21st June, 2012
I’ve been posting about acrylic 3D art more often lately (or trying to at least!), and I mentioned I would do a bit of a how-to post, well, here it is! This won’t explain to you how to do full acrylic nails, as I don’t do those myself. Instead I will explain to you which supplies you need and how you go about making (super kawaii!) 3D art for your nails (or other surfaces). Get ready cause it’s going to be a bit of a read!
Keep in mind I am not a professional! I’ve made this post as an aid to people starting with acrylic or are interested to learn more about the technique and supplies necessary. If you are serious about getting started with acrylic art please make sure you do extensive research, follow a course or get tips from a professional.
Born Pretty Store 18 Color Acrylic Powder Set
I’ll start with the supplies! There’s three basic things you’ll need, acrylic liquid (monomer), acrylic powder and the right brushes. Basically the technique works as follows, you dip your brush into a small glass or jar which holds the acrylic liquid, you then pat your wet brush into the powder which immediately forms a ball of acrylic on the tip of your brush. Then you either place that ball on your nail and start shaping it (into a petal for example) or pat it into a mould.
- Acrylic Monomer – There’s many different brands when it comes to liquid, they range from cheap to really expensive. I would say, see what you have available locally or online and don’t compromise. You’ll have to invest in a decent monomer, cheap almost always means less quality in this case. The one I use is from EzFlow, I also have this one from Born Pretty Store but I prefer to use the EzFlow Q Monomer as I find the smell is less strong and the quality is a lot better.
The downside of doing acrylic art is the scent, the acrylic monomer has a very strong odour. You need a well ventilated room when doing acrylic or practice outside.
- Acrylic Powder – Powder will determine the colour of your 3D art. The powder I use is from Born Pretty Store. I use the 18 colour set (pictured above) which is very cheap and I also use the more expensive DIVA brand sets they have, the regular and shimmer/glitter set. I haven’t found a huge difference between them, they both have really nice colours but the quality I would say is mostly similar. The jars in the 18 colour set are on the smaller side but the colours you get are stunning. Look around and find a fun set of colours that will work best for you.
- Acrylic Brushes – Brushes are hugely important, especially when you will be doing sculpting, you need specific acrylic brushes with a very fine tip. I use this set from Born Pretty Store but they have many different ones. I recently ordered a more expensive range of brushes from them, so I am looking forward to see how they compare to the set I have now. Sable hair brushes are usually the best.
- Dappen Dish – You need a jar that holds the acrylic monomer, a glass dappen dish is the one that’s used most often. Acrylic monomer will melt regular plastic so glass jars are a better choice.
Born Pretty Store White Acrylic Powder and Acrylic Brush #4
- Moulds – If you prefer to sculpt then you won’t need these. I think they are a fun tool to help you when you get started. Even before you can even dream about sculpting, these will give you great results very quickly!
- Brush Cleanser – It’s important to keep your brushes clean! If you take care of them they will last you forever. After doing acrylic you will sometimes get left with small hardened pieces stuck in your brush, I use this brush cleanser by Born Pretty Store which does an awesome job at removing those bits. You can also soak off the pieces in acetone, but this will dry out your brush and might damage it, so using a specific cleanser will be less harsh on your brushes.
- Cloth or Paper Towels – I put these under optional but you definitely need to have some paper towels on hand while doing acrylic. After you’ve placed your ball of acrylic on your nail you will need to wipe off the excess liquid from your brush. This will keep your acrylic from getting too wet.
- Clear Top Coat – Acrylic 3D designs will dry matte so you will need a topcoat (or uv sealer) to make sure your design is glossy. Any clear top coat will work. I’ve used different ones and they have all worked for me.
- Nail Glue – When you make 3D pieces in moulds or not directly on top of your own nails you can attach them later on with glue. You can also use clear top coat as adhesive.
- Nail Files – Preferably ones with a rough grit, to remove 3D art you can either fiddle and get it to pop off, or file and soak off the pieces. I do not recommend to try and remove them with the first method, occasionally it will come off easily but more often you’ll pull off the layers of your actual nail. I learned this the hard way… If you’ve placed 3D art on all of your nails you will probably take just as long to remove them as you did applying them so keep that in mind. File off as much as you can, soak off the rest in acetone. If you don’t want to run the risk of damaging your nail, use full nail tips and apply the acrylic on there.
- Nail Drill – If you’ll be doing A LOT of acrylic 3D art a nail drill will make the removal process a lot easier and a lot less labour intensive. I’ll be writing a review about this nail drill from Born Pretty Store in the next coming weeks if all goes well.
- Soak Bowl – If you’re going to soak off the last remaining bits of acrylic you’ll need something to hold the acetone so you can soak your nails. The foil method works too so this is completely optional.
Born Pretty Store Acrylic 3D Moulds
Next I’ll briefly explain how to prepare for and apply/remove 3D acrylic pieces. First you make sure you have all the supplies you are going to use near you. Set out a glass dappen dash and fill it with acrylic liquid, grab your brushes, make sure you have paper towels and choose the powder and/or moulds you’re going to use.
- Filling moulds and applying 3D pieces – wet your brush in the acrylic liquid and softly dab onto the surface of the acrylic powder, wait for a few seconds until the ball on the tip of your brush is completely smooth. Now you can place the ball inside the mould, you’ll need several balls depending on the size of the mould. Once you’ve completely filled it up, wait for 30 second up to 1 minute. The acrylic should still be slightly bendable but not wet. Paint your nails with clear polish or apply some glue to the area where you want your piece to go. Carefully remove the flexible acrylic piece from your mould and apply on your nail, pressing down all corners so it sits completely flat on top of your nail. After a few minutes the acrylic will have hardened completely, now you can apply a glossy topcoat!
- Sculpting 3D pieces – as this is a more difficult technique make sure to do a lot of research, acrylic sculpting looks easy and fun but definitely takes a lot of practice. It works pretty much the same as filling the moulds only you’ll place the ball of acrylic directly on top of your nail and start shaping it with your brush. The possibilities with sculpting are endless, the only limit is your own creativity!
- Removal process – I’ve explained this briefly in the additional supplies section. Grab the roughest nail file you have and start filing on top of the acrylic piece. Check regularly to make sure you haven’t hit your nail beds. Once there’s a thin layer (1mm or so) left, grab a bowl and fill it up with acetone to soak off the leftover pieces of acrylic. Make sure to moisturise your cuticles and nails afterwards! This process can be quite labour intensive but it’s a lot safer than trying to pop off the pieces as this could damage your nails.
I hope that covers most of it! If you have any questions for me please leave them in the comments and I will reply to them. If necessary I’ll make a Q&A post with all of your questions. In any case I hope you can expect more acrylic 3D related posts from me in the future. I just need to find the time, and good weather. If you enjoyed reading this post or found it helpful please let me know in the comments!
18th May, 2012
Now the weather is slowly but surely getting better I can finally start practicing acrylic (sculpting) again. Acrylic monomer has a strong smell so I need to be able to sit outside or open a window to vent my room, which is why I haven’t practiced acrylic in a while! To ease myself back into it I started with these simple but fun roses, which I made with the help of a mold.
If anyone is interested I could make a how-to post on how to get started with acrylic, which supplies you need, what the pros and cons are and explain the basics of the technique. I always love trying new nail art techniques and when I first read about acrylic sculpting I knew it was something I would love. It requires a lot of practice but you don’t necessarily need expensive schooling to try your hand at some fun and simple 3D pieces. I wouldn’t recommend full nail sculpting without extensive research and lessons or help from a professional though.
Here’s a list of the supplies I used for this manicure:
Please let me know if acrylic 3D art is something you’d like to read more about! And don’t forget to enter my giveaway if you haven’t already! It’s open until May 22.
29th August, 2011
Today I have another review featuring products from my favourite online shop, Born Pretty Store! The last one featured a set of their cuticle oils and this one is about their fluorescent powders.
They’re basically glow in the dark powders, I don’t know half of the things you can use these for but I’m pretty sure mixing them with acrylic powder is not their sole purpose. In any case they’re really great! They remind me of those glow in the dark stars I used to have on my ceiling when I was little. I have always been really fascinated and excited by glow in the dark stuff so these are right up my alley!
They come in a set of 10 colours, you get; hot pink, baby pink, coral, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple and two whites. The hot pink, yellow, orange and green are neons. The two whites both turn a different colour when they glow in the dark which you can see below! On their website it shows a lavender instead of a second white which I’m not bothered by because the whites are definitely more useful to have.
Isn’t it amazing? As you can see two of the colours give very little effect but the others are really bright! You have to “charge” these as you had to do with glow in the dark stars, you keep them under a light or in the sun and then you can see the amazing glow in the dark effect!
As I mentioned you need to mix these, i.e. you cannot use these on their own. You have to mix them with actual acrylic powders. For the manicure below I mixed the top white with some pink acrylic powder and a lot of white acrylic powder. I can’t tell you exactly what proportions I used of each, since I just kept adding more. I didn’t know these had to be mixed since their website does state that these are acrylic powders so be aware, if you don’t actually own acrylic powder to mix this with you will have to get some.
This is what I came up with using the powders! The base colour on my nails is a black, I also used half pearls and gold steel balls, both of which are also from Born Pretty Store. I really love how this turned out, my flowers are kind of basic (need more practice!) but I’m still really proud of this.
And most importantly… *drumroll* this is what they look like in the dark!
They are simply amazing, I am really truly in love with these powders. I feel like a kid in a candy store every time I turn off my lights and look at my nails. They’re a bit of a novelty thing but they’re great nonetheless. I love novelty items and gadgets anyway, they’re my weak spot!
You can get the Fluorescent Powders at Born Pretty Store for $9,25 for a set of 10 colours. As you can see in my sidebar I have two BPS discount codes now, if you order you can either get 10% off your entire order with the code: EMILYJ61 or you can get $4 off if you order $30 or more with the code: EMILYL73. And most importantly, Born Pretty Store offers worldwide free shipping! Hurrah!
I was sent these products by Born Pretty Store to review. I am not in any way affiliated with this company nor am I being paid by them! All opinions stated are honest and my own, as always.
18th August, 2011
Apologies in advance to people who are sensitive around pictures of toes… I usually don’t do any nail art on my toes, I just paint them in a solid colour. This time around I thought I’d change it up a bit. I was inspired by the Tiffany & Co packaging which is absolutely beautiful. I should have done this manicure with China Glaze For Audrey but since I don’t own it (yet!) I settled for Catrice Am I Blue Or Green. The blue came out a little lighter in this image but it’s darker in person.
The bow is 3D and made with acrylic powder and monomer liquid. It’s pretty flat so it doesn’t get in my way. It also hasn’t budged for two weeks now and is still looking great! I think I will do nail art on my toes more often. Let me know if that is something you would like to see. I would love to hear your opinions!
15th July, 2011
Sorry for my absence this week! I went on holiday in Rotterdam with my boyfriend and stayed at my uncle’s place. I had a wonderful time there and I’ll be posting a haul this weekend but first I’m sharing the manicure I wore for the entire week. As Rotterdam is a port I thought nautical nails would be very appropriate!
The top image is a quick sketch I made in Paint and the bottom are my actual nails! For the white base colour I used Catrice Snow Motion and for the navy blue stripes I used American Apparel Passport Blue.
Here’s how I did the rest:
- On my thumb I made a 3D anchor with white acrylic (monomer + powder) and then added gold glitter polish.
- On my index finger I painted a red heart in acrylic paint, added red hexagonal glitters and gold steel balls. Then I filled the heart with clear acrylic so the balls wouldn’t chip off.
- On my middle finger I placed a blue gem I got from Xenos and added gold balls around it. This was my favourite nail even though it’s probably the easiest one.
- On my ring finger I added a 3D life ring I made in white acrylic. I used paint for the red.
- And lastly on my pinky I placed half pearls, rhinestones and gold balls.
Really loved wearing this manicure and was very pleased this lasted an entire week on me. In the end one of the hearts fell off (no idea where it is since I never found it!) so everything had to go. I wasn’t too sad about that since I found some gorgeous polishes in Rotterdam so I could finally swatch those!
And before I left I did my auntie’s nails, polka dot style! I never did polka dots before (not kidding!) so this was a first for me. I forgot my dotting tool so I made these with toothpicks, also something I almost never use. I really loved how these turned out, they looked so cute! (photo was taken with hipstamatic)
7th July, 2011
This post will be a bit all over the place so you are warned! I have several things to share so thought I’d add them all together in one big post.
First up are two manicures I did this week.
For this one I used Essence You Belong To Me as a base and added some hot pink bows I made with my molds. I really loved this though it didn’t last very long. The bows were so huge that I kept getting stuck in my hair or anything I tried to touch so instead I just kept one on each of my ring fingers.
Here’s a swatch of the Born Pretty Store pink crackle I bought. The base is Catrice Snow Motion. It’s very hot pink, even more so in real life. Very pretty, though it did take getting used to on my part. I hardly never wear pinks so this was a bit of a shock! Pretty as it is, I’m not sure it’s really “me”.
I planned a surprise trip to the zoo for my boyfriend. He helped me so much with all the redecorating in my room I wanted to give him a little gift. Since he’s been moaning to go to the zoo again for months I immediately knew with what I could make him happiest. I have a very hard time keeping things from him and I managed to keep my mouth shut but alas, he figured it out! I really can’t keep anything from him, even if I don’t say anything. Guess he just knows me too well
Anyway the above picture is of a seal, my favourite picture of that day.
And this is the boyfriend looking at some penguins. They were so adorable, totally showing off and posing for us.
And here’s Marie, she’s Dries’ five year old cousin. When I visited the boyfriends house we planned a little visit with Dries’ cousin Maaike and her two kids Marie and Ella. Marie is the sweetest thing ever, I love her to death! I did her nails and toes in white with pink hearts.
And her toes, sporting some sparkly silver sandals. Was really lovely to see her again, I’ll miss her so much! Don’t see her very often since we live so far away but when we do we have the best time together.
28th June, 2011
A fortnight ago I placed an order with Born Pretty Store. I had been wanting to for a very long time but since I found out more about acrylic systems I went ahead and placed my order. These weren’t sent to me for review, I purchased them all myself with my own money! Get ready for a picture spam! Here’s what I received on Wednesday:
Ohmygawd look at that pile of goodies! *swoon*
I splurged and bought a ton of items! This is what I got:
- Heart Shape 3D Acrylic Mold 5 = $2.51 – €1,70
- Bow Shape 3D Acylic Mold 31 = $2.51 – €1,70
- Acrylic System = $11.83 – €8,20
- 18 Color Acrylic Powder = $9.50 – €6,60
- White Buffer Block = $1.89 – €1,20
- 100 pcs Fimo Canes w/ Cutter = $13.66 – €9,50
- 3 Sizes Pearl Rhinestone Decoration= $4.14 – €2,80
- Gold & Silver 3D Steel Ball Nail Art Decoration = $4.17 – €2,90
- 12x Dried Flowers = $6.15 – €4,30
- 5pcs Nail Art Acrylic brush = $9.10 – €6,30
- Pink Instant Cracking Nail Polish = $5.50 – €3,80
- Gold Glitter Nail Polish 80 = $4.22 – €2,90
So in total I paid €50 (including tracking number which was €2,10). That is an AMAZING deal! I know what the prices are locally and on eBay and honestly, nothing compares to BPS prices. They have FREE SHIPPING which is amazing, though I do recommend getting the tracking number, just in case your package gets lost you have some sort of insurance. So basically I paid €2,10 for shipping, what a steal! I was afraid that some items might get damaged on the way to me but everything was packaged very well, all the breakables were wrapped safely and everything arrived in perfect order.
This is the Acrylic system I got for €8,20 which included three jars of acrylic powder in pink, white and clear. A 120ml bottle of acrylic liquid, a dappen dish and two sable hair brushes. My main issue with this was the overpowering smell of the acrylic liquid. I was prepared for a strong smelling liquid since I knew that acrylic tends to have that but I wasn’t ready for this. It’s so strong it hurts my lungs and make me cough and gag like it wasn’t pretty and it’s basically impossible for me to use. I tried using it outdoors with a mask and still it was too strong for me so I’m going to look for an alternative, if there is one. I still think this is a great deal for the amount of powders and items you get. In my personal case the acrylic liquid is unusable but this may not be the case for you.
These are a selection of acrylic powders I got for €6,60. A very good deal since you get a lot of colours. The jars hold about 6gr of powder according to the website, which I am not sure is accurate since they’re only filled about halfway. They come in a very cute box and they sit in a plastic tray. I love the selection of colours and have tried this set and they work very well. I have noticed they tend to lose their colour if you leave them to dry for too long but this seems to be fixed by using a topcoat. I haven’t used these an awful lot so can’t really comment any further.
This is an acrylic mold, I got one with heart shapes and one with bows. They were €1,70 each. The heart on my thumb was made with this mold as you can see. I will be getting more molds cause they are very easy to use and so much fun! I might not use them as much when I start to get better at making acrylic designs but right now they’re perfect! You can use these molds not just to create nail art, you can stick these hearts (or whatever design you might have) to anything with some glue!
These are a set of 5 acrylic sable brushes I got for €6,30. One of my local nail wholesalers sells these exact brushes for €7,99 a piece so basically, this is a bargain! They are very high in quality and they are absolutely stunning. You can take off the end and put the brush in there so you can safely store them when travelling or to protect them from dust. I would buy these again in a heartbeat! Born Pretty Store also sells the exact same set of regular nail art brushes I bought on Ebay for a bit less than what I paid, if you need a few nail art brushes I would totally recommend them.
This is by far my favourite order at just €9,50 for 100 fimo canes, two nail wheels, 10 cutters and glue. It’s the best deal out there if you like fimo canes, GET THIS! I felt like a kid in a candy store when I saw this, it’s absolutely amazing. I really can’t applaud and compliment this set enough. You get flowers, fruits, brands, cute animals and so much more. Two nail wheels isn’t enough to store all your canes so I recommend getting the set of 10 wheels they sell. I’m getting that one with my next order because I want to be able to have all my canes cut up and on display! Love love love it.
This is one of the two polishes I bought. This is a glitter polish I got for €2,90. I really love the bottle, it’s similar to that of OPI I believe but the cap is crackled which is really cute. It has small gold glitter particles and red and blue hexagon glitters. I was afraid that these might smell strong since they’re of an unknown asian brand but there’s no unpleasant smell. I just wish they had more different coloured glitters like this one!
This crackle polish was €3,80. It’s hot pink and very cute! The bottle has the same crackled effect as the glitter polish and the bottle itself is matte. I have a weakness for nice bottles so seeing this bottle made me very happy. Crackle dries matte so the top pink swatch is without topcoat, it dries a lot lighter so if you don’t like that you can add topcoat (bottom swatch) which brings out the colour of the bottle itself. I didn’t use a base colour on my swatch wheel so you can’t see the crackles that well but they do crackle very nicely, my swatch is somewhat unrepresentative of this polishes crackling abilities. How many times did I say “crackle” now? Eek!
These are steel decoration balls. I got them for just €2,90. I have been eyeing these steel balls up for aaaaages. I first saw them on eBay but either didn’t like the colours they had or the prices but this was just what I was looking for. Gold and silver and a very good price. I am planning on getting the coloured steel balls next time I order because they look very cute as well.
Aren’t these the prettiest? They’re dried flowers I got for just €4,30. They’re almost too pretty to use. I’m not sure when or how I’m going to use these but I absolutely loved them so I got them anyway. Oops!
Not pictured but also purchased: a white buffer block which is very good and very cheap and a nail wheel with 3 different shapes of pearl rhinestones for just €2,80.
So here’s the design I made using my BPS goodies! I made hearts with the acrylic mold, added the steel balls around one of the hearts and one of the pearls. Added pearls for a half moon effect and steel balls around a french. I used China Glaze Snow for the white and H&M Check Me Out for the pink.
And this is my very very first attempt at acrylic 3D art. I know it’s not much and the bow isn’t perfect but I’m really pleased and proud with how it turned out. It’s not bad for a first try I think! Since I couldn’t use it for my nails I stuck it to my favourite bottle of topcoat, Barielle Instant Liquid Nail Hardener, since the colour matched the polish.
I can definitely recommend Born Pretty Store, their range of products is great and the prices are amazing not to mention free shipping which is almost unheard of these days. I’m overly excited and in love with BPS and can’t wait to order again. I sound like I am addicted, haha, I think I am.