As promised, here is my stamping tutorial! I know I would have never jumped into stamping if not for tutorials posted by other nail lovers so I wanted to offer readers of this blog that same help. Stamping can sound complicated at first but I assure it's not only easy but fun! I should also warn you that it's completely addicting as proven by the numerous posts on this blog that involve stamping. So, I lets get to it!
First you will need image plates which are offered by several different brands including the well known Konad. I use MASH plates which are duplicates of many Konad designs for a much lower price. Bundle Monster is another popular one and also affordable. No matter which of these brands you pick this tutorial will still apply!
You will also need the following:
Scraper (you can also get away with an old credit card)
Nail polish remover
Q-tips or cotton pads (I prefer q-tips)
Paper towel or something to protect your work surface
Once you have your colors and design picked out you will need to apply your base coat (if you use one - you should!) and base color. I almost always use two coats but you can decide based on the color you’re using. Next I would recommend using a top coat (I use Seche Vite) on your base color before stamping. This will give you a bit of a buffer if you make any mistakes later allowing you to use a q-tip and some remover to take off the design without removing your base color. This has saved me several times!
When your nails are dry you're ready to stamp! The first picture shows how I typically set up my stamping tools. I always do this at my dining room table so I can spread out a bit and have a sturdy flat surface to work on. I use a sheet of paper towel folded in half to protect my table and I use q-tips with remover to clean the plate and stamper as I go to prevent the color from building up.
Step 1: Brush some nail polish onto the image of your choice. I usually only put the polish on half of the design (especially full nail images).
Step 2: Use your scraper (or old credit card) and firmly 'scrape' the polish across the image which will fill in the rest of the design. This is where the paper towel comes in handy as some polish will be pushed off the plate so be sure to protect your work surface! Sometimes you will need to scrape twice depending on how much polish you put on the design.
Step 3: Press your stamper firmly and evenly onto the design to pick up the image. Check your stamper to be sure the design transferred properly and isn't too thick or smudged. If it is, use remover and a q-tip to clean the stamper and start again. If it looks smudged on the stamper than it will on the nail as well.
Step 4: Line up the image with the side of your nail and gently but firmly roll the stamper from one side of the nail to the other. (This method is the best for full nail designs but some smaller designs can simply be pressed onto the desired location.)
Tada! You should now have your selected design stamped across your nail. Here is how my final result looked.
If you're happy with how it looks you can repeat the process for your other nails. You will get some of the stamp on your skin but it will remove easily with remover. If you made a mistake you can simply use the tip from above and remove it gently with a q-tip and nail polish remover while leaving your base color intact. If you do this I recommend adding a layer of top coat again before re-stamping. Then of course a layer of top coat over all your designs to keep them looking beautiful!
Important tip: As you stamp all your nails you will need to clean up the stamper and image plate as you go. I usually do two nails in a row before cleaning the plate but usually clean the stamper after each transfer. It's important to keep the color from building up on any of the tools so you get as clean of a design as possible. I recommend using q-tips instead of cotton pads since they tend to fall apart but it's up to your personal choice.
Picking your polish: The good news is you can use just about anything you want. Konad makes special stamping polishes that they recommend but you don't have to limit yourself to just those. Plenty of brands work very well with stamping; it's just trial and error and personal preference. I've used Zoya, Sally Hansen, OPI and Orly with great results so don't be afraid to try whatever brand you have in your collection!
As for color, the general rule is the more opaque the polish the better it will stamp but you won't know if it will work until you try. Play around with different combinations and see what works. There are so many choices and the designs you could make are just about endless. Play with your polishes and have fun with it. You just might surprise yourself and love something unexpected!
What I used: For the design in this tutorial I used Zoya Jolene as a base color and Sally Hansen Complete Manicure 'I Pink I Can'. I also used Zoya Anchor as my base and Seche Vite as my top coat. My image plate is m63 by MASH and my scraper and stamper are by Konad. You can also see my bottle of Zoya Remove+ and my cute pink q-tips (I told you I love pink!)
I hope this helps some of you jump into stamping or help if you're having issues. I'm by no means an expert but this is what works for me and I've had great results. Like anything else the more you practice the better you'll get and before you know it you will fly through the process in no time. Don't get discouraged by mistakes, we all make them. Just clean it up and start again. Sometimes you have to play around with how much polish you use on the image and the way you apply it to your nail. Overall, the steps in this tutorial should set you on the right path to making beautiful designs!