Let me first warn you guys that this is going to be a very brief, half-assed Nail Friday. Between Pina Colada sips, determined yet unsuccessful sloth hunts in the jungle, and intense frustration recalling the actors in the movie “The Stand” without any internet connection or phone Gs, I barely had time to think about nails while I was in Panama this week. My boyfriend’s sister (Rachel – hand model for this post) was able to take care of my utter lack of creativity with her intense desire to have polka-dotted nails. Luckily, I knew this before coming down, so I bought a nail kit specifically for making perfect polka dots.
For this tutorial you will need a dotting tool kit like the one I bought (or something with a round tip such as a pen), a base polish color and a polka dot polish color. Seche Vite fast-drying top coat is just implied at this point. I ended up giving Rachel my own Seche Vite, not widely available in Panama, because I could not imagine her living another day without it. And if that’s not enough to get you to go buy some, check out this entire article devoted to the amazingness that is Seche Vite by our very own Jessica Barclay.
(Since I forgot to take a picture of all of the necessary ingredients like I normally would, here’s a picture of Panamanian paradise. Feminspire readers, I regret nothing.)
You’ll want to start off by painting each of your nails with the base color. You can even use a bunch of different colors if you want. We only had this weird, streaky, mint green, Panamanian nail polish to work with, and so we used that. It didn’t smell like any other nail polish I’ve ever used before in my life, and the thought still sort of unsettles me. It’s easiest to make dark dots on a light background, but you can do the reverse as well. If you’re going to use a light color for the polka dots (white dots on a black background, for example) you need to make sure that the light color is 100% opaque or you’ll be sorry (yes, that’s a threat).
For this tutorial, since we had so many different-sized dotting tools, we decided to make the dots smaller as they descended from the thumb to the pinky. I started with the pointer finger for no real reason at all. It is important to note that in order to get uniform dots, you have to re-dip the tool into your polish each time so that a little drop is on the tip of the tool.
This makes the whole process painstakingly slow and inefficient, somewhere between what it’s like waiting in line at the DMV and going through airport customs. Unlike the DMV and customs though, you feel accomplished and resplendent when you’re finished. You also have to have the steady hand of a competitive Operation
player, so I recommend stabilizing yourself on a flat surface while painting.
I made sure to have some polka dots going off of the edges/tips of the nail to give it a wallpaper look. As always, it’s fine to make a mess. I cleaned up Rachel’s nails afterwards with my friends nail polish remover and Q-tip (not the rapper, but IMAGINE?!). The black I used is the same black I always use, so I’m not going to tell you and you’ll just have to sleuth that out yourself. Neener neener (just kidding, it’s OPI’s “Onyx”).
Repeat your dots on the rest of the nails, wait 10 minutes, and then apply a coat of Seche Vite. If any of your dots were extra gloppy, wait longer so that you don’t smear them.
You’ll notice that some of the dots aren’t exactly perfect. This was my first time using these tools, ever, so you should probably deal with it. I’d like to see how graceful and flaw-free your first bike ride was.
As an added bonus, here were my impromptu space nails using OPI’s “Onyx” (again) and some weird, amazing holographic glitter from the Panamanian grocery store that Rachel let me keep because she is a beautiful nail polish fairy.
I just noticed how bloated my ring finger looks from eating nothing but fried plantains, rice, and tons of meat for the whole week. SEXY STUFF, YOU GUYS. Let loose in the comments with suggestions, questions, and maybe some advice on how to reduce my poofiness.