To celebrate my love affair with The Great Gatsby, a book published two days (and 54 years) before my birth, and the upcoming Baz Luhrman film starring Leonardo D and Cutie Little-Face from Drive, I present to you a very Gatsby, Art Deco striping tutorial!
I've always felt a strong connection with the '20s. Mainly because if there's anything I know how to do, it's roar and bootleg a flask of whiskey into dry situations. And far be it for me to deny myself a good dance.
The '20s also inspired my favorite design style, Art Deco. I worked in the Chrysler Building in Manhattan for way too long (long enough for 92 monthly birthday parties) and part of the reason I stayed so long, I think, was that I got to stare at the beautiful Deco lobby on a daily basis. (Also because of health insurance. Roar!)
Art Deco features clean lines, geometric shapes and gorgeous metallics. My inspiration for these nails came straight from the Gatsby poster.
STEP 1: CUTICLE LITTLE FACE
(Also: New Favorite Product Alert!)
I splurged and bought myself a bottle of Butter London Melt Away Cuticle Remover, and it’s all I’ll ever use from now on. It works like a charm! Slather a bit on your cuticles, let it sit for a minute, and then, using a wooden stick, push back your cuticles ever so gently. After you've pushed it real good, wash your hands to remove any excess product.
STEP 2: PREP & PRIME
I've got some dust on my finger; can you brush it off for me? (Get it? Because Jay-Z produced the Gatsby soundtrack? I'll show myself out.) What I'm saying is, before polishing your nails, make sure you brush off any dust particles. We want these nails looking smooth like the top of the Chrysler Building, Annie.
STEP 3: POLISH
Polish your nails with two coats of Liquid Leather by China Glaze, or your favorite black polish.
STEP 4: TOP COAT
Applying a top coat to the black before striping will prevent the tape from messing up your polish job, allowing a little more room to lift and set back down the tape to get lines exact. (I recommend practicing on a nail wheel to get the hang of it--this stuff is hard to work with!)
STEP 4: DANCE
Take a dance break while your nails dry. Doctor’s orders!
STEP 4: STRIPE
This calls for bullet points:
- Using small, sharp scissors or cuticle clippers (finally, they have a purpose!), cut off a piece of striping tape that’s about a half-inch long. (Make sure the end of the tape is cut in a straight line when lining it up with the edge of the black on your nail.)
- Use tweezers to hold the tape to avoid dulling the stick with your finger’s oils.
- Line up the edge of the tape with the edge of the polish and gently lay the tape down on the nail in a straight line.
- If the tape extends past the edge of your nail, gently clip it with cuticle clippers or scissors. We’ll take care of any overhanging tape later.
- Continue this process with varying lengths of tape on your nails until you have a design you're happy with. Remember, this takes focus, concentration and practice, so don't give up!
STEP 5: TOP COAT
Leaving the overhanging tape as is, apply another top coat to your nails.
STEP 6: CLEAN UP
After the top coat dries COMPLETELY (this is very important, which is why I’m yelling at you), take a low-grade file and GENTLY run it STRAIGHT down the edge of your nail until the edge of the tape is flush with the edge of your nail. DO NOT file back and forth as this can cause the tape to move and lift.
Use a cuticle clipper to clip any overhanging tape between your nail and skin.
STEP 7: SEAL
Apply another top coat, making sure to seal the edges and lock the tape down completely. The tape likes to lift if it’s not sealed, so make sure you've got the edges completely covered.
And bingo bango, you’ve got yourself nails fit for a flapper!
For your first time striping, and since the Gatsby Art Deco design is so intricate, I would recommend leaving most of your designs pretty simple, then go crazy on one finger to show off ya skills.
Are you going to see The Great Gatsby this weekend? Are you going to do your nails like this and stand in front of the theater before it starts and make everyone look at them? Show me your designs in the comments below!