Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Polka Dot Nails Tutorial Part 1 - The Basics (warning picture heavy!)

Hello everyone, back again, this time with a tutorial as requested by those lovely ladies over at EyeGraffiti after I did these polka dot nails -  click here for link.

It was a while ago that I did those nails and after discussion with Phlox from Eyegraffiti, I decided to do a whole tutorial including how to place the dots. For the tutorial I used two contrasting colours rather than the black and matte as this is much easier to see (but see part 2 for tutorial with matte) .
For the left hand I adopted a 'staggered dotting method' and for the right hand a 'linear dotting method' - might trademark those ;-)  There is also a 'random method'.




Firstly we need to generally talk about what to use to create the dots on the nail, I personally use dotting tools that are available cheaply from EBay. (They only cost about £5 at the most and I prefer to pay slightly more than to order from China for cheaper, if they are already in the country no need to get more sent over!).  These have different sized ends depending on what you need.


Now if you don't have any dotting tools, you don't necessarily need them. I do a lot of dots so like them but if done occasionally try using the end of a bobby pin/kirby grip once unfolded, a pinhead, the end of a pencil or paintbrush, to be honest anything pointy that can be dipped in polish! 

So on with the tutorial..... (general hints & tips at end of post!)

Staggered method - Little finger:  (click to enlarge photos if needed.)

Stage 1 - After applying a basecoat add your base colour, this was a quick 2 coats but I would normally do 3. You can at this stage do a quick rough clean up, I did hence dry cuticles but at the end you'll clean up again and moisturise anyway.

Stage 2 - Place dots evenly spaced down the centre of the nail. Depending on the size dots or how many you want you'll need to choose the size of tool you need, I used a small/med one. (This meant I could have 3 'columns' on my little finger.) 


Stage 3 -  Off one side of the centre dots place another line of dots not next to but 'between' where the other dots are, try to keep the line from cuticle to tip straight.

Stage 4 - Repeat for other side. Little finger done!

 


Ring/middle and index fingers:

In order for the spacing between the dots to be consistent across nails you will need to think about the placing of the dots, if you were to do a line down the middle as in the little finger then it will cause them to be too spaced out if you did 3 columns or too packed if 5 columns. Therefore for these three fingers (which have roughly the same width) you will need to start off centre to do 4 lines/columns.

Stage 1 - Till you get practice it may be easier to do a line on a piece of paper as a centre marker, so you can see where to place the dots just off from this point.

Stage 2 Place your dots, it may be better to start from the tip and work back to cuticle for this first line if doing this, makes it easier!


Stage 3 - Complete the dots, best to do one side of the nail first and then work on the other. Sometimes it can be helpful to turn your hand by 90 degrees to dot, a different perspective can help with the spacing. Start to dot on the other side, this line you will find will also be off centre if spaced correctly.


Stage 4 -  Finish off the dots on the other side. As you can see the dot near the cuticle has gone over the blue, but once cleaned up at end of manicure this will look ok, if this dot wasn't placed there, that part of nail will look a bit bare and odd! Some of the dots are not perfect but at end of post I will discuss how to avoid messing up.


Thumb:

Now the thumb being wider still than the other fingers will need more columns, so you can go back to doing a centre line and treating it like the little finger, except adding an extra column each side.

Stage 1 - Place dots down centre keeping evenly spaced to tip.

Stage 2 - Complete dots on one side, doing an extra line of dots. 



Stage 3 - Finish the thumb by dotting the other side and do your other hand!


Wait for all dotting to completely dry, this will take a while if the dots are quite raised due to amount of polish. Once dry you can then clean up and add a topcoat to smooth out and give shine. It's best to 'float' the topcoat onto nail, i.e  not let brush touch the actual dots/nail but let the topcoat flow over the nail.  After adequate drying time, wash hands to get rid of any polish remover residue and then throughly moisturise/use cuticle oil or as I do - both!


Linear method:

For this method it's pretty much the same as the staggered method when doing the spacing for lines except the PLACEMENT of the dots is different, you simply place the dots adjacent to the other dots and not across and 'between'. (The little fingers spacing is a bit awry! Oops.)






Random method:

The last dotting method is of course randomly al over the nail, place the dots wherever you feel like it and any size or colour (excuse colour in first 2 photos, next 2 in sunlight!) Start with base coat and build up different colours, as many or little as you like. You can add topcoat at the end but for this method you can see it sort of removes the 'texture' of the dots. If not using a topcoat be prepared to wait for a while to dry! 

 


Helpful hints:

1) When using polish to dot for the nails, I prefer to decant a bit of polish onto another surface, trying to dip into a polish bottle is messy and most dotting tools wont fit! Below on the left you can see I have decanted into an old plastic pot lid, which I then prop up so the whole end of the dotter can be dipped into the polish. I also prefer to decant little and often so you are not wasting any of the polish.

 

2) Try visualising where the dot will go before dotting the polish, believe me this helps!


3) Make sure the dots are of a similar size to keep consistent, although if slightly different it shouldn't show too much on the nails, unless taking macro photo's. You can see below that on the right hand side of photo I did a dot that was a bit too small and went back over it, it looks a mess! If you need to go over it make sure you get it perfectly central over the previous dot and don't press too hard or you will leave a 'well'.


4) When dotting make sure there is enough polish on the dotter but not TOO much, you will run the risk of leaving a trail of polish as seen below. This can also happen if the polish is too dry and it has gone stringy.


5) Regularly clean the dotting tool between every few dots (on kitchen roll or cotton wool pad) to prevent too much polish building up - again this can lead to disparity in dot size or trailing of stringy old polish. 

6) To reiterate earlier, if you have time ( which you will need if you want to dot neatly) wait for as long as possible for the dots to dry before adding topcoat or you will streak the dots and ruin the nail. When you do add a topcoat 'float' the topcoat onto the nail just using to brush to guide rather than brush it on, again this helps prevent streaking of dot.

Now you know how to do dotting, you can try all sorts of colour combinations, there really are no limits apart from your imagination!

I hope some of you have found this interesting and helpful, well at least for the new to nail polish amongst you. Thankyou for looking and don't forget to see part 2 coming soon, which will show the tutorial using matte topcoat (but only on one nail) and a few other different ideas. There will also be some links to my favourite dotty manicures from some of my favourite bloggers! xxx


EDIT SEE PART 2 CLICK LINK HERE: PART 2

49 comments:

  1. This is a great post!!!! You know I love my dots, and this post definitely gave me some things to think about!!! Thanks so much <3

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    1. Thankyou Emily, glad it's been of use to you. x

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  2. Fantastic tutorial! Your dotty ways are amazing =)

    Nazia xxx

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  3. Great tutorial!! Thanks for the tips. Your dots are so even and neat!

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    1. Tankyou Marisa, I think taking your time helps! It's not one to rush before a night out!

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  4. Great post, I like your colour combo on the random method. I must give it a try x

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    1. Thankyou Tee Dee! I used Illamasqua Gamma as base and then Illamsqua's Nomad/Collide and Jo'mina for the dots. x

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  5. Fab post Esther!! Really great!! I'm going to give some of these a go :-)

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    1. Dots would look amazing on your fab nails Jo!

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  6. Wow I love these, love the multicolours! :D

    http://lucyywrites01.blogspot.co.uk/
    Lucy
    xx

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  7. This is an AMAZING post! I love it. Thankyou :)

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    1. Thankyou for reading it, and hope it's helpful!

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  8. Loveee this tutorial!! My staggered polka dot mani used to look really strange because I didn't think of the spacing lol!!

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    1. Thankyou, hope it will help you do more doting in the future!

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  9. GTFO Esther, your dotting is always so bloody perfect! I'll have to study this tutorial daily now. ^_~

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    1. Thankyou Rie! It takes a while to do absolutely spot on (!!! Groan!!!) but I do love them.

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  10. This is so AWESOME! I always have had trouble doing dots. You do this so well and I just love the colors you used. My favorite is the neon orange with the green dots. May I ask what orange nail polish you used? :)

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    1. Thankyou Nancy, the orange is Illamsqua Gamma, a long time lemming of mine recently-ish acquiired, the other colours are Collide, Nomad, and Jo'Mina.x

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  11. I need dotting tools asap! I have tried it before with a wooden stick a few times, but just randomly started putting dots so it looked like a mess. Great tip of starting with one line in the centre!

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    1. Oh you should get some Silke, your nails will look even more lovely!

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  12. Brilliant tutorial! I usually go for the random-blob-it-everywhere method, but next time I want dots I'm definitely going to try and get some kind of order in there ;-) Bookmarking! xx

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    1. Thankyou Sharon, I want to see dot's on your blog!x

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  13. I am loving the two different dotting combos! very cool!

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  14. Very helpful post with amazing detail! I still don't think I have a steady enough hand to pull it off, but I just might try :).

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    1. Thankyou Tina, I was worried it might be too long, but then on the other hand it's ok if you want all the info in one place, the next post will be just on different looks, this was the basics!

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  15. I love love love this post, Esther! Finally I know your dotting secret ;)
    As soon as I saw those tools I went on eBay to get a closer look. Will definitely give this a try although you make it looks so easy! Oh, just received some micro marbles the other day, so think I'll give the fish egg manicure a try...
    Phlox

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    1. I'm so pleased it is ok for you Phlox, I hope I didn;t miss anything out for you, if so let me know & I will include. I must get me some more of the beads for more fish egg manicures too! x

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  16. I love dots! Great post!

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  17. Replies
    1. Thankyou Victoria, glad it was helpful.

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  18. Fab post Esther, loving the colour combos too :D

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    1. Thankyou Jo, easier to see in these colours for the tutorial. :-)

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  19. Esther, I really like the beige/navy blue combo!!!! That is one I haven't tried yet! Really pretty!
    ... and your dots are so precise!

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    1. Thankyou Marta, it was difficult to capture the true colour of the blue, but it's more of a deep blue to violet colour. I do want to find a nice nay colour though. Think Models Own do one. :-)

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  20. Thank you so much for doing this! It's a great tutorial, and now I have the perfect post to point people to when they have questions :)

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    1. Thankyou, I love all your dotty manicures, and it means a lot for you to send people my way for this tutorial! :-)

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  21. Thanks so much for this, definitely gunna give this a go now!

    Jayde x

    www.badromancejayde.blogspot.co.uk

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    1. Thankyou Jade, glad it was helpful to you , and sorry for late reply!

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  22. Great tutorial, thank you Esther!!

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  23. I have now bookmarked this post for future reference. Thank you for taking the time to do this, Esther!! :D The photos are especially useful.

    PS. Is it weird that I've actually had more luck getting perfectly round dots using the flat end of a bamboo skewer than actual dotting tools? Hahaha! ;)

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    1. Thankyou Carmela, I enjoyed doing this so much and have had fab feedback! I never thought to use the end of a bamboo skewer & I'm sure it probably works really well, I will try it! x

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  24. what a great tutorial!!!!! I bought my dotting tools but cant seem to get perfect round dots :( hahaha Maybe I just need practice! this is very helpful!

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