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The Digi Nails – A Multi-media Manicure
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The Digi Nails – A Multi-media Manicure 

A really fun, new way to use digital scrapbooking supplies! 

To begin with, you will need the following:

•light color nail polish (white, light pink, cream, pale green, light turquoise, you get the idea….)

•rubbing alcohol

•small cup (I used a medicine cup.)

•digital supplies (laser print or copy)

•nail polish topcoat

1) Before getting started, quickly measure your fingernails.  This doesn’t need to be precise, but it’s nice to have a general idea.

2) Open a new Photoshop document and create for yourself 10-15 boxes that are a little larger than your nails.  My boxes were sized at 3/4 inch square.  (In a perfect world, you’ll just need the 10, but make a couple extra just in case.)

3) Find some great papers that you’d like to have on your nails.  I chose a rainbow striped paper from Mari Koegelenberg’s Hello Sunshine kit.

You will likely want to reduce the scale of your paper so that the design will better fit your nails.  Clip your papers to the boxes that you created.

4) Print your page.  (I have only tried this project with a laser print and I do not know if it will work with an ink-jet copy.)  Cut out all squares and set aside.

5) Paint your nails with your light colored nail polish.  You’ll likely need a couple coats.  You want to have a nice opaque canvas.  Let nails dry thoroughly.

6) Pour your alcohol into the small cup.  It should be deep enough that it can cover your finger.

7) Working with one nail at a time:  Dip your finger into the alcohol for 3-5 seconds.  It doesn’t take long; you just want to completely wet the nail.  Immediately press one of the paper squares onto your nail, image side down.  Do not move the paper around.  You can press so that it’s completely adhered.  Leave on for approximately 30 seconds and lift to remove.  If you notice that some paper fibers have been left behind, just gently rub them away with a damp finger.

Repeat for all of your fingers  

9) Paint a topcoat on your nails to protect.  I used a glittery nail polish as my topcoat.

10)  Enjoy your fancy new nails!


A few thoughts:

•This is a super-easy project, but it did take me a couple times to get it just right.  Be prepared for that.  You may have to practice a time or two to get the hang of it.

•After doing this several times, I found that I had better results with simpler designs.  My stripes (in this tutorial) turned out better than a red damask pattern that I tried.  The transfer isn’t going to be 100% perfect every time, and the stripes (with a white background) were more forgiving.

•You might notice that my stripes are all going the same way except for on my ring finger.  That was um, intentional.  Yeah.  Cause my ring finger is special    If none of your digits are more special than the others, you might make certain that your pattern is going the same way on all your nails.

•Decals are also really great!  My daughter was so excited about having hearts & flowers on her nails.  Decals are actually much easier than an all-over pattern and can be used for so many different themes and occasions!  You follow the same instructions, just decrease the size of any element you plan on using to fit your nails.

Here I used a sticker from Mari’s kit as an accent on my thumb nail:


Does it last, you ask?  Absolutely!  I found that my manicure lasted about a week and I didn’t have any trouble with my images fading.

UPDATE (February 11, 2012):

As I stated in the tutorial, it took me a bit to nail this (pun intended).  I had to try several times before I got the hang of it.  Saturating the entire paper and pressing firmly were the keys for me.  And some paper fibers did remain, but those were easily removed.

A word about papers:

•This tutorial uses a laser print (printed from my HP Color Laserjet 3550).  You could also use a laser copy.

•Inkjet prints are not recommended as the printing technology is different.  Ink bleeds into the paper whereas with a laser copy/print, the image “sits” on top of the paper making it easier to transfer.  Some readers have had positive results with ink jet, but the majority have not.

•“Real” scrapbook paper (i.e. patterned paper you bought from the store) – again, not recommended.  One reader had positive results with this, but I have personally not tried it.

•One reader had luck with tracing paper.  (I’m assuming that she used a laser printer to print onto tracing paper.)

Some feedback from people who have tried it:

•Rebecka R. had success with this tutorial and shared her method:  What ended up working was wetting the paper with the alcohol, pressing it onto the nail, applying quite a lot of pressure, and making sure to apply pressure especially to the ends of my nail (because they’re long) and the sides of the nail. I peeled it back after the alcohol dried, just enough to see if the entire thing transferred, if not, I laid it back down and wet the back of the paper with alcohol (since it just absorbs, the front gets wet too) and I just applied pressure again, especially to the places that hadn’t transferred  . It took a while, but now it’s REALLY easy, and they turned out GREAT.

•Leah also wrote about her success:  Here’s what I did:1. cut out the squares; 2. paint nails with white; 3. here’s where i did it differently, get the squares wet with water; 4. place on the nail; 5. dunk whole finger tip with the paper in rubbing alcohol; 6. press it on for 7-10 seconds; 7. Done!    There will be little pieces of paper left behind but they peel off after your nails dry completely. It took a few times of trial and error to get it to come out right but I am pretty much obsessed now. I used laser jet print and standard paper. But get this- I just tried it with a plain old piece of scrapbook paper and that worked too!



"Fashion can be bought. Style one must possess." ~ Edna Woolman Chase

Marc Jacobs

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This is such a cool method. People are so amazing with what they come up with.



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Wow! I can barely color inside the lines.painter.gif


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Dooney & Bourke

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That looks like a nice little project - and a lot of fun!


Marc Jacobs

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I tried something very similar with newspaper print. It looks easy in the tutorials but I made such a mess and the polish got smudged. I ended up taking it all off.

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