The right nail art supplies are essential This article will talk you through the basic tools so you can make an educated purchase and start building your nail art kit. Of course, there's so rule saying you need all of the products listed here but nail art collections tend to grow pretty quickly! If you're looking for some good website to buy from I've compiled a list of my favorite places to shop.
The Tools of the Trade
A basic tool in any kit is brushes. You can get really nice sets of brushes just about anywhere and at any price range. I got mine in the art section at Wal-Mart but there's a great set on Amazon that I wish I'd seen earlier. The most imporant ones are a long thin brush for striping and a shorter thin one for detail painting. Read more about buying & caring for brushes...
If you're into detail work, you should invest in some nail art pens. Nail art pens completely changed my life! No more daily brush cleaning and the detail you can achieve with them is amazing. If there's one product I would reccomend buying, it's pens. For a more detailed breakdown of the different brands and prices, visit the Nail Art Pens page.
Oh, where to begin with nail files!? There are three different basic choices for nail files: Emery Boards, Metal Files and Glass Files. First off...don't buy a metal file. Nail files come in a variety of grits, just like sandpaper. There should be a "grit number" on the file. The higher the number, the finer the grit. Ideally you want a two sided file with a rougher side for the down and dirty work and a finer side for smoothing and simple clean ups. Anything below 180 grit is too rough for natural nails, so make sure you check.
Check out my guide on how to file your nails properly
A Dotting Tool, or ideally a set of different sizes, is so convenient to have, but you can make do without them. Some other things that work are bobby pins (which I used in the Floral Nails Tutorial), pin heads, dried out pens, the ends of brushes or toothpicks. Soon you'll find yourself looking around the house for tiny round things you can stick in nail polish! But all that aside, having a real dotting tool is much better and for less than $5, why not?
If you've read the stamping tutorial you're probably curious about nail stamps. The first stamps, and arguably the best, were made by Konad. There's many other brands of plates out there, such as Bundle Monster or Shany. You can even buy stampers and scrapers in drug stores these days! The biggest tip I can give you if you're buying some image plates is buy them on amazon. You can usually get them cheaper than what's charged on the "official sites". Aside from the plates all you need is a stamper, a scraper and you're ready to go.
Fimo is made from polymer clay and is sold in "canes" that look like a log of that Pilsbury cookie dough that has pictures in it. You can buy a whole cane and slice it yourself, but ask yourself if you really need 300 slices of lemons, or buy pre-sliced pieces. If you slice them yourself you need to use a very sharp razor blade (you can get them through nail art supplies stores) and please don't cut your finger off. That's one less nail to paint! Fimo is really popular, so you can find canes all over for decent prices. One of my favorite places to buy fimo pieces is Etsy because people get so creative and I love to support small business owners.
There is endless options when it comes to cute little plastic decorations and rhinestones. Like most of the products mentioned in this article, you can find them easily on the internet but the price can vary quite dramatically so shop around a bit before you purchase.
One product that I think every nail artist should have is 100% Pure Acetone. Most nail polish removers have acetone in them, but pure acetone is way more intense! It's really helpful when it comes to cleaning up any polish on your skin or removing stubborn glitter polishes. It's quite drying, though, so make sure you always apply cuticle oil after the acetone.
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