Saturday, November 7, 2009

Tutorial: Quick Gradient polish and Konad Stamping

Woohoo! 50th post on here (that number seems a bit odd to me, but that's the count blogspot is giving me. Anyways, Babybubblz requested I do a Konad tutorial, so today I'm writing out a quick tutorial (with pictures) regarding Konads, using today's NOTD as an example.
This is today's NOTD. My inspiration for this was the colors of autumn leaves...unfortunately, Konad doesn't see, to have a leaf design..just lots of flowers. The result reminds me more of Chinese New Year.
This is what I used for this endeavor; Base coat, Top coat, a white polish (I used ORLY White Tips), and 4 konad special polishes (you can use less, for the gradient I suspect that normal polishes would work), a plastic plate, a sponge, a konad plate, scraper, and stamp.
1. Since I don't feel like redoing my nails right now, I did this tutorial using a plastic plate. First, apply your favorite base coat. This will help your polish last longer and prevent staining. After this dries, apply the white polish to your nails. This will help the colors stand out more, and should prevent any staining if you're using the special polishes.
2. After the white polish dries, swatch the colors you will be using on a plastic plate next to each other. I used 3 polishes for this, but I'm sure you can get away with any 2 colors you want. I used the special polishes that came with the salon set, but I think regular polishes might work as well for this, particularly ones that are easily opaque in 1 or 2 coats.
3. Press your sponge onto the plate to pick up the color.
For the sponge, I know Konad makes packs of sponges from the catalog that came with my salon kit, but I'm not sure where you'd get them as and OCnailart don't sell these packs (They do sell Konad Sponge Nail art kits, but I don't think the mini kits come with a lot of sponges). The sponges in the kit feel a lot like some packing foam, so maybe you can use those.
4. Dab the sponge onto your nails. You may have to repeat steps 2-4 until you get your desired opacity. (particularly if you aren't using special polishes) The result will look kind of texturized, as so..not a big deal...we'll be fixing this with the next step. Unfortunately I neglected to wait for the white polish to dry completely before doing the sponge art, so it messed up the results just a bit.
Here's what it basically looks like with a white base under the colors:
Here's what it looks like without the base; the colors over a base look more vibrant.
You don't have to let this dry all the way.
5. Take your favorite top coat and apply it over the gradient. Use it to blend the colors together. (You can see how it became kind of messy since I didn't let the white dry all the the rest of this tutorial I will use the one without the base)
white base:

No base:
6. Clean up the area around your nails with a q-tip and remover. Voila! you're done creating a cool, easy to do gradient. It doesn't take much longer than a regular mani.

That concludes the gradient portion of the tutorial. One thing to watch out for when doing this is: dab gently...dabbing harder transfers color more easily, but you're more likely to get it all over your cuticles like I did.

If you want to put a pattern on top of this like I did, here's what you do:

1. Pick any design you desire. I used a design from plate m5.
2. Swatch the special polish of your choice over the design
3. Scrape off the excess polish with your scraper. I prefer the plastic scrapers. They don't scratch up the plate as much and leave the right amount of polish remaining. (sorry, blurry pic)
You don't have to perfectly scrape away all of the polish...streaks are fine as long as they aren't thick.
4. Pick up the design with your stamp. To do this, simply press the rubber stamp down on the design quickly after scraping. Speed is key for this since the polish will dry fairly quickly, making it hard to pick up the full design if you're slow. The easiest way I've found to do this is after applying the special polish to the plate, I scrape off the excess polish with my left (nondominant) hand, then follow by pressing the stamp down with my right (dominant). I also really like the double ended stamper. The smaller end is great for picking up partial designs, which gives you more things you can do with a plate.
5. Transfer the design onto your nail with a a gentle rolling motion. Unlike the last step, you don't need to do this that quickly. Take your time to line up the design where you want it. (Don't take TOO long though or the design will set on the stamp).

6. Let the design set a bit by waiting a few minutes, then lock the design in with your favorite top coat. Apply the top coat quickly to your nail, don't go over the same brush stroke twice. If you go over the same area more than 1x, you have a good chance of smudging the pattern. This was also the reason why it was easy to use top coat to blend the gradient in the above tutorial. Instead, if you feel that your application of the top coat was uneven, go over it a 2nd time after the first coat of TC has dried.

That concludes the stamping portion of my tutorial. One of the things I really like to do before stamping is apply a layer of top coat between whatever polish I'm using and the design. It helps the layers beneath dry faster, ensuring that I'm less likely to mess up what I've already done. The 2nd reason why I do this is because If I mess up stamping the design, I don't have to start over. What I do is I wet a qtip with remover, and use it to gently remove the pattern from the nail. This way I don't take any of what I'm stamping over away and can just stamp on top of it. This does take away the shine already on my nail, but since I use top coat to lock the design onto my nail, this doesn't become an issue. I hope you enjoyed this tutorial.


  1. That was a fantastic tutorial and totally makes me want to try out the gradient, plus buy a Konad kit!