I've been stamping my nails for almost a year now, and I want to share some tips&tricks with anyone who could benefit. I'm by no means an expert and I see much better and creative konad manicures every day, but I also watch tutorials time to time and see some details which could be misleading. If you've came across one of those tutorials and ever wondered why your images didn't come out as they should be, maybe this post could be helpful to enlighten some points.
- Try to use a plastic scraper. If you don't own the Konad plastic scraper, use a plastic card, like an expired credit card. I don't own the plastic scraper, either, and never had issues with a plastic card. Cut one card in half and there you have a scraper. At least now you're not going to stratch your plate.
- Take out your desired polish and dab some on one end of the desired image. You don't have to go all over the image with polish. It's a waste of product, since most of the polish is not going to be used. Scrape all the way along the image, and the polish will be evenly spread. You can even grab some of the excess polish on your image plate holder with the scraper, and run it all over the image to cover it again. Note: The last one works best with Konad polishes. Other polishes have different nature, they dry quickly. But painting all over the image is not necessary with any polish I've used. Of course if you wanna waste product, that's your choice =)
- Don't hold the scraper vertically, and don't push hard to scrape. Instead, hold the scraper in a 45 degree angle, and lightly scrape the plate. If you push too hard, you'll wipe away the polish from inside the image and the image will be gappy and not complete.
- Get your stamper. The stamper should be clean, but not wet with polish remover. Press one side of the stamper on the plate, and gently roll to cover the whole image. Don't go down directly and push hard on the image. Push the stamper firmly on the image, make sure all the image is covered with the surface of the stamper. If your stamper is clean but doesn't pick the image, rub its surface with a buffer, or like me, with a rough cloth. This will make the polish stick to the stamper.
- Put your nail on a flat surface, and push the stamper again, firmly, in a rolling motion. You don't have to push too hard, just be sure that you roll all over the nail, and only once. Don't push down from the top, don't go in rocking motion, just roll gently but firmly. Pushing too hard might double the design, pushing too light might leave it on the stamp. You will find the right pressure after a few times. Rocking the image might misalign the image, and pushing down can leave some parts blank, failing to transfer the edges.
- The image should be on your nail now. If the image is not complete on the stamper in the first place, start over. Practise until you can transfer the image to the stamper. If you transfer well on the stamper, there is no reason for you to be unable to transfer on the nail =)
- After stamping the nail, don't wipe the stamper with remover. Just stamp the stamper on the hard plastic surface of the plate holder, and the image should come off. Wiping regularly makes the stamper surface slick and reduces friction, which is key to transferring images. Wipe only when bits of polish won't come off.
- Clean the image plate with a cotton ball when images start to get "clogged". This happens mostly with other brands, since they dry early. Konad polishes don't dry on their own, I can go through ten nails without wiping most of the time. But with other brands, you need to wipe regularly. Make sure you dry the plate with a cotton ball afterwards.
- There are different polishes that work with Konad, but if you're using a polish other than Konad special, you'll have to rush. Other brands dry very quickly, especially with layers this thin. After dabbing the polish, you literally have to scrape, push the stamper and transfer within 3 seconds. But this shouldn't be very hard after finding your own rhythm. But I recommend starting with konad polishes, as you can be slower with them and that they're more forgiving. But even with konad polishes, don't wait about 10 seconds. Because they dry after a while, too.
- First make a decision in your head, then do the stamping. If you wait with the stamp in your hand, unable to decide where to put a pattern, you will most likely end up with half of the dried image, and hate the thing altogether =)
- If you made a mistake, grab a cotton ball and soak it with remover. Go lightly over the design. It should remove, as long as you have topcoat underneath. If you don't put on topcoat before stamping, I advise you to start doing so, because it could be a life saver. After finishing the manicure, you will put another topcoat, which will hide the dullness, so don't worry.
- In order to avoid smudging, use Konad topcoat, or if you want to use your regular topcoat, just get a big amount on your brush, and spread evenly, from root to tip, without touching the brush on the nail. Go with light strokes, and only once over every section of nail. Let dry, and then do a proper topcoat.
- Finally, don't give up! It's not rocket science, it's a very easy and fun thing to do, and possibilities are endless =) I once saw a woman who tried to return her professional salon kit, because she thought she couldn't do this. She had tried every single color, and she didn't even clean the plates, she was just demanding her money back. I was eyeing her like O_o with only 3 first plates and 2 mini polishes in my hands. I mean everybody can do this. Just sit at it for an hour, and try, and don't give up. I remember my first time =) It was a fiasco! But I got the hang of it and now it's one of my favorite leisure activities =)
Bonus tips from readers:
- If you see parts of the image sticking up off your nail right after stamping, carefully press them on the nail with as little contact as possible before you proceed. (This happens with non-Konad polishes, like Romantiques.) These parts will cause your image to smear when you use the topcoat. Don't rub, just lightly press them down.
- If you haven't mastered Konad yet, play with it over old mani's. Nothing frustrates more than ruining a good mani. (Yeah, me too =) And not only try the stamping, but practice putting a topcoat over it, too. Go crazy, use bold designs, regular polishes, experiment with angles, pressure, double stamping etc.
Over an old mani it doesn't matter what you do but it can give you inspiration and it helps you find a way that works for you without the frustration of ruining a perfectly good mani.