Let's Get Messy

The last couple of weeks I've been working on turning an unused room in our home into a playroom for our soon to be one year old daughter. I have wrecked one manicure after another, my fingers poor and cuticles are torn up.  The playroom is finally done though! While I'm getting my house back in order, and my life as well as my fingers I've decided to do a tutorial for you guys.

Inspired by my daughters new playroom and the process of painting it I've decided to do a tutorial on splatter nail art using straws. I've seen this on many blogs but this is the first time I've done it myself. So, let's get started, shall we?
The Stuff

Base coat
Base color
Accent color(s) for splattering
Clean up supplies (i.e. remover, cotton balls, q-tips, etc.)
Paper towels (recommended)
Scotch tape (optional)

Nabi Brand Polish: 8 White and 9 Black
I started as always with applying my base coat.  I then applied two coats of my base color. For this design I decided to use white on three of my fingers and I used black on my thumb and ring finger as an accent.  As you can see I do not have a steady hand (it doesn't help that I drank two cups of coffee before I started this) and I hit the cuticle in more then one place. I am hoping with practice I'll be able to at least paint my nails like a pro but for the time being I'll go back with a q-tip, and some acetone, and clean up around the cuticle.
What a mess!
After doing a quick clean up I used scotch tape and taped around my finger nails. This is not necessary but helps to limit the amount of clean up after I do the splattering. I intended to tape all my fingers on both hands but while I was taping my left hand I smudged the polish on my right hand. I'll proceed with just my left hand for now, and we'll discuss fixing the right hand later on.

Be careful not to lay the tape on your polish.
Awwww! Come on, not again!

For my splatters I'm using four colors from my Nabi collection that are very similar to the colors used in my daughters playroom.

Nabi Brand Polishes: 88 Covalt Blue, 194 Lime Light, 65 Lavender, and 92 Fruit Green
Itsy bitsy straws, too small.
For the splatter portion of this design I'm using small coffee stirring straws. I only have two that I took from a local coffee shop. Trying to be frugal, as always I was hoping to do this design with one straw and save the other for later. I took one straw and cut it into four somewhat equal pieces for my four colors. This turned out to be a bad idea because the straws are too short. I cannot dip them into the polish bottles and still have enough straw to put my mouth to. So much for being frugal. What I ended up doing was using my longer straw, dipping it as shallowly as possible in the bottle and then wiping the straw off, clipping the dirty end, and reusing for my next color. I would not recommend using your straw in this manner because you take a risk of mix colors in your bottles. If I was smart I would have just used both straws cut in half for the four colors.

Anyways, I cleaned off the applicator brush as best I could by scrapping of the excess polish on the mouth of the bottle like one normally would (to keep from making even more of a mess) and set it aside. These Nabi polishes have a fat applicator handle so it was easy to just set it upside down out of the way. I then placed one end of the straw in the polish bottle, just enough to get some polish on it. Then placing the clean end of the straw in my mouth I aimed the polish end of the straw at my nail and blew. Seems really easy right?

Left Hand

This is what I discovered:
Too little.
- If I didn't get polish in the straw I didn't get a spatter. I think if I had used a thicker straw this process would have been a little easier for me.
- If I got too much polish in the straw it just made a big blob and not really a splatter.
Too much.

- Also, repeatedly dipping the straw into the polish will build up a layer of polish on the outside of the straw and create a problem with polish getting into the straw. I recommend wiping the end of the straw off occasionally to keep this from happening.
Poor pic, but the polish is building up
and getting to thick on the end of the
- This is not a controlled nail art, it is not precise. It is meant to look messy, in fact the messier the better. There is limited control, you can determine how much color to some degree you spatter, you can also control the direction, and you can guide the spatters by blowing them in certain directions once they are on the nails.

Uh oh, the little one is starting to wake up from her nap.  I'm going to finish up my left hand with a quick drying top coat and some drying drops to speed up the process. I'm going to take a brief intermission and I'll be back to show you the fix for my right hand and the finished result with the complete splatter.

Swab in one direction, in this case
I swabbed down toward the tip.
Now back to the nail art...before the intermission I had smudged my thumb, pointer, and middle finger on my right hand. I tried the lick it and fix it method but this didn't work. Since, this is a base color that would be mostly covered I didn't feel it necessary to redo them completely. So this is what I decided to do, I took a q-tip dipped in some acetone and smoothed out the ridge around the smudge. Make sure not to use a really fuzzy q-tip when doing this otherwise you make get fuzzes in your finish. I also found it worked best to swipe in one direction. Once the ridge was mostly smoothed out, I went back with my polish and voila, a nice base color to splatter on.
Little touch up

Right Hand (Sorry the lighting is crumby, its no longer daylight out.)
I then repeated all the steps I performed on my left hand on my right hand. I taped off my fingers, I spattered my colors, I removed the tape, did a thorough clean up, and topped off with a quick drying top coat.

Here is the finished manicure.
Please ignore the horrifying cuticles.
My final thoughts:
- This is a unique type of nail art, no two splatters are the same.
- More time consuming then I expected.
- Funky, fun nail art. Good for casual wear but not very glamorous.
- Incredibly messy project, not a good project for a neat freak.
- The straw technique has limited control, not good for a control freak.
- Perfect project for a newbie nail artist. Its easy to cover up mistakes and you don't have to worry about any little details.
Even with papertowels down I managed
to get polish all over my counter.

The messy aftermath. Thats why I
recommend the papertowels.  
I hope you found this tut informative, fun, and inspirational. Go on and make a mess of your own.
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