Monster Nails! A Flocking Manicure Straight Out of Sesame Street

Googly eyes make everything better.
Publish date:
April 6, 2012
manicures, i spend way too much time looking at my nails, diy ethos

When I said I was going to try flocking my nails, a few people sent me links to

this post at The Polish Aholic

- which was totally awesome. But "someone else did it first" has never really deterred me -- I ran out and bought myself some flocking powder.

And then I very quickly grew obsessed.

The caviar manicure

fascinates me in part because it is so tactile -- the texture of the microbeads is visually interesting but also very touchable. I ran my fingertips over my nails countless times when I was wearing the caviar manicure. I suspected a flocking manicure was going to be similar.

Don't breathe this stuff in -- you don't want pink lung!

There was no way to anticipate how very true that was going to wind up being.

First, supplies. I got my flocking powder at Michaels craft store. Martha Stewart makes some, but it's hella expensive. The Michaels brand Recollections is just as good and way, way cheaper. Older colors even go on clearance. For my first attempt, I used a dark red nail polish and a bright Cherry flocking powder. That was it in the way of things I needed.

Okay, I did also apply a base coat.

Nail polish forms the adhesive base the flocking powder sticks to. It's like SCIENCE.

I've done this manicure three or four times now, trying to figure out the best way to apply the flocking powder and how to prolong the wear. Here's the process I've settled myself on:

1. Base coat -- this is just always a good idea because it prepares your nail and protects it as well.

2. One coat of color -- apply it to all fingernails and work quickly.

3. Another coat of color -- as soon as you're done with the first coat, go back to the first finger and apply a second coat of color. Don't make it a goopy gross coat but don't worry about it being a little thick. You're going to do the next steps to each nail, one at a time.

4. One coat of flocking powder -- originally, I was using the shaker side of the flip top, but it's actually better to just dump flocking powder on your finger nail from the wide open side of the flocking powder container. Apply the flocking powder over a bowl or you'll get it everywhere.

5. Pressure -- when your nail is totally covered in flocking powder, use a finger tip to firmly press the powder into the wet nail polish. As long as you are pressing straight down and not side to side, you shouldn't really worry a lot about smudges.

6. Another coat of flocking powder -- knock off the excess flocking powder from your first coat, then blow on your finger nail to get rid of anything else that's loose. Then dump another coat and repeat the pressure step. Knock off THAT excess and then blow on your nail again.

Repeat until each nail is done.

You can see the dark red peeking out underneath the flocking - this made wear really evident.

Then it's going to take about 20 minutes for your nails to be really truly actually factually dry. I think this is the hardest part of the whole process because sitting still is not my strong suit.

The Polish Aholic noted that this was really only good for one night -- I did some wear testing and found that, if you follow the above process -- you can actually get quite a lot more wear out of this manicure. I even washed my hair (which is a fairly strenuous production) and did some gardening.

The flocking powder gets super dirty (potting soil is the enemy of pretty flocked nails) but just washing my hair was enough to get the flocking powder completely clean again with minimal wear around the edges.

Second iteration - color-matched nail polish just looks better in this case, while two layers of flocking helps the texture.

Here's how flocking powder works: Fibers are embedded in an adhesive layer. It feels fuzzy because only one end of the fiber is trapped in the adhesive; a short coat of fuzz is created.

In industrial situations, adhesive gets applied by rollers and then the flocking is applied. There are a couple of different methods, but since I don't have an electrostatic field in my craft room, I can't recreate any of them. More's the pity.

But the two coats of flocking powder and the pressure combine to really securely fix the flocking powder in the nail polish base. There's not any noticeable shedding. You will see tip and edge wear, but the fibers are so small you probably won't see them at all.

Someone is bound to ask so lemme go ahead and tell you that, yes, you can pick your nose. But it's going to feel so strange. And your flocked nail will look really strange until you wash your hands and the flocking powder dries.

You can see the texture - and also the way wear is minimized by the matching color.

I'd keep this one external, too -- especially because any dried bodily fluid is going to show clearly on your flocking until you wash and dry your hands.

For my first attempt, I used a dark red polish -- that wasn't a mistake exactly, but it did make wear a lot more evident than it should have been. The next time I did the manicure, I used a polish that was much more close in color. You can see the difference. And you can't see the wear as clearly.

It's also smart to keep some tape on hand -- or maybe one of those lint rollers that's sticky. The tape picks up any spilled flocking powder without making a mess.

The fun visual texture of this manicure is enough to make me love it. But an unforeseen benefit -- rubbing the fuzz is kind of incredibly soothing. It's like petting something velvety. It's your very own comfort blanket on your fingernails. I told you I was obsessed, right? I've been touching my nails nonstop.

C is for cookie, that's good enough for me!

And other people want to touch them, too. Inevitably, people reach out one finger and kind of hover over my extended hand like they're waiting for permission to touch. Then they pet my fingernail and look at it in disbelief.

That's a lot of fun.

And now I'm going to go pet my nails some more.

Googly eyes make everything better - I afixed these with a drop of clear polish.