Thank you all for your compliments on my first attempt at a Konadicure (Konad stamping)! There were so many questions and comments about the stamping method that I thought I'd attempt to put together a beginners guide to stamping, together with photos.
For those who haven't heard of Konad before, it is a brand that revolutionized easy nail art by allowing for imprinting of pre-designed images on nails. There have been many offshoot/knock-off brands but most are said not to be as good as the original Konad ones. Do keep in mind that I'm only a beginner myself, but I thought this tutorial might help others who are interested in picking it up, or who are also new to Konad stamping.
As I mentioned before, I'd been wanting to get into it for a while but wasn't sure where to purchase from. As a result, I was quite interested when I came across an ICNA (International Creative Nail Art) stall at last year's Royal Melbourne Show. ICNA are the importers and main distributors of Konad sets in Australia, and are therefore a legitimate source of original Konad supplies/accessories.
The kit I picked up is called the Royal Australia Gold Set, and contains six Konad polishes (white, black, gold, blue, green and red), the double ended stamper, a polish pen to clean up cuticles, a metal scraper and three stamping plates (M4. M57 & A1).
To begin, you will need to get the following items ready:
- Basecoat (I used Poshe)
- Your chosen base polish color (I used Revlon Iced Spice)
- Topcoat (a quick dry one is best, I used Poshe)
- Cotton pads/balls and cotton buds
- Nail polish remover
- A nail buffer.
- Old newspaper (to act as a work surface).
|Items needed for successful Konadicure!|
You will also need a Konad stamping plate, stamper, and a metal scraper.
|L-R: Konad black polish, design plate M4 and scraper.|
Cover your workspace with newspaper before beginning so you don't make a mess. Also soak some cotton pads/balls in polish remover for later use so you don't accidentally ruin your manicure while stamping.
Choose your stamping plate and lay it down over newspaper. If the front of the plate (the metal surface), is covered with a plastic strip protecting the designs, make sure you remove it. There is a paper backing on the underside of the plates, leave that on as it prevents the plates from being too sharp to handle (I accidentally almost pulled mine off - lesson learned).
Paint your nails as you ordinarily would, finishing with a quick dry topcoat like Poshe or Seche Vite. Your manicure needs to be completely touch-dry before you begin stamping or you will ruin it and need to start over, so quick dry topcoats will help harden your polish and act as barrier when stamping (more on that later).
|My chosen base shade, Revlon Iced Spice.|
Choose a Konad polish, and apply it to your chosen image on the stamping plate. Make sure that the entire design is completely covered with polish. You shouldn't have to apply too much, a few brushstrokes should suffice.
|Apply Konad polish to the design.|
|Cover the design with adequate polish. Make sure no polish|
gets on the adjacent designs.
Grab your scraper, and holding it at a 45 degree angle, firmly pull the scraper over the design and off the plate to remove excess polish. You should be left with a clean design. If you apply too much pressure, you'll pull some of the polish out of the design, but if you apply too little, you won't be able to get a clean design for stamping. Work fast or the polish will dry up, making it hard to transfer to your nail.
|Scrape at a 45 degree angle to remove excess polish.|
|The plate should look like this after you have scraped off the|
Once you've completed Step 3, grab your stamper and gently roll it over the design in a back and forth motion, to pick up the pattern. If you are having difficulty picking up the design, grab a nail buffer and gently buff the surface a couple of times, before trying again. Roughing it up makes it much easier for the imprinted polish to adhere to the rubber surface of the stamper. If you have trouble picking up the entire design, just wipe it off the stamper with a cotton pad dipped in polish remover and start over again.
|Pressing the design onto the stamper.|
Once you have the design safely on your stamper, it should look something like this. If you get a bit of transfer, as noticed at the bottom of the stamper, just tidy up with some polish remover on a cotton bud before stamping on your nail.
|What a clean design transfer should look like.|
Apply it to your nail surface with a gentle, rolling motion, similar to the one you used in Step 4 to pick up the design from the plate. The small patterns are easier to do than the full nail patterns as there's less room for error.
|Stamping the first finger!|
If some of the stamped polish gets on your cuticle, don't worry about it, as we'll be cleaning up in later steps. If you find that some of the stamped design doesn't lie flat on your nail, gently press down with your fingertip to smooth it down.
If you make a mistake, don't worry. Gently pass a cotton pad dipped in remover over the nail surface. The stamped design always comes off very quickly and easily, so if you applied topcoat in Step 1, you will find that you can clean up a mistake without ruining your base manicure.
Now that you've done one nail and are ready to move on to the next, make sure you clean the scraper, stamp plate and the surface of the stamper so there is no transfer between nails. Always start with a fresh set (i.e. fill the design, scrape it, stamp it and then transfer it to your nail) with each nail, or you will have difficulties getting a clean design each time. Once you're more experienced with stamping, you can cut a few corners, but for now, it's best not to skimp on effort!
|Clean the stamp plate before moving on to the next nail.|
|Clean the residue off the scraper.|
|Clean the residue off the stamper.|
Once you've stamped all your nails, you should have something that looks like this.
|My mixed design Konadicure!|
It's now time to protect your stamped polish with a layer of topcoat. I waited about 10 minutes after applying my Poshe topcoat and I still had a bit of smudging with the stamped polish (boo!). Oddly enough, I didn't have this problem when working with my Valentine's Day manicure, so it could just be the consistency of the black Konad polish or perhaps the design used for this tutorial.
I think it's best to apply topcoat before cleaning up (step 8), as the topcoat acts as a barrier that prevents you from accidentally removing too much while cleaning your cuticles.
Last but not least, it's time to tidy up your manicure. If you have the polish remover pen that came with the set, use that, otherwise, a cotton bud dipped in polish remover works just as well!
|This is what I ended up with when I finished this tutorial.|
Once you've completed the steps outlined above, you're done! Sit back and enjoy your beautiful new manicure.
Further tips and information:
- It's best to use Konad polishes when stamping as they are have thicker viscosity, higher opacity and are better for transferring from design plate to nail surface. You can also use normal polish but you might have to experiment a little to ensure they stamp well. Old polishes are also good to use as they thicken up after a while.
- My metal scraper has put quite a few scratches on my plate, even after one use! I've heard that you can also use a stiff plastic card like an identity card or old credit card, which shouldn't scratch your plate as much, but have yet to try it out.
- I think the Konad sets are great value for beginners as everything is provided at a more affordable rate than purchasing each item separately, and you can build on your collection as you gain more experience.
- The dual ended scraper is great as you can use the smaller end for small designs, and the larger end for the full nail designs.
- Some of the full nail designs are too small for people with long nail beds, like me. The tiger stripe design I used above left the tip of my thumb bare, which is why I decided to use a different design on my thumb. Some designs are easy to stamp on twice but others are difficult to align accordingly. If anyone has tips on this, I'd love to hear it!
- You can purchase stamping plates from other brands at a lower rate, but I have heard that they can be a bit tricky to work with. Bundlemonster is another brand that comes to mind, they are said to be less expensive but almost as good in quality as Konad. Good old eBay is also another option (and if anyone knows of any recommended sellers, I'd love to hear it).
- Research tells me that the Konad brand topcoat is the best topcoat to use for a Konadicure as it prevents smudging. I'm very tempted to purchase this and would welcome any advice on the matter!
The set that I purchased above is priced at $69 on the ICNA website, although I believe I paid less as it was on a promotion during the Melbourne Show (can't recall exactly how much I paid, though!). If anyone is interested in purchasing a Konad set from ICNA, you can visit their website by clicking here. They have also thoughtfully provided me with a discount code for my readers, ICNA9394, which allows for a 25% discount on all purchases above $50 (excluding those from the sale/wholesale section). I won't be receiving any benefit from sharing this code, beyond the satisfaction of knowing I helped save you some money!
That's it for now, lovelies! I hope this answered all your questions, please feel free to leave me input in the comments to let me know if you found this tutorial useful, or if you have further questions I haven't addressed!