CHRISTMAS NAIL ART: Black & White Gradient Strings Lights Nails

by - December 09, 2021

Last year, I accidentally stumbled on to what has become a sort of signature design for me when I did these Black & White Holo Snowflake French Nails. Since then, I've done several versions of this mani for various themes and occasions, but they continue to be one of my all time favorite nail art designs I've ever done. This year, the urge to create them exactly as I did them last year was strong, but I managed to resist and put together something that starts out the exact same but moves in a different direction. I mean, it's sort of a perfect canvas for all kinds of looks, so I definitely don't mind leaning into that. 

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The base polish that I used for this mani is officially one of my all time, ride or die favorite nail polishes... and it was extremely limited edition and is now basically impossible to find. OPI's Robots Are Forever is from a their Tokyo Collection from a couple of years ago and it's a sheer white polish packed full of silver flakes and it just gives the most beautiful, delicate twinkly white sheer base. Honestly, I will probably only bright it out for special occasions at this point because I'm at about half a bottle and I don't want it to be gone for keeps. Feel me?

For this mani, I applied one coat of Robots Are Forever to all of my nails and let them dry. For the gradient, I used a technique that I like when I want to get a gradient type of look at the tip of my nail without actually blending the base polish with the tip color. On my makeup sponge, I applied a strip of black/gunmetal linear holo polish and then directly below it a couple of strips of clear polish. Doing it this way, you get a nice smooth blend and you don't have to worry about formulas that don't blend smoothly together. I did two passes of sponging to get the desired blend and opacity. 

For the stamping, I wanted to keep it simple and generally confided towards the tip of the nail. I used this curling string light image from the Uberchic Beauty Holiday Spirit Stamping Plate, which will always be a must have for me specifically because of this particular image. I decided to do alternating red and green lights, so I grabbed for a couple of chunkier holo polishes that I knew would have a really solid impact even thought the bulbs are so small. I used a small dotting tool to fill them in and then let them dry down until they were dry to the touch but not brittle. Next, I applied a thin layer of sticky base coat to all of my nails, giving it a minute to dry down to tacky before I transferred the image. I really tried to play with the direction and portion of the image that I was using for each nail both so that there was a sense of continuation and also so that each nail was entirely unique.

Once I was happy with the stamping, I sealed it in with a water based top coat. Next, I followed with a glitter smoothing top coat, which I find really helps to smooth out the lumps and bumps that you can get from reverse stamping. Finally, I finished with a generous layer of quick dry gloss top coat and voila!

All Products Used
OPI - Robots Are Forever
Whats Up Nails - Neither Noir
Starrily - Infrared
Bluebird Lacquer - The Ryan King 2.0
Orly Bonder Base Coat
Maniology Smudge Free Top Coat
Glisten & Glow Glitter Grabber Top Coat
Cuticula Limitless Top Coat
Pueen Latex Tape Liquid Peel Off Cuticle Guard
Uberchic Holiday Spirit (Christmas-01) Stamping Plate
Whats Up Nails Magnified Clear Stamper
Born Pretty Store Nail Art Brush

I have to admit, this one doesn't live up to the inspiration mani for me, but I do love the way it turned out. I also really like the red and green shimmery lights - I just love Christmas lights in general, both in real life and on my nails, so no one will be surprised by that. But yeah, I like it. Also, I suspect that this particular stamping image will be one that gets brought back in some way pretty much every year because it's just super versatile and pretty!

Be sure to keep checking back here on the blog for new holiday themed nail art designs every day in December up until Christmas Eve and head over to @pblnails on Instagram to check out video tutorials for all of my nail art.

Thanks for reading!

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