A Happy Peach

Things that make my heart smile…

Objet D’Art OR Art You Take With You…


Welcome participants, welcome, welcome, please feel free to take a seat where ever you like. I am so glad you could make it here today. This is actually a survey course on an art form which can easily be dismissed by someone with a narrow definition of art. Our canvas is actually quite diminutive but the opportunity for creativity is unlimited. I am of course speaking of the humble nail, the one attached to your fingers. Please take out your orientation syllabus so that we may discuss the outline of courses.

Fundamentals Survey (Nail 101)

Before you study technique you should consider the basic media which we will be using. This course focuses on the fundamentals of nails which include maintenance and an introduction to the proper basic tools. These tools include:

  • Nail files for shaping
  • A nail block and/or buffer for preparing the surface
  • Base Coat (my personal favorite is OPI’s nail envy, it helps keep your nail healthy and maintains the color really well)
  • Nail Polish (quality, formula, application technique to be discussed in Intermediate Course)
  • Top Coat
There are additional products to be considered such as cuticle oils, clippers for a variety of uses, and creams to use in between coats to maintain a healthy nail. You should also consider a healthy diet, as the nail is one of the first places you can tell if there is something amiss with you health wise.

Intermediate Course (Nail 201)

Once you have established a fundamental understanding of nail maintenance we will delve into the understanding the media further. This course addresses color theory and formula with respect to quality and application.  Please review Professor Eugenia’s notes on products available. Her beautifully worded lecture notes and enticing photos will help you to make better choices when it comes to product acquisition. To read her findings please link here.

Knowledge of the following terms are necessary for you to fulfill your requirements:

  • Self Leveling – once the polish is applied it will, as if by magic, begin to level itself off so you have a nice surface finish. Not all polishes have this attribute, but it is the hallmark of high quality.
  • Streaky – a very common problem with pastel shades, when applied it takes on an uneven appearance, with some streaks that are more opaque than others. Please note this issue is not restricted to pastels, streakiness can happy to any polish.
  • Glitter – light reflective particles which have a sparkling quality (fun happy shiny goodness :)).
  • Metallic – nail polish formula which mimics a metallic finish on nails.
  • Shatter – opaque nail polish, which is traditionally applied over another colored polish, that shrinks while drying and breaks creating a shattered look on nails.
  • Cream – opaque traditional formula, their color is the main attraction here and nothing has been added in the way of shimmer, sparkle, glitter, etc.
  • Jelly – a more translucent formula, the intent of this formula is to distribute a sheer color and allows for a visible nail line (VNL).
  • Frost – this formula which has a shimmer effect when applied.
  • Holographic – this formula when viewed dried should have a 3D holographic effect, allowing for colors shifting (usually through use of glitter or duochrome pigments).
  • Matte – this can come either as a polish or a top coat which dries to a matte finish and makes any of your current nail polishes matte.
  • Pearle – this formula will have a pearl like finish.

Most major producers tend to be 3 Free. These nail polishes boast being less toxic by excluding the following chemicals: Dibutyl Phthalate (DBP) Formaldehyde, and Toluene. For one self-professed nail polish fanatics viewpoint on 3 Free click on this link to All Lacquered Up.

Advance Course (Nail 202)

Now that you understand the tools available to you we focus on application. You should also have your basic application skills mastered before we focus on advanced design. This course introduces new techniques. You may find these tools helpful:

  • Dotter
  • Paint brushes
  • Glitter, flakes, and other shiny bits
  • Acrylic Paint


You can start with a french manicure, but make it interesting with your color choice.


There are a variety of patterns you can paint such as flowers


Or go crazy and make your own pattern


Panda’s anyone?


Use whatever you see that seem interesting. Your imagination is the limitation (I really wanted to rhyme right there.
This course includes a field trip to the Mental For Polish Gallery which houses most of independent artist Shona’s work, please make sure your release of liability forms are signed. Click here for link. For additional extra credit please visit Sophy Robson’s, she’s London’s nail guru of the moment. She is also collaborating with Sephora.

Master Course (Nails 402)

This course will fulfill graduate level studies. Your composition will go beyond flat and become 3D. This style of nail art is popular in Asian countries and the products are available online. One of the biggest names in nail art in Japan is Eriko Kurosaki. Kurosakisan not only does kawaii but she also creates elegant designs. To view her website click here, please note it is in Japanese, but many browsers, like Chrome, translate. She also runs a school, but I think you would need to know Japanese.

Functionality may take a back seat to personal style and expression in some cases. In fact the trend of extreme embellished nail art (I call it extreme in some cases) has been covered by news programs.

Anything can inspire you, and you can be creative with you choice of products

This was an interesting interview which provides insight for artist who want a challenge and is interested in nail sculptures.

There are a lot of products available for individuals who wants to start tinkering in 3D nail design, like fimo clay pieces (this links to Etsy sellers) and crystals.

Or you can buy them already made from artists, for instance at the Etsy shop of Never Too Much Glitter. She is an American in Tokyo studying nail design, want to learn more about her, check out her blog here.

End Notes

This actually took me a while to compile, and may have been better served broken into sections. However I really want to put together a posting/orientation that paid tribute to the gals (and guys) who are interested in this sort of artwork.  There is an art and a dedication involved with everyone who follows it. And it really is one of the most interesting way to express yourself, because you have a great deal of control. I hope it was interesting for everyone. Let me know what you thought of if you have any suggestions. OK, the instructor needs a nap.

14 thoughts on “Objet D’Art OR Art You Take With You…

  1. This was such a innovative post, I did gasp at those pointed talons/weapons of minute destruction on the manicurist at the end!

    • Thanks 😀 It took me a while.

      They are talons, and they make me think of those 80s vampy asian women in movies with those blue black bobs and cheongsam dresses split up the side. I bet they would do real damage, yikes!!!!

  2. I get my nails professionally done with tips and french white and pink colour. They’re addictive!

    • Ooooohhhh, absolute classic. I never liked getting my nails done. I’m not sure why. But my friends love it, it’s such a luxury. I think because I like to do them, so it’s sort of a joy that I would be depriving myself of when I have it done.

  3. aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa weapons of mass destruction! I can’t grow nails like those. 😮 D! U sure are keeping an eye on everything freak! Very detailed post

    • Haha…my interests are quite vast I suppose.

      The nails are gel, so they’re not natural, but I guess there are some folks with the ability to keep them shaped like that naturally.

  4. Thanks for this…I am always looking for ways to come up with designs for my nails that I can do myself…Though I think I’ll leave those sharp nails alone! Lol…I’ll stick to the 401 designs!

    • You are quite welcome. There are so many types of nails so everyone can find something new. I myself can’t see too much stuff on my nail or having them that sharp. I have my moments when I am so clumsy (although few and far between), it could be dangerous so why take the risk. Plus everyday tasks may seem uncomfortable. Yikes….

  5. Such a great, helpful post! You know, all this time I didn’t know exactly what “self leveling” meant. Had an idea but nice to get it cleared up. I’m in awe when I watch those nail art vids but know that I am far too lazy to ever aspire to master level. But props to you and all the knowledgeable nail pros out there!

    • Thanks, I was hoping that it would be helpful. There’s so much to it now, I think it’s great. We even have our own lingo, yeah, sometimes a new phrase or acronym comes along and I am left scratching my head. I figured I couldn’t be the only one. Like with the holographic nail polishes (aka holos), when I first heard of them I was siting there looking at it thinking it looked cool, but I wasn’t sure why. I kept looking and researching to try and figure it out.

      There is so much out there and the more I get into it, the more I fall in love with it. It’s such a cool art form to me.

  6. Oh.My.Lord…..Danielle, kudos on such a detailed and informative post and thank you my friend, for that warm shout-out…..Profesor Eugenia, indeed!! Lol!! You basically encapsulated the ABC’s of all things nail polish, then added in all the extra little bits too! I loved the newspaper mani the best, as that’s a very do-able look and probably the easiest of the bunch too. Personally, Im not into nail art for myself, although I really admire those who do it so incredibly well. As to the more 3D nail looks, to me, they are more like tiny works of art and should be admired as such…..especially in a gallery of sorts! Loved this!

    • Thanks so much for saying that Eugenia, Ph.D. in Nailology. It took me a little while to compile the whole thing. I didn’t even think it would have though, the thing is that I kept starting and stopping. But every time I came back I would think of something new. And after I posted I thought of more things. But I think that’s part of the daunting task of writing about something you love, it’s never quite good enough and there is always something you want to change/add on.
      I know what you mean, some of the nail art seems so beautiful, but sometimes we change our minds so often it seems like a shame to take it off. I liked the vintage rose pattern myself. But I’ve been trying to figure out how I can incorporate lace into my mani. I figured that I can cut pieces and apply with a top coat and seal it in with a topcoat. But how to cut it is the thing. I think so much thought goes into it that it’s such a great process.

  7. I want those nailsssss!
    I can never grow my nails like that.
    I try so hard but always end up breaking them. 😦

    • Oh you should try OPI’s Nail Envy, it makes your nails so strong. I also like this brand called Perfect Formula. It makes this Gel Coating and it also has vitamins. It’s super good. I break mine too if I don’t take care of it. Like if I change polishes a lot or don’t use a nourishing base and if I don’t have enough calcium. Then it’s harder to keep them long.

      And if you want the easier way out have the gels done. I’ve heard they’re great.

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