Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Gelish Nail Art DC Comics Earlier this year the GF and I decided to go to Wondercon in Anaheim. After a lot of bribing and urging on her part, I decided to cosplay as Marceline to to her Finn. I spent a week buying supplies and outfit essentials, then handmade myself a little stuffed Hambo.

I LOVE my Hambo. I can't even.

I also decided I HAD to do DC-inspired Gelish nerd nails, because we're big into the Bat family - and appreciate the other guys, too ;) In retrospect it was a silly thing to do since my costume required gloves, but it taught me some important tips for painting nail art with Gelish.

Gelish Nail Art DC Comics Gelish Nail Art DC Comics

My previous attempts at trying to paint detail with Gelish left a LOT to be desired. The colors would just all run together into amorphous shapes, so I gave up on trying to use Gelish polish to paint designs. In my great wisdom, I went to Michael's and picked up a cheap, $5 set of acrylic paint. Like, painter's paint. I thought that, with a couple coats of Top It Off, I'd have the control and detail I wanted with the lasting power of Gelish.

So I sat and spent a couple hours carefully painting Batman, Red Robin, Red Hood, Flash, Superman, ect. symbols onto my nails. I applied a couple coats of Top It Off and admired my shiny new nails for the day.

Then, that night I hopped in the shower.

I paused at one point to look down at my hands... ALL THE DESIGNS HAD WASHED OFF.

Over the next couple of days I went through the 7 stages of grief, then in the end I decided I'd try again. Although the paint had washed off, it left a faint outline of the original design on the nail. Maybe, by using that as a guide, I could paint with the Gelish polish. As I started painting with the Gelish polish, I noticed that the bleeding effect was completely gone and I had really good control. I finished up my manicure and kept it on for a couple of weeks (got tons of compliments, too!).

After more testing I finally realized: it was the Top It Off that made the Gelish workable. Before apply and curing TIO, the Gelish polish will just bleed together. Once you've slapped a TIO coat on, cured it, and wiped with Cleanser the Gelish polish paints surprisingly well! This is one of the reasons I've developed a motto when doing Gelish nail art: when in doubt, Top It Off!

Tips For Using Gelish To Paint Nail Art
  • Decide on a base color. Do a normal Gelish manicure with your basecolor and finish it up with a cured layer of Top It Off, and wipe with Cleanser
  • You can use inexpensive nail art brushes like these to paint your design with Gelish polish
  • For watery Gelish formulas, put a couple drops of polish onto piece of foil and cure it under your lamp (10 seconds or so for a UV and only 2-4 seconds under a good LED). This thickens up the polish without fully curing it and makes it much easier to control
  • Don't be afraid to use NON-acetone remover on cured designs to help you clean up the art. Sometimes it helps me get that last bit of detail down
And if I ever come up with more tips, I'll be sure to update this list. :)


  1. I never post on blogs but I have so enjoyed reading your very similar to my own journey in discovering gelish, that I just had to. Your writing style is very funny and it's so refreshing to have such a fun happy personality some through in a nail blog! Keep it up :p

    1. Thank you so much for the comment!! Sometimes as I'm writing I'm like, "maybe I should be a bit more professional about this..." then I realize it's my blog and I should write it however I want! ;) But I'm glad someone is enjoying it! And yeah, this Gelish journey has definitely been a learning experience... but I'm not afraid to share some of the weird mistakes I've made a long the way ;)

      Thanks for stopping by!!

  2. This is great information! I guess I discovered this by accident with my last manicure. I had decided to do it in two parts because I'm pretty slow. So, I got my base color applied, cured, and topped it off. I figured I'd do art the following day. I found I had much better detail this way. Love your posts! There aren't many people out there doing blogs and/or youtube videos that are as good with the gelish art as you are.

    1. Awww thank you so much!! There's soooo much amazing nail art out there, but it's hard to find information and examples for us gel-nail gals. I'm glad I could help a little! That was the whole reason I started the blog in the first place :) I'm glad you were able to get some awesome detail on your nails! That's suuuuch a challenge for me.

      Thanks for stopping by!