Monday, 27 May 2013

7 Deadly Sins - Lust

Hello strangers! I admit I've been MIA at the moment, mainly due to a few important meetings over the past week or so. I didn't fancy going along with bright, sparkly and/or funky nails, especially when the circumstances were professional, however I still made sure that my nails were freshly painted and looking pretty (I stuck to pale pink or grey for most of the week). I got some brilliant nail mail recently too, courtesy of Models Own and Superdrug :) Here's a cheeky sneaky peak...
I got Barry M 'Shocking Pink' which I love, and one of their Sequin Nail Effects polishes. To be honest I'm not really that pleased with the latter, and I don't even know why I bought it because I've seen a few reviews that deem it unimpressive and messy. The sequins are pretty (red, blue, green, gold and silver), but the consistency of the varnish is really thick, and you can't get away with more than two coats without the polish looking grey and gunky. It's a shame really, but at least it has proven once more that Models Own Ibiza Mix 'Hed Kandi' still reigns supreme on the glitter front! 

I also got Essie 'Matte About You' which is AMAZING. I really really really love it, and I can't wait to get more confident with applying it (it's very unforgiving with regards to tiny detail mistakes). From the Models Own website I took advantage of their 'Buy 5 Save £5' deal and bought another Scratch n' Sniff varnish, 'Apple Pie', along with a pretty pink 'Soda Pop Pink' and a beautiful minky-grey shade 'Utopia'. I also opted for 'Bare Beauty' which is one of those shades that you can't really describe, kind of browny-orangey-nudey-goldy-nudey? Finally I got a lovely shimmery blue, 'Indian Ocean', which looks perfect over the top of my other Scratch n' Sniff shade 'Blueberry Muffin', as well as my favourite  Essie polish 'Sweet Talker'.

Anyway, I better get started with the actual tutorial! As the title suggests, this design is my second manicure for my self-assigned 7 Deadly Sins theme (see the previous post for an explanation). I decided on Lust this time, and to be perfectly honest I'm not really that pleased with how it turned out. I feel like the corsets are rubbish compared to what I've done before (Corset Babydoll Nails), however I'm going to blame this on the two Mixed Fruit Kopparbergs I had at lunchtime... 
The equipment

Models Own 'Soda Pop Pink'
Red (no brand or name, oops!)
Dark red (again, no brand or name...)
Models Own white nail art pen
Models Own black nail art pen
A fine nail art paint brush
0.5 thickness fine liner
Silver gems

If you've looked at my tutorials before, you'll know that this is the first time I've used a fine liner. I knew that the fishnet and lace design would be very, very tricky, and rather than risking using my nail art pen (there can be blobby-shaped disasters!) I thought it best to use a normal pen instead.
I started out with bases using Models Own 'Soda Pop Pink'. Ignore my thumb nail - I was originally intending on a pale pink to red gradient, but this didn't end up working out! Eventually I removed the Models Own 'Pastel Pink' and applied 'Soda Pop Pink' as well.
Using my fine paint brush and bright red, I painted on the block designs. I created corset shapes on my middle and little finger nails, and added red blocks to the top quarters of my other two nails.
Once dry, I used my darker red (it looks much darker on the photo, but in 'real life' it is more burgundy) to add a central panel to the corsets. Then I used the fine liner to begin the fishnet design. I drew two horizontal lines to create the top section of stockings, and then began the criss-crosses.
I finished off the fishnet stockings with smaller criss-crosses on the top sections, and then added a few dots and squiggles to make it look lacy. I originally wanted to create a flowery lace design for these bits, but there wasn't much space to be too intricate. I also added black bows to the corsets.
Next I added narrow vertical lines to the fishnet nails, creating suspenders. With the corset nails I lined the top of the bra section with white dots, and then outlined them, as well as outlining the corset shape. I also added criss-crossing ribbons down the front, and highlighted the bows tiny white lines. I finished off with silver gems, and wrote 'lust' on my thumb nail. 

What do you think? In my opinion these nails are no where near as good as 'Envy', but I do think the red, pink and black colour scheme is very effective. I also like how my fishnet stockings and suspenders turned out, although I have a feeling they might be a little bit TOO racy and may have to be taken off before any more meetings...

Sunday, 19 May 2013

7 Deadly Sins - Envy

Evening folks! So I've been noticing the 7 Deadly Sins challenge going around at the moment, and was kinda disappointed when I realised that the manicures it dictates aren't technically related to the sins (e.g. 'Greed' requires you to use your most expensive polish, rather than painting a greed-related image). Anyway, I admit that the challenge is a really good idea, however I've decided to start my OWN challenge which is much more specific. I'm going to attempt seven designs over the course of the next couple of weeks, focusing on Envy, Greed, Pride, Gluttony, Wrath, Lust and Sloth.

So obviously my first design is Envy! I decided to create a green-eyed monster to represent the sin, however I didn't really fancy having a monster on my nails so I made her into more of an Ariel/Jessica Rabbit type of girl. Obviously she has big green eyes, and I opted for flaming red hair as the colours complement one another (plus I'm repping the gingers!) I also used some gold sparkles to bling it up a bit... I just can't resist!
I'm gonna be a lazy bones and just say I used A LOT of equipment for this manicure. It would take ages to list everything, but throughout the tutorial I'll let you know of any colours that I think are important :) Since I'm missing out my usual 'The Equipment' list, here's my initial sketch for the design! As you can see, the original nail shapes I drew turned out to be too big, and I had to alter the shapes of the eyes a few times before I was happy. Planning is important for designs like this!
Once I was happy with my design, I painted on the bases. I don't have a good nude tone so I had to make do with pale beige topped with Essie 'Not Just A Pretty Face', and for the green I used Models Own 'Jade Stone' as a base and topped it with W7 'Neon Green' and Missguided 'Misslead'.
Once dry, I used a fine paint brush to paint on white almond shapes for the eyes, and Models Own 'Peach Fuzz' for the beginnings of hair. 
To outline the eyes I switched between my black Models Own nail art pen and a fine paint brush. The eyelashes were the trickiest bit as they're so tiny! I used the same green combination to create the iris, and a little black dot for the pupil. With the hair, I used red and a sparkly orange to add streaks.
This stage was the hardest... I struggle to get my own eye make up matching, imagine trying to paint even eyeliner flicks on 7mm eyes?! I also added eyebrows and some more hair. I really wanted the design to 'flow' through my nails and I think that painting 'wind swept' hair has helped with this.
And here's the final product! I evened up the eyes and added a bit more eyeliner, added some more streaks to the hair, and then thickened up the eyebrows to make her look as envious as possible! I also painted 'envy' onto my thumb nail, which was a lot easier than I thought, especially since I'd practised the font on my initial sketch. I finished off the manicure with a sprinkle of gold glitter, and it looks gorgeous against the lime green base.

What do you think of my green-eyed nails? Are you taking part in the 7 Deadly Sins challenge? 

Saturday, 18 May 2013

Peach & Yellow Gradients With Butterflies

I'm feeling rather sorry for myself today as I have yet another ear infection. Most of my friends are out partying the night away, and since the wife is working nights at the moment I have to find some other way to entertain myself! So, as I always do, I scrubbed away the manicure I created earlier and started another design. I've entered these into a competition for Ombre nails, but to be honest I'm still pretty rubbish at the whole gradient thing. I avoided a step-by-step tutorial anyway, as I knew there'd be lots of mistakes, and there's plenty of brilliant gradient tutorials out there!

Anyway, after using my trusty kitchen sponge,  I added some little black butterflies and gems. They're very similar to my Pastel Butterfly Nails, but I actually think they look even better on a gradient background. Plus the colour scheme is nice and summery :) What do you think?


Stormy Starry Sky Nails

Firstly, I cannot WAIT until my Essie 'Matte About You' arrives, because these nails would look soooo much better with a matte top coat. I'm going to try and save them for the next couple of days, so hopefully I'll be able to upload another photo with them 'mattified'. Secondly, I apologise for the subsequent confusing tutorial. I'm normally really organised with my stages and take lots of photos to make for a detailed description, but I wasn't entirely sure of the direction I was heading in until I'd actually finished the manicure! Hopefully it's helpful though... Anyway, I was planning on doing galaxy nails again, but so many people have being doing it recently that I thought I'd be a bit different. I decided to combine a starry night sky with a storm, and I love the final effect! 

The equipment:

Models Own 'Blueberry Muffin'
Models Own 'In The Navy'
Rimmel 'Azure'
Rimmel 'Grey Matter'
Barry M 'Grey'
W7 'Black'
Models Own white nail art pen
Rio yellow nail art pen
Nails Inc. 'Bling It On' silver glitter
Fine gold glitter
A fine nail art brush
A kitchen sponge
I started out with 'In The Navy' on my thumb  and index finger nails, and Models Own 'Blueberry Muffin' on my ring finger. The picture shows my middle finger nail with white polish on, but disregard that! My little finger also had a 'Blueberry Muffin' base, and my middle finger was half and half. In simple terms: the starry nails have a navy base, and the stormy nails have a pale blue base (and of course the half stormy/half starry nail has a half navy/half pale blue base...

Once dry, I applied Rimmel 'Azure' to the kitchen sponge and applied it randomly. I did the same with Rimmel 'Grey Matter' to my stormy nails. Then I used a darker shade, Models Own 'Grey', to further develop the storm clouds.
Then I used my Models Own white nail art pen to add some stars. I dabbed a little bit more 'Azure' over some of the dots, just for a bit of variety! On my stormy nails, I dabbed on some black nail polish, and once dry I used my white nail art pen again to create lightning. Then with my yellow Rio nail art pen I went over the top sections of the bolts.
As you can see, I added a moon to my index finger nail. The half-and-half effect can be seen on my middle finger, and I made sure that it blended nicely by sponging grey across to the starry half, and 'Azure' across to the stormy half.
You can't really see it on this picture, but I added some sparkles! I used silver glitter on the starry sky nails, and fine gold glitter on the lightning bolts. The lightning bolts are probably my favourite part of this manicure, so I reckon I might just do a full stormy mani in the future! As I said before, if my matte top coat arrives before these nails chip (or before I get bored...) I will take another photo :) I'm certain they'll look better matte, however I've heard that matte top coats are extremely unforgiving and often highlight any mistakes!

What do you think of my Stormy Starry Sky Nails? 


Friday, 17 May 2013


Little Tip Off now has a Facebook page! If you're a Facebook user (which you probably are), then check it out here! I'm currently playing catch-up with some of my previous designs, but I'll make sure that I update it regularly along with the blog :)


Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Pink & White Abstract Nails

These nails were inspired by the work of one of my closest friends, who studies Illustration. I decided to adapt her screen printed posters* into nail art, focusing on my favourite colour combination (pink, of course!) 
The equipment:

Fearne 'Coral Island'
Natural Collection 'White'
Rio hot pink nail art pen
Models Own white nail art pen
Models Own 3-in-1 clear coat
Medium dotting tool
I started out with the bases, applying white to my thumb nail, middle finger nail and ring finger nail, and used pink for my index and little finger.
Once dry, I used my hot pink nail art pen. I love the Rio pens as they're really cheap and have the double function of a striping brush and pen nib, so you can use them for just about any design. Using the striping brush, I applied various lines. I based the patterns on the pink and white screen print, however I didn't follow it EXACTLY, as that would have been extremely difficult!
Using my dotting tool, I created the dots. I tried to keep them exactly the same size but there are a few variations. Dotting tools are brilliant but require so much patience! The consistency of your nail varnish also contributes to the finish, as loose polishes tend to spread more.
I did exactly the same with the white nail art pen on pink. I actually found the Rio nail art pen better than the Models Own one in this manicure, which is strange considering the prices (Models Own nail art pens tend to be about £4/£5, while my Rio pens came in a set of about fifteen and cost less than twenty pounds).

As always, I finished off with a clear top coat! I think the pink-on-white looks best, especially my thumb nail, but I guess it provides a bigger canvas and can therefore be more detailed. When I'm feeling a bit more patient I think I might attempt the blue, pink and green screen print, which will take a bit longer due to waiting for different layers to dry! It's really nice to be able to take inspiration from different sources, especially when it's a friend's work.  Thinking up your own designs is always great, but sometimes it's fun to be able to create a manicure that stems from pieces of art, fashion or photographs. Where do you find your inspiration? 
*The screen printed posters are courtesy of Rachel Davey, and accessed via this site! She'll probably cringe when she finds out I've mentioned her, but she deserves some promotion as she's so talented :)

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Corset Babydoll Nails!

Yes I know I've been absolutely rubbish recently, and my nails have most definitely taken a backseat to essays! But in celebration of handing in all my deadlines today, I decided to finally create a design that's been on my mind for a while. I like to think I've 'come back with a bang!', since these nails are the best I've ever done (in my opinion anyway...)

These are Burlesque/Underwear inspired nails, but rather than being risqué, they're all very cute. I used lots and lots of colours for this manicure, so prepare yourselves!

The equipment:

Natural Collection 'White'
Classic red (no brand or shade available I'm afraid)
Models Own 'Blueberry Muffin'
Rimmel 'Azure'
Models Own 'Peach Sherbet'
Models Own 'Fuzzy Peach'
W7 'Black'
Models Own 'Jade Stone'
No. 7 'Totally Teal'
Models Own 'Pastel Pink'
Models Own black nail art pen
Models Own white nail art pen
Models Own 3-in-1 clear coat
A fine paint brush

I also referred to a few sketches. I don't always plan my designs, but when you're doing something like this it helps to have a point of reference for proportions, shapes and colours.
 So I started out with my thumb nail, and applied a white base. I painted a heart shape at the top of my nail, and a curved line at the bottom. Then I joined them together with two more curved lines at the sides, and sharpened off the edges. Finally I filled in the middle. It looks kinda messy at the moment, but once you've added the rest of the design and a top coat it smooths out :)
Then, using my fine paint brush, I applied red sections. I did these gradually to ensure symmetry, and left a shape at the top of the corset for a bra section.
I added red dots to the bra section of the corset, and red frills to the top and bottom. Then I used my black nail art pen to outline the separate sections.
 Finally I added some black dots to the centre of the corset, which I think finishes it off nicely. I didn't bother to use a dotting tool which is why the dots vary in size, but you can hardly tell. If you're bothered about everything being even and symmetrical, then I encourage the use of a tiny dotting tool :)
For my other fingers, I began with the corset bases again. This picture doesn't really do the colours justice, but I used Models Own 'Blueberry Muffin' for my index finger, 'Peach Sherbet' for my middle finger, plain white for my ring finger, and 'Pastel Pink' for my little finger.
I then added 'Azure' to my blue base... It looks messy at the moment, but don't worry, it turns out well in the end! Once my dark blue sections were dry, I added white dots and a criss-cross using my Models Own white nail art pen.
I added lacey bits to the bottom of the corset, then outlined the bra section and around the edges. Finally, I added a bow detail, and finished off the outlining. This process took quite a while as I wanted to keep the lines as narrow as possible.
For my leopard print corset, I blobbed Models Own 'Fuzzy Peach' on the outer sections of the base, and then applied a black middle. Once dry, I created the leopard print, added white buttons and a bow, and then outlined everything.
I applied Models Own 'Jade Stone' to my white bases, and then added details and outlines as before. The darker green is No. 7 'Totally Teal' which complements the Models Own shade nicely!
And this is the final product! As you can see, I finished off outlining on the green corset, and for the pink one I just added a few black details. It's always hard to create a really complex design on such a little nail, but I think the black on pink still looks cute. I admit that I haven't added a clear top coat yet, but I will once I know all the black details are dry (my black nail art pen is a serial smudger!) I also think that these nails would look good on a coloured base, however applying them onto blank nails means that all attention is focused on the patterns and colours :)

It feels so good to get back to painting my nails and blogging! Now that Semester 2 has ended and my module essays are all done and dusted, I can definitely get back to my usual nail arty self.
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