Wild Thing

I *finally* bought a nail art pen recently, and with a girly holiday to Malia looming, I thought I needed a set of snazzy nails to jet off with so put it to good use. I've never been massively convinced by animal print nails, but attempted this gradient zebra print design just to try something new. I actually ended up loving it, maybe because the gradient effect of the blues underneath meant that I could tell myself it didn't look as tacky as it possibly could, but either way it's a really cool, vibrant design, making your nails dramatically stand out without being too over-the-top. Here's the how-to...



1. File and put on a base coat. As always I used the clear Rimmel 14 day Nail Hardening treatment.



















2. The Gradient: Get a clean make-up sponge. I got a pack of around 20 small-ish ones from Superdrug for a few pounds and you only need a small nail-sized section of the sponge so they could easily be cut and used again. Get the two or three colours you want to wear (I used Collection 2000 'Hot Looks' in 56 Electric Dreams and 32 BMX Bandit) and paint them in 2 strips, one underneath each other, onto the sponge. Be generous with the varnish, as you need to slather quite a lot on the sponge for the colour to actually come out onto the nails. The first picture shows the effect when not a lot of varnish is used, whereas the one underneath that is the result of using a lot more on the sponge- this is the effect you want. Flip the sponge onto the nail, dabbing it up and down by about 1cm to mix the colours, and to the side to cover the whole nail. Do this until you get sufficient coverage and the colour is completely opaque.



 
3. Clean Up: The gradient part will get very messy, so when it's dry take a few cotton buds, dip them in nail varnish remover and just wipe away the excess polish from around you fingers and cuticles.




4. The Zebra Print: When the gradient part of the manicure is complete, take your nail art pen/ brush; I haven't tried using a cocktail stick for this but I don't think it'll work as well due to the thinness of the lines. I used Andrea Fulerton Nail Boutique 'Dot and Flick' brush which I bought for £2.99 at Superdrug, which I both rate and don't rate; it's excellent for drawing lines etc but for dotting I find it pretty much useless and still use an opened up kirby grip. Start from one of the bottom corners of the nail and draw lines about half the width of the nail straight or diagonally angled until you get the desired effect. I did these as if I was almost drawing branches of a tree, so if I had a fairly big straight line, I'd draw a smaller one coming out of that at an upwards diagonal angle. Do this on both sides all over the nail.

5. Finishing Touches: When that part is also dry, paint on a top coat- depending on how bumpy the nail art lines are I often do two top coats. I use the same varnish as I do for the base coat.



And there you have it- a stand-out gradient manicure complete with zebra print! Unfortunately my nails had got so long that they all snapped almost as soon as I got to Crete, but the design was fun while it lasted!
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