One Tool, A Million Possibilities

The Haul - Mani shots, polish, nail vinyls, water decals, and cuticle oils from KBShimmer / Harry Potter Plates and XL stamper from Jolie Polish
The Haul – Mani shots, polish, nail vinyls, water decals, and cuticle oils from KBShimmer / Harry Potter Plates and XL stamper from Jolie Polish

I’ve been seeing some really amazing stamped nail art all over Instagram recently. Now I’ve had a stamper, scraper, and several plates since December 2014 and I’ve done some stamping in the past, but nothing too extensive. As I’ve been slowly building my plate and stamping polish stock (courtesy of Jolie Polish), I decided to go HAM last weekend and made a pretty large purchase of new plates and an XL stamper (again from Jolie Polish). In addition to this, I also made a pretty hefty purchase from KBShimmer. Both orders arrived yesterday – nail mail + Friday = YAAAS!

I’m obviously very excited about all of it and look forward to trying all the new things, but I was most excited to finally break out the Jolie Polish stamping polish that I got a month or two ago and use my brand new XL stamper.

Before getting into everything, I wanted to see how the new stamper worked. It was sticky and upon the first trial didn’t pick up the image. I did a quick google search to find out what was up. Well, apparently factories use some sort of non-stick chemical to make sure the stamping heads pop out of their mold, so before use, you’re supposed to wash them with just soap and water. I did that. The image still didn’t pick up. Then I saw something about using a nail file and roughing the stamping head up and I was like, “Woah, i’m not qualified to do this and I am not ready to ruin something I literally just got.” So, I didn’t do that.

For reference - my first two small, firm stampers next to the new XL stamper
For reference – my first two small, firm stampers next to the new XL stamper

Then, I read something about the pressure you use on the stamper – since this stamper is squishy, too much pressure could push out of the nooks in the plate and make a bad transfer or no transfer at all. This made sense to me; i had two small, firmer stampers that I was used to using more force on to pick up the image, so the same technique might not work with this particular squishy stamper. I used lighter pressure and the image picked up. It wasn’t great, but it worked and I was happy.

The tools, sans Nooks and Crannies
The tools, sans Nooks and Crannies

Being satisfied with my plate of choice and the stamper, I began to paint my nails first with Dream Polish Smooth Gem Base Coat in Tropical Mojito, followed by my base color, KBShimmer A Touch of Glass. I did two coats on both hands and was immediately unhappy with my application. It was a little streaky and uneven, but I thought that maybe adding a top coat (KBShimmer Clearly On Top Quick Dry Top Coat) would make it better. It did. Then I tried to clean up my nails way too soon and I ruined them, so I took all the polish off and started over. This time, everything went much better – I distributed the polish more evenly and I wanted a solid 10 minutes before cleaning up to ensure the polish was dry (enough).

I put Jolie Polish Nooks and Crannies around each of my nails to prep for the stamp and minimize the clean up (and prevent even more acetone from touching my dried out cuticles). Finally, on to the stamping. I used Jolie Polish Purpleberry Flower (stamping polish, mini) on the QA88 stamping plate (no longer listed on the Jolie Polish shop). I transferred different parts of the design to each of my nails.IMG_3390

There were certainly a few hiccups along the way. Sometimes the polish didn’t transfer great, so I’d have to do it again and clean off both the plate and stamper. For the stamper, the best way to do this turned out to be tape. Despite the label telling me not to, I did remove the transferred polish with acetone on a few occasions. Being that the acetone is corrosive, I figured this would be a good way to rough up the stamper without breaking out a file. From here on out though, I will be sticking with the tape. For the plate, a cotton round and the acetone worked great and that was it.

After the stamping was all said and done, I peeled of my liquid latex, did some minor touch ups with my trusty Jolie Polish clean up brush, and swiped on some of my new KBShimmer Peppermint cuticle oil.IMG_3392

While I love the way my nails look, this was definitely a great learning experience. I definitely still need to figure out the right amount of pressure to apply when using the XL stamper. Some nails came out better than others, but I think it gives this manicure a vintage feel. I also need to do some additional research on stamping plates: depending on the quality, the etchings may not be deep enough into the plate making for a poor transfer. Maybe this was something that happened and I just didn’t realize. Either way, I think I rocked this manicure and I am one step closer to mastering a tool with millions of possibilities.


TL;DR – The struggle is real, but my nails look baller as hell.


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