Friday, 12 July 2013

An alternative to nail stamping?

I love nail stamping and I have a great selection of stamping plates. It's fun, simple (most of the time!) and really decorative but not without it's drawbacks!

It can be quite cheap until you realise you need all the millions of collections of plates available and then discover that you only really like half the designs in the collection you bought, the stampers are cheap too, but another expense is buying so many polishes to figure out which work as not all of them are opaque enough end transfer well. For me it is a  constant challenge finding colours bold enough to achieve what I want and I have read stories from girls who even with the best polihes and stamps can't seem to get it to work at all (a bit like me with the water marbling!).

I bought a gorgeous sparkly green polish in my birthday haul and wanted to do some pretty purple stamping over it, but I don't have a purple polish that works well for stamping and I didn't have the patience to wait until I found one, and then I found some fine tipped coloured permanent markers at Big W that gave me an idea.

I decided to make some DIY transfers using the usual freezer bag with a layer of clear top coat, and then with my coloured markers I traced a printed pattern onto the layer of clear nail varnish.

These are the coloured markers I bought, and are Bic brand ''mark it'' pens, they come in a pack of 5, and there is also a second pack available with pastel colours. These are fine tipped and the colours even have fun names just like nail polish, such as ''playful purple'', ''Key Lime'' and ''Fandango Pink''.

I chose a fish scale pattern and printed it on normal paper in 3 different sizes so I could choose which fitted best on my nail without having to reprint if it was too big or small. I painted a layer of top coat onto the freezer bag, and when it was dry I placed it over the pattern and traced it with the pen.

The top coat has to be completely dry before you can draw on it, otherwise the pen will drag and smudge the polish and your pattern. You also need to hold the frezer bag firmly as your tracing so it doesn't slide around and ruin your pattern, I placed my finger and thumb above and below the area I was drawing on and stretched it out lightly as I pinned it down so it wouldn't wrinkle. It's also a good idea to cut the freezer bag down the sides so you can open the bag up and only have one layer of it over the pattern as you trace, 2 layers of bag slides around a lot too. Once the top coat is dry and you've traced your pattern you can just peel the top coat off the freezer bag with tweezers, cut pieces to fit your nails and then stick the pieces onto the nail with top coat.  It was a bit fiddly at first and you need a pretty steady hand to draw the pattern neatly, but in the end I love the result and I think it was totally worth it.

The Polish I used for the base is QC ''Gem Green''. I love the boldness of the pen colour and the clarity of the pattern, things that are so difficult to achieve with stamping. 

My only complaint would be that the 'fine' tip is actually still too thick and I would have prefered the pattern to be a bit more delicate, but it said on the markers packet that they are also available with a super fine tip and an ultra fine tip, so I will be keeping a look out for those! I didn't see them in Big W so if I don't find them in Office World I will be searching online!
Another great thing about doing patterns with the pens is that you can do multi coloured stuff too! I will be experimenting with that in the next couple of days!


  1. Brilliant! I'm definitely going to be on the lookout for these pens. Thanks for the great idea!!

  2. This looks great. I do a similar type of thing with nail polish but using a nail form. The bags a great idea and I never though of tracing something! Thanks for the idea :)

  3. Wow that's a great idea! I'm going to have to try it, great post! :-)

  4. Im going to try this out soon! Thanks for the idea. I remember seeing this a long time ago, and forgot until now! Thanks girl!


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