22 May 2016

Chinese cloisonné manicure

Hi everyone!

I've been breaking my head over my manicure for the letter C in the ABC Challenge. I was thinking about circles, citrus colors, colors in general, brands that start with a C. I even asked my husband for inspirational words and he came up with Call of Duty (a computer game ;) and conflagration, cats, claws and caterpillars. Nothing sparked just the tiniest bit of a hint of an idea... Until I was in my mom's house yesterday to bring some groceries and saw a Chinese bowl in her showcase. That bowl has been there for as long as I live (probably even longer ;) and I can't remember looking at it twice until today, when I realized it was decorated using the cloisonné technique and <insert trumpets> that starts with a C (don't ask me why I know it's called that... I've known that all my life as well ;) So I've tried to translate the design to my nails and this is the result:

indoors, no flash

On all my nails but my pinky you see four thin coats of OPI It's in the Cloud. It's a lovely cream colored polish and it self levels great, but it's SO thin... almost not worth it but I do love the color so four coats and a lot of waiting between those coats. My pinky is painted in one medium coat of essie Good as Gold, a beautiful pale gold chrome that dries to a sort of satin finish that shows all bumps and ridges in my nail... yippee ;)

While waiting for the coats of cream to dry I made two decals on my not-for-culinary-use baking mat. Same procedure as always: paint two patches with normal top coat (I used OPI Top Coat). Stamp an image on it (in my case lovely flowery vines from UberChic Far East-01 using Good as Gold). Fill in the stamped picture with a small brush and nail polish (the red you see here, the gorgeous OPI Amore at the Grand Canal) and after all that has dried paint a coat of your base color on top so any bubbles that may appear when applying the decal are hidden. Fast forward about 45 minutes (while I was watching an episode of Limitless, the series that we are binge watching at the moment) and the decals were ready to be applied, which I did :)

Last but not least a stamp of the Chinese characters that were also on Far East-01, again using Good as Gold, and a coat of Seche Vite over all my nails but my pinky as I wanted to preserve the satin look.

And these are the polishes used in my manicure:
OPI It's in the Cloud, essie Good as Gold, OPI Amore at the Grand Canal

I'm going to say it right now: I'm in love with my nails! They turned out just as I had envisioned them in my head and I can't stop staring at them :) I wasn't sure if a more yellow leaning gold would look better but now that it's done I don't want to change a thing... not even add some holo! Making decals is rapidly becoming one of my favorite techniques and I love that it requires me to really focus on painting between the lines, which in turn helps me to relax and that of course is the main thing to do during the weekend ;)

What do you think? Does this work for the letter C? And do you like making decals yourself?
I'm facing an extremely busy week at work so chances are I won't be around until Friday or even Saturday... but if that's the case I'll be able to enjoy my cloisonné nails a little longer ;) Take care!

These are the manicures the other ladies came up with for the letter C:


  1. So gorgeous! I love Good As Gold. <3 Essie really should put out more chromes.

    1. Thank you :) Did you know I started looking at chromes because of your swatches? So I totally blame you for this manicure ;)

  2. It is sooo gorgeous. I haven't made any decals yet, but soon to come, you know I'm in a learning curve at the moment :D

    1. Thanks! I'm sure you're going to love making decals once you try it :)

  3. Absolutely stunning! I really love how soft and delicate this manicure looks and a brilliant idea too!

    1. Thanks, Ithi, I'm definitely going to revisit this manicure. It has gone straight to my top ten of favorite designs :)


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