These are the tools I use for my art. I was going to split them up into detailing and basic but…they’re kinda interchangeable so now they’re just all lumped.
I don’t use fake nails, and they’re quite unhealthy for you (not that polish is any better, still…), but they’re good for practicing or if you want to make swatches. I got mine at Dollarama, $1 for 100 pcs. so definitely very affordable and they’re good for my purposes. I can’t say how good they are to actually wear, but I don’t put a lot of faith in things from there…you make the call.
Wooden stick things…(if you know the real name for these please let me know)
The one on the right is used to sculpt 3D nail art. The one on the left is a tool I made to capture gems. Basically I just took the stick and put a tiny bit of sticky tac on the end. If you’ve ever tried to get gems with a tweezer and try to place it perfectly where you want it…you know how frustrating it is. Now they do make professional ones that kind of look like a HB pencil, though I can’t think of why you would ever need to sharpen it. This cost me nothing to make. I just took some tac from my dad’s tool kit, and I got the sticks for free from getting the 3D clay. You can probably find the sticks at any craft store, or you could use a dried out pen.
They’re great. Get one. You can use them on anything from brows, to fake lashes, to nail stickers. The first time I went to get them I was surprised at how much they cost. Like $15 for tweezers? are you kidding me? Don’t get those. Well, get those but get them on sale. The really cheap ones don’t close properly and when you’re working on something as small as whats going on your nails you need precision. Don’t go over $5 for these.
If you going to do nail art. YOU MUST HAVE ONE OF THESE. There are tons of videos on youtube on how to make your own. I got mine as a gift, but from what I hear you can get the whole variety pack of sizes online for about $5.
Contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to have one. But they’re nice. Real nice. A dotting tool can actually do most of the artwork, but they’re good for drawing lines or detailed things. Cutepolish has a video that shows you how to make one. Frankly I don’t like the idea of cutting the brush, and limiting the use of that color. With a brush, every single polish you have in your collection can be used. And DEFINITELY DO NOT buy those stripper nail polishes. Waste of money. Get a nail brush, and you’re covered. Again mine were a gift, and I haven’t heard anything about what they cost. But you can check out you local craft store for normal paint brushes.
If you like shiny objects, these will make you gush. But they make you very sad when they fall off (which they will!). Gems differ greatly in price and in quality. Don’t get them from retail stores, they’re either crappy, or very expensive and usually both. Ebay has a great selection, but the thing about ordering online is that it’s difficult to judge the quality. You’ll just have to try around and find the right supplier. They should cost about $1 for 100 pcs for standard 2.4mm. Obviously this will change with size. I’ve only gotten it once from ebay and they were decent, but I don’t remember the store name. I generally get mine wholesale, cause I’m cheap like that and I like shiny things so I get lots.
One thing to remember is to NEVER apply a top coat on top of a gem. You lose the shininess that comes from having multiple facets. I usually like to set it into still-wet polish and apply the top coat around it.
This one as you can see is from Sephora, around $7-8. Mostly for the “oops I thought my flesh was nail”. I…don’t really like it. I find a Q-tip with some acetone works. Or you could take a shower.
Be careful about the polishes you mix, I would only mix the ones of the same brand. This is also good for making glitter polish for detailing (see “Let it Glow” post). Also good for holding acetone/water, and a couple drops of the colors you’re using when you’re painting.
Mostly just used for making that fading effect. Some kinds of artwork require this as well. Again, Dollarama, the white ones are $1.50 for 32 pieces, the one on a stick came in a set of 5 for $1.
I won’t tell you how to use it, find it on youtube. One tip though is to use a credit card kind of thing. You could use an old membership card (I know you have one). Don’t use your actual credit card obviously, and don’t use the metal scraper that comes with it. Nail polish get stuck in it and it’s messy and hard to clean. It also has a chance of damaging the stencil. Also it’s not safe, for some dumb reason, they make it really sharp, I cut myself the first time I used it. (See “Bada Bing, Bada Boom”)
Microbeads, glitter of all shapes and sizes, nail tape, 3D clay stickers. I’m thinking about flocking powder, frankly I don’t know how I feel about having fuzzy nails…
Accessories vary a lot in price. I mostly get mine online, at wholesale stores, and of course, at Dollarama. Daiso has some pretty good stuff too. I don’t like spending a lot of money on accessories because they’re the things that come off really easily.
Last item! Nail glue! You’ll only need it for accessories and gems (though now that I think about it, gems are accessories too…). I got this kind from Hong Kong, and it’s worked well for me. I like the fact that it’s a brush so I can apply it precisely where I want it. I’ve tried the ones that come in a tube…no.
Whoo, that was a loong list, my fingers actually hurt from typing…stay tuned for how to use these on actual designs! and maybe, just maybe, one day I’ll do some videos…..