Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Guest Post: Nail Jems

Hello ladies :)  This week's guest post comes from the lovely Jem of Nail Jems.  Jem has a beautiful bright and colourful blog, with equally beautiful nails to match (and some pretty handy reviews too!), so do pop over and check it out.


Hi all, my name is Jem from the British/Australian nail blog Nail Jems!

I would like to thank Sam for allowing me to be a guest poster, she's a really talented nail artist and it's an honour to be deemed worthy of a spot amongst her own fantastic work! 

The nail design I bring you today is not so much about the design itself, but the technique I used to achieve it.

I'm a bit of a cheap skate and hate to over spend on anything, so I like to get creative with my funds first and foremost, and try and achieve great nail art with whatever I have laying around or can buy at the cheapest price!!! 

So to achieve today's mani, I did home made, hand drawn decals with coloured permanent marker pens, resulting in this funky multi-coloured chess board design!

To make home made decals, I start by painting a layer of clear polish onto a plastic sandwich bag and I let it dry thoroughly for several hours. It must be fully dry as if you try to draw on it, it will smudge, or it wont peel off the bag when you go to apply it to the nail.
Once the layer of clear varnish is dry you then draw your design right onto it.

As nails are so small it is difficult to draw out a precise grid with tiny boxes using just your ruler (believe me, I tried it and it was a mess!), so to do the chess board mani I printed out a grid pattern with small measurements using photoshop. I placed the part of the sandwich bag that had the clear polish over the grid, and then with the aid of a ruler for straight lines, traced the design in 4 different colours for each nail onto the layer of clear polish, and then coloured in alternate boxes. I let the ink dry and colour in the boxes another 2 times to get a nice solid colour.

When its done I peel the layer of topcoat from the bag using tweezers and cut it into nail sized pieces, I paint my base coat colour, or 'undies' if you prefer! (in this photo Sinful Colours 'Snow Me White') then I attach the decals to the nail with a layer of top coat left to dry for a couple of minutes so that it's tacky. I smooth the decals onto the nail with a cotton bud, trim the edges with cuticle scissors, and seal everything with another layer of topcoat.

I really love this technique and the coloured pens are so versatile, I've traced a beautiful fish scale mermaid pattern in one colour HERE (where you can also see what kind of pens I use), drawn free hand a multi- coloured henna pattern HERE, and even drawn directly onto the nail without making decals at all, like in my mani HERE.

I know a lot of girls that don't have great luck with nail stamping (it's certainly always been very hit and miss for me!) so this method can also be a great alternative as you can trace any pattern you want onto a decal to layer over your polish, and you can easily collect a nice selection of markers from thick to fine tips, in gold and silver and even colours like mine. Purchasing these pens has certainly been much cheaper than buying 20 different polishes hoping that they might be opaque enough for stamping only to discover that they aren't!

So I hope you like my marker pen technique and that it will inspire many experiments and great looking mani's, and thank you all for taking the time to read my post! If you would like to see more of my work be sure to visit my blog where I definitely wouldn't say no to a couple of new followers ;)

One last thanks to the lovely Sam for this great opportunity... and I'm out! XXX


What a great post!  I've used this decal technique for a couple of manicures (check out the leprechaun manicure I did for Sincerely Stephanie here), and can totally vouch for the tracing!  I normally use polish though, but using felt tips is a little bit genius!  So much easier to control and such a selection of colours!  And I can't quite get over how clean Jem's lines are and how uniform she's got the colours...I definitely need to give this a go!

Thank you again Jem for a fab guest post :)


  1. It's a fantastic idea! I use this thechnique for difficult and detailed nail art too :) Your nails look crazy, I absolutely love them!

  2. This mani is so eye-catching! I plan to give this technique a try. It's great that you advocate and demonstrate less-expensive ways of doing nail art. For those who don't own Photoshop to make a grid, I suggest another option is to Google "grid" (without the quote marks) and then search Images. Doing that provided me with hundreds of grids with many options. I can easily choose the one I want and print it. Thanks again for all the tips for DIY decals!

  3. What a great idea! I really like the design and how you did each nail with a different color!