Thursday, February 20, 2014

Stars and Stripes for Sochi

I try not to post two days in a row—I only have time for a few posts per week and I like to spread them out a bit more—but this week is special! So I'm making an exception.

Anyone who's followed me for a while might know that I'm a big hockey fan. I generally follow NHL hockey, but right now there's Olympic hockey happening, too. The US women's team is playing Canada for the gold medal today (as I'm writing this, in fact), and the men's team plays Canada tomorrow morning for a chance to go to the final. So, needless to say, it's a big day for USA hockey, and I couldn't let the opportunity to do some USA hockey–themed nail art pass me by!

When I first started kicking around the idea of doing some USA hockey nail art, I knew from the beginning that more than just doing a red, white, and blue design, I really wanted to capture the three main elements of the jerseys Team USA is wearing in Sochi this year: the crest on the front, the thick red and white armbands, and the shiny stars across the shoulders.

Team USA hockey jersey

Conveniently, all these elements lend themselves really well to nail art!

I'm going to write out all the steps I used in a numbered list to help keep things organized. It may still be somewhat long-winded, though, so if you're not interested in the process, just hit the jump (link below the sharing buttons)/scroll down for more pictures!

  1. I started with a base of Zoya Purity on my thumb and ring finger and a base of China Glaze First Mate on the others. I also added a coat of Sally Hansen Big Matte top coat to the blue nails to prep them for later.
  2. Once the white was dry, I taped off my ring finger using striping tape and added tenoverten Carmine for the red.
  3. After I peeled off the tape, I used a small nail art brush to add First Mate to the lower section of my ring finger. In the past I probably would have waited until the red was dry and then taped off that lower section to make sure I got a clean line, but I was feeling impatient, so I tried it this way instead. I'm actually pretty happy with how it looks!
  4. Next, I taped off the bottom half of my thumbnail with scotch tape and added Carmine there as well. It looked like it still needed something more, so I added a coat of China Glaze Ruby Pumps, too, for a little sparkle.
  5. While all the taped stuff was drying, I tackled the blue nails. I used a shiny clear polish (Glisten & Glow HK Girl top coat) and Nailz Craze NC05 plate to stamp on the stars. I had no clue when I started whether stamping with the shiny top coat would even work, so I'm really pleased that it did! If you want to try this, however, I have a caveat: you have to be FAST with your stamping. HK Girl and other top coats like it dry super quick under normal circumstances, so when you scrape them down to that very thin layer on your stamping plate, they will literally dry within a few seconds. If you're like me and move just a hair too slowly the first time because you're trying to be careful, you'll probably get the image onto to your stamper okay... but then when you try to transfer it to your nail, you'll end up with some very unattractive half-dried flaky things stuck to your nail. So sad! But after I learned that lesson and adjusted my technique accordingly, things went a lot more smoothly.
  6. Finally, I topped my thumb and ring finger with Big Matte to match the look of the other nails.
Whew, I think that's it! Nothing too terribly difficult, I really—just lots of steps and it did take a while after factoring in drying time, etc.

I think biggest disappointment with this manicure is that I actually didn't have just the right blue—First Mate is close, but not quite dark enough... and it may even have a little too much yellow in it. It seems I have a new polish-hunting mission now!

A friend also pointed out to me after I'd finished everything that I probably could have achieved a similar look by just stamping the stars onto the matte base using First Mate again, and... lol, yep! It's true! I probably could have. I kind of wish I'd realized that before I started, to be honest. I haven't stamped my right hand yet, so I might still give that a try and see how the results compare. But even if it does turn out the same (or better), I'm still really happy with this version and glad I pushed myself to come up with an idea and then actually execute it.

Here's a closeup of the stars, since they're pretty subtle:

And here's a quick combo image of the manicure and the jersey that might be good for Pinterest, etc:

Thanks for looking, everyone! And GO USA HOCKEY!


  1. OH MY GOODNESS! These are stinkin' adorable! I love your matte star nails! <3 These are the cutest Olympic nails I've ever seen. <3


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...