Hi everyone! I’m so excited that it’s the Fourth of July! Happy Independence Day to all of my USA readers!
I really love July 4th. It’s my favorite holiday of the year because, not only is it a national holiday with nice picnic food and fireworks, it also happens to be my birthday, which is pretty great. So of course I had to come up with a festive manicure for the occasion. I ended up with this sparkly design with a bunch of red, silver, and blue stars on a sheer background. It’s very cute, really sparkly, and quite festive. I’m so happy to have a lovely manicure on my favorite day of the year! Check it out:
This idea was the most popular among my friends and family of 4 different ideas I had going, so I executed it. I based it off of the Buzzfeed post of Hokuri nail salon designs (found here); one of the pictures is of “tiny fireworks”, which I turned into tiny patriotic stars. To make the stars, I used a stencil technique that I developed using sticker paper and a star-shaped hole punch.
I started off with three coats my favorite sheer French manicure pink: L’Oreal Wishful Pinking. Like I’ve said previously, it’s amazing! It’s a your-nails-but-better color with a smooth application, and a great drugstore price. My bottle has quite some mileage on it since I use it so often. I wore it alone for a whole day to ensure that it would be 100% dry by the time I wanted to do the stenciled stars (this much time isn’t necessary, though). Here is a photo of the color by itself:
For this manicure, I created a bunch of individual star stencils out of sticker paper and stuck them in random places on my nails. This is a technique I’ve used in the past to make other manicures (check out the maple leaf manicure in my gallery), so I know how to do it pretty well by now. I like to make and use stencils for nail art because they can make intricate-looking designs with good feature resolution, and they don’t require any complicated freehand techniques.
To make the stencils, I used a star-shaped hole punch to cut out stars from some sticky paper for mailing labels (Avery 8163, I think). The punch I have has a bunch of stars in a row, not just single stars, so I chose to punch the stars out in a line across the width of the paper. I then used a scissors to cut the line of stars away from the rest of the paper. This line of star outlines was what I needed to make the stencils. Here is what that step looked like:
You can probably see that there are two different sizes of stars that the punch can cut. I wanted the small stars only, so I cut around all of the small star outlines using the scissors. At this point, I had a bunch of individual star stencils to paint into. I peeled off the backings of the stars and stuck them onto my nails.
If you plan on trying this technique, make sure that the nail polish underneath is 100% dry before putting the stencils on. Otherwise, the polish underneath could peel off or dent. Also, make sure that the stencils are lying flat on the nail so that polish doesn’t seep underneath the stencil.
Once I got the stencils on my nails, I was ready to paint. I used Julep Scarlett (red), Essie Beyond Cozy (silver), and Sally Hansen Wavy Blue (blue). Using a small nail art brush, I painted inside each star one at a time with whatever color I wanted, making sure to get to the points of the star. I then waited 15-ish seconds for the polish to set, and then peeled the stencil off with some tweezers. 15 seconds is the time I’ve found to be the best for stenciling success. It’s long enough so that the nail polish doesn’t flood the area when the stencil is removed, while also not allowing the applied polish to dry so much that you peel it off with the stencil. It’s best to work one at a time so the timing doesn’t get out of whack.
After peeling off the stencils, I waited for each color to dry and then applied a top coat. The result is soooo cute! It’s patriotic while still looking birthday-like. I love it!