Sunday, April 24, 2011

Just a Little Tropical Sunset

One evening a few days ago, I was cruising around my neighborhood on my bike taking Duke on his nightly jog and pondering what I was going to do on my nails next.  When I rounded the corner on one of the streets in my neighborhood that overlooks the water, I was blessed to see a gorgeous tropical sunset. 

It was very similar to this one from a few months ago, and it was truly lovely.

I suddenly had my inspiration.  Just the other week, I met a new friend from out of town who noticed my hibiscus nails and told me that she used to like doing sunsets on hers.  I thought it was a cool idea and tucked it into my mental file for later, but seeing that gorgeous sunset brought it back to the forefront.  I decided to do a tropical sunset with a palm tree silhouette.

If you ever want to try it, here's what you do.

You'll need red, orange, yellow, white, and black polish, a scrap of paper, a fan brush, and a very fine tipped brush (or nail art pen)

Start with a base coat, and then paint your little toes solid orange and your big toes white.

I know, it looks silly at this point, but it will look pretty awesome in no time at all.
The white is simply there to act as a base for the next part.
For the next step, get your scrap of paper, the fan brush, and the yellow,orange, and red polish.
Put fairly large dots of each color in that order on the scrap of paper, making sure they are close enough that they touch.   (I learned through trial and error that it's best to have a little more orange than red because the red is a bit overpowering.)

Then, use the fan brush to pull through the colors.

You'll have to do this part quickly.  Sometimes the paint can dry really quickly or get sticky, and at that point it won't create a smooth coat.  As soon as you have mixed the paint,  drag the brush across your nail from side to side, making sure that the red is at the top (closest to you) and the yellow is at the bottom (the tip of your toe).

(Don't worry about it being messy.  I had polish all over the skin surrounding my nail after this step.  Just take a Q-tip dipped in polish remover to clean it up.)

After this step, it will look something like this.
Give this time to dry before the next step, especially if you use a nail art tool.

The final step is to add the palm tree. 

Once again, use your scrap of paper.  Add a drop of black polish, and use a VERY fine tipped brush to add the tree trunk first.  Follow that by the palm frond stems, and then add the tiny, individual "leaves" of each frond.  Finally, you may want to add a little piece of "beach" underneath the tree trunk.

I was working quickly, so I didn't get a photo after each little element, but this is what it ended up looking like.
(One more little hint:  Make sure you don't make the top of the palm too big.  I goofed on my first try and I looked like I had hairy spiders sitting on my toes.  I found that the key to this design looking like a palm was to have a thin trunk and a small top on the palm.)

As always, let your little design dry completely, and finish everything with a top coat like this.

Then you'll have a little tropical sunset to take with you everywhere you go!

What do you think?  Think you might try it sometime? :)

P.S.  Don't forget that tomorrow is the last day to enter for the free soft pastel pet portrait!  Don't miss it!


  1. Oh, my goodness...I love it!! What a cute idea! I love beautiful sunsets and can just imagine that you see many of them there! :) I think I may just have to try that palm tree...I like your instructions on how to do it!

    Happy Easter, sweet friend!! :)

  2. my next project!! might be a dumb question but where do you find a fan brush?

  3. Thanks guys!
    Katie- I ordered a whole set of nail art brushes for like $1.00 on eBay, and since they were coming from China, shipping was only $2.00. Just type in "nail art brushes," and lots of little sets will pop up. They usually have like two fan brushes and an assortment of super fine tipped brushes. :)


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