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Monday, January 28, 2013

For font fanatics and fashionistas: Do-it-yourself newspaper-printed nails

Did you know: 

  1. A commercially available kit from a mainstream cosmetics manufacturer costing about $15 lets you transfer the printed text of your choice onto your nails?
  1. Beauty bloggers  and videographers have also uncovered a do-it-yourself (DIY) method to achieve the same fashionable effect using standard household manicure materials, printed newspaper scraps, and rubbing alcohol or vodka?
Absolutely true.  A nail tutorial by cutepolish on YouTube (picture above and link below) and numerous other on-line offerings show you how.
I’m no expert, but the DIY steps go something like this:
  1. Paint your nails with 2 coats of any light-coloured nail polish and allow to dry.
  2. One at a time, dip each nail for about 5 seconds in rubbing alcohol, vodka, or other clear, distilled spirits. 
  3. Place a scrap of printed newspaper text, comic strips, etc., face down on the nail.  Press down gently on the paper for 15 seconds (but don’t wiggle it around or the text will smudge).
  4. Slowly remove the newsprint.
  5. Seal the printing thus transferred onto your nails with a clear topcoat.  
Please let me know what results you achieve with this procedure, if you try it, and whether or not the same technology works equally well for both fingers and toes.

PS:  Before applying, did any of you chicsters give any thought to font or content?  What were your selection criteria for choosing the text?

Addendum on Friday 8 February 2013:

It turns out this post has generated some lively discussion on LinkedIn under the heading "Hey girls, has anyone ever tried a newspaper-print manicure?" at:

One reader suggested cutting your own strips of newsprint or magazines and applying them with a base and top coat like papier maché.  So I Googled “nail stickers” and discovered a thriving market--both for miniature decals that you stick in the middle of your nails as ornaments and full-coverage nail-shaped stickers that you apply like wallpaper and then trim away the excess—along exactly the same lines as the reader had suggested!  It seems that some ingenious printer out there had precisely the same idea.

Prompted by other comments, I also discovered that fashion bloggers and videographers are promoting a procedure they call “map nails”. Besides cartographers, perhaps this style of printing-inspired manicures would hold special appeal for travel buffs or people in transportation fields: 

Still another option is "music nails":  Someone has successfully applied snippets of sheet music for a violin intermezzo to her fingernails, but suggests the technique would work just as well with sheet music for your favourite song.

Then there are cases of applying an individual letter of the alphabet to each fingernail to spell out words, using either hand-painted letters or nail stickers:

Addendum Wednesday 13 February 2013:

Further new discoveries prompted by our LinkedIn discussion are a couple of on-line cases where graphic designers have used either rubbing alcohol or a product called rub-on transfer paper to apply miniature computer-printed images to their nails. I guess with a logo the tricks would be: (1) reversing the image so it wouldn’t turn out backwards, and (2) making sure it stays legible while shrinking it small enough to fit your pinkie.

It turned out that another commenter’s idea of putting letters of the alphabet on fingernails to spell out words isn't a terribly common practice for Internet manicurists--but I did find a few cases of either hand-painted or stick-on letters:

Perhaps the coup de grâce is that--believe it or not--YouTube offers several tutorials on putting QR codes on your fingernails!

However, the letters or designs in most of these last two sets of links are applied by nail artists who are patient, steady-handed, ambidextrous, and all-around skillful enough to paint the motifs on by hand.  I therefore get the impression it's not possible to scan the QR-code designs. 

So please let me know as soon as someone upgrades the technology to make them scanable.