Nail Stamping: Awesome New Idea or Totally Over It?

Also: I paint my nails, on average, every three days. Is that a lot?

Jan 23, 2012 at 3:00pm | Leave a comment

I kind of default to thinking that by the time I'm into something, everyone else knows about it - and might even be over it. And yet! Just to be sure!

Y'all know about nail stamping, right?

When I was 7 or 8 years old, my mom got me a basic manicure kit for Christmas. Really, it was a way for me to stop biting my nails (true story: it only kind of worked; if my nails aren't painted, I gnaw on the edges). And thus began my long-lived nail polish habit. I've painted my nails, on average, every three days ever since.

I did some math to figure out roughly how many times that means I've painted my nails and how much approximate time I've spent on it... and then I cleared out the calculator because, OMG, y'all. I refuse to feel ashamed.

Even Freya does not escape my nail polish urges.

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My husband Ed's been known to sport some painted toes as well, but I've yet to score photographic evidence of that.

So I've been painting my nails a long time. Then, a few years ago, I started seeing videos for this Konad nail stamping system thing. Y'all, it was like Konad was Aladdin and it was taking me on a magic carpet ride to explore a whole new world. Of course, it took me forever to actually try it myself. Part of that is the online shopping barrier - while I do a fair amount of online shopping out of necessity (hi, plus-size clothing industry), I'm really big on the instant gratification of going to the store and leaving with a thing. Also, I hate paying shipping.

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But, finally, thanks to the glory of Orlando's outlet malls (seriously, y'all, so good if you're into that sort of thing), I tracked down a Konad of my very own.

Konad always sounds vaguely dirty to me. That's 100% because it has "nad" in it. There is an at-home sugar waxing kit called Nads and I laugh myself sick every single the time infomercial is on. Because I'm a child.

At any rate, the Konad system comes with a silicon stamp, a metal scraper, some "special polish", and - if you're able to shell out almost fifteen bucks per plate - an engraved metal plate with a number of designs on it. The aim is to put special polish on the design on the metal plate, scrape over it so only the design has polish, and then pick it up with the silicon stamper so you can transfer it to your nail.

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It sounds awkward but it's surprisingly easy once you get the hang of it. Getting the hang of it is the part that can be frustrating. Scrape too lightly and you have messy clouds of nail polish crapping up your stamp. Scrap too aggressively (or, uh, after you've been drinking) and you wind up with nothing left to pick up at all.

The first thing I learned from nail stamping is that I have to be kind of zen about it. Odds are good I'm not going to get everything perfect - and if it's not perfect enough that it really bothers me, I can take the nail polish off and start again. This has led to some evenings where I paint my nails three times. But better me sitting there painting my nails until I get it "right" - for whatever value of right I'm going for - than me freaking out about something else.

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As much as I sometimes hate the term "self-care," it's important, y'all. And painting my nails is a valuable half hour during which I can't really do anything other than take care of myself.

Once you get sick at the price of the Konad plates, you start branching out and looking at the off-label brands. Right now, I've got a couple of Konad plates and a whole freaking lot of Bundle Monster plates that I ordered from Amazon.

There really is a difference - the Konad plates are all around high quality. But you're stamping your nails here, not, like, doing delicate repair work to capillaries. What I'm saying is, the difference in quality doesn't have a whole lot of practical impact on your ability to stamp leopard spots on your nails.

And I do like stamping leopard spots on my nails. Actually, I take that back - I usually freehand my leopard spots. But stripes! And bows! And houndstooth, oh, my!

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There are some amazing videos on the YouTubes that show ways to combine various stamps and other nail art techniques. I tend to keep it simple - an all-over design in one color over a base color - but that's mostly because I am working with limited patience. If it's too fiddly, I won't enjoy it; if I don't enjoy it, it kind of defeats the purpose of self-care, right?

What do y'all think about nail stamping? Am I totally late on this bandwagon?