they are sooo proud and take care of everything they hold dear, they are all about the beauty, so how I can I not love them and be inspired by them?

I have been keen to do this design for a while, and am always reminded to do so when I see the lovely blossom themed mani's circulating around places like instagram and facebook etc. I also had a Japanese newspaper lying around the house and wanted to try a technique I have seen on youtube somewhere. So here is the final mani.

The green base colour is $2 Mud brand (found in Woolworths supermarket) ''Meet Minty'', 2 coats. On my thumb I used my by now always go to white, Sinful Colours ''Snow Me White'' (It's a super pigmented one coater, so it's just not necessary to need any other white polish when you find a decent one coater!).

 Once I had painted the green base, I then attempted to use my Japanese newspaper to copy the technique I saw on youtube once (forever ago so don't ask me which!) to get Japanese calligraphy patterns on the nail (click the image to see it larger if you can't make them out well). Basically you take the piece of newspaper with the print that you would like on your nail and soak it in alcohol, then apply the print face down on the nail and hold it there for a few seconds until the newspaper print transfers to your nails. Now I have seen girls use all sorts, just plain ethenol, I saw one girl that even used vodka, but all I had laying around was antiseptic rubbing alcohol so I just went with that! It was a disaster though, I don't know what kind of ink they used in that Japanese newspaper, but it wasn't transfering to anything, it didn't even bleed slightly and was stuck fast. But I had the idea in my head and I was determined to follow through, so I got the designer husband to knock me up some Japanese print small enough to fit on my nails on one of his design programmes, and printed it onto plain white A4 paper with an inkjet printer. SUCCESS! 

It took me a minute to figure it out but it worked well eventually. In the end the trick was to soak the piece of paper (which I cut into just larger than nail size pieces) in my rubbing alcohol, and then press it down onto the nail as hard as I could. I had to press really hard, simply rubbing the back with a cotton tip didn't do anything, and figuring out how long to press down was quite tricky, if I lifted the image too soon it wouldn't transfer at all, or maybe it was transfered but only very faintly, so if I tried to stick it back down to hold it for longer I would never get the image in the exact same place so when it was done it looked blurred. If I held the paper down too long then it would dry onto my nail and the paper would tear off onto the nail and I couldn't get it off without ruining the base. GAH! getting it right was a bit of a nightmare. In the end I had to hold it down until the paper was almost completely dry, but not quite, it stll had to be a tiny bit damp so the paper wouldn't stick to the nail aswell as the print, but in the end it was totally worth it and I had amazing Japanese calligraphy on my green base.

After that exhasuting and frustrating process, I then used my dotting tool to paint black branches, and blossom petals in a light and a dark pink polish (no namers that came from a gift set) until I was happy with the design. I topcoated everything with my favourite Revlon Extra Life, and moved onto the thumb detail.

On the thumb I used a water decal, (you can find more information about those in my previous post with Ferrari Sportscar nails from a couple of days ago). I was really pleased to find that the water decals also work well for a full nail cover, I was concerned about wrinkles like in my last mani, but on the full nail they want on super smooth, I think there was only one small crease near the cuticle somehwere, but you can't even see it! I found the image of the Geisha in Google.

 (I believe it's actually one of the publicity images from the film ''Memoirs of a Geisha'' which I love! Have both the book and the film, and the film is one of those few that really does the book real justice so you should totally see it!) I played around with the image in Photoshop for a while before I printed it on my decal paper, and when it was applied to the nail I added some colour to the blossoms hanging from her hair with my dotting tool. TA - DA! Beautiful Japanese Geisha nails!

So I hope you enjoyed my birthday double blog post feature, thats's enough for me for today though, I have to go and contact my facebook giveaway winner, and then enjoy my favourite Brazilian meal cooked by the lovely hubby, followed by cream filled cake with sparklers YAAAAY! (He's actually just hoping that the sparklers will distract me from that impending feeling of being an old woman! urghh, lets not think about how old I am, just about polishes and cake!)

See you tomorrow!! X

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  1. These are stunning! I need to grow my nails a little longer and then I'm going to try some of these :)

    Sara - Pretty In Pink

  2. This looks amazing. I'm tempted to have a go at painting a simplified version of the Geisha. Love the way you have combined it with the cherry blossom and Japanese print.


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