Staggered Gradient | DIY Nail Art Tutorial
Hi guys! Today we’re going to be working on what I’m calling a staggered gradient, and while I know it’s possible I’m unintentionally copying someone, I’ve personally never seen a design quite like this before. It is possible I think to do this with tape, but I used my Miracle Mat, and if you’d like to see exactly how I did it, just stay tuned! As I’m starting out I haven’t done anything with my nails they’re just naked right now, and I’m going to be doing the gradient right on my Miracle Mat. The nail polish I’m using is all Colors by Llarowe. This darkest blue is called Sir Purr, this next blue is called Thunder Shake, then we have KP, and all three of those were from their Football Fever collection.
And then this lightest blue I have is Arturo. I’m going to be sponging with a makeup sponge. Usually when I sponge I apply along the shorter side because it’s kind of similar length to my nail, but since I want to have extra length to create that staggered effect, I’m actually going to be applying the polish along the long side, and just going to create one long gradient on the Miracle Mat. So, I sponged until this was pretty much opaque, and it is actually mostly dry, and I tested it at the edges and it’s peeling up OK, but it feels kind of fragile so, just to make sure that I don’t break it when I peel it up, I’m going to go ahead and add a layer of top coat over the whole thing.
While that’s drying I’m going to go ahead and base coat my nails. Today I’m going to be using my favorite Gripper, which is discontinued Because I think I do want to wear this for a while, since it is such a kind of labor-intensive manicure You can use whichever base coat you prefer. OK, I let this dry a good 15-20 minutes. Now I’m over here at the edge, and I’m just using my little cuticle tool to kind of get the edge started here, I was going to use my tweezers and then I thought this might work better.
Get enough to get a grip, and then gently peel the whole thing off. Hell yeah. OK. I was kind of nervous about that part. So, now I have one big long strip of gradient. And I think just to make it a little easier to work with I’m going to cut it into three pieces, just with a pair of scissors. And stick two of the pieces off to the side.
And I probably could have, and should have, cut this a little straighter. I want to get it straight up and down here. And then what I’m going to do is cut some very narrow strips of gradient In fact, even this one here is a little bit wide for what I’m wanting to do with it , which is going to be to stripe them on my nail. So, I’m going to try and get that a little thinner, and yeah, just continue to cut the whole thing into little strips. OK, so I’ve got a pile of little polish strips,off to the side, and I managed to get most of them pretty much the same size, not quite as thin as I wanted them, which was like striping tape thin, but workable, and I really debated on whether I wanted to use a base color, but I decided they didn’t want anything non holographic peeking through.
So on top of my regular base coat I’m just using a plain clear polish, I’m actually using Sally Hansen Invisible. A quick dry polish may dry too quickly for you actually do anything with. And then I’m going to be picking up each strip with a tweezer. If you want to try and do it by hand you’re welcome to. I’m thinking and hoping a tweezer will be easier. And, I’m just going to start off in pretty much the middle my nail, and lay the first strip down there. And I’m aiming kind of just for the center of the gradient, kind of the mid blues. And then right next to it, I’m going to grab another strip. And I’m going to put that down at a slightly different place in the gradient, so that you get a little bit of a stagger to the colors. And I want that to lay down on the nail right next to that first strip. And if your clear polish begins to dry, or is not sticky enough, you can go ahead and add a little bit more.
You want to make sure that the strips are pretty close to each other, or at least that they are even overlapping so that you don’t see any bare nail underneath. This one I’m going to place a little bit further up yet. And, actually I think I’m going to grab an orange stick here to help me get this into position. Just kind of press it flat to my nail.
Like that. And get one more to finish off on the edge over here. This one under stagger downwards a bit, and then press into place with an orange stick. One thing I do want to mention, at least with these colors, is that there is quite a difference between the top of the gradient and the bottom of the gradient. And I’m thinking the bottom will probably gloss up when you put some top coat on it, but you may just want to stick with using all the same side, if that makes sense. So. I think I actually could get in a little closer here. I’m going to finish off this side of the nail, and then then I’m going to trim off the edges, and I think I may come back and talk through that part.
So, for these overhanging edges you have a couple of options. I’m going to go ahead at least at the tip and just go with a small pair of scissors and trim it off. You could also use like a pair of cuticle nippers, or I’ve seen people even just kind of go around the edges with an orange stick, and kind of press and break it off. And I think especially if I had skipped that layer of top coat that these strips would definitely be fragile enough for that to work fairly easily.
Once you do get it fairly close to your nail, you can go in with your clean up brush and some acetone and finish cleaning up the edges. That’s just going to – sorry, kind of distracted here, this is the first one I’m doing – you know, like I said just kind of neaten up the edges, get a nice smile line in there, and can also help it to stick down, if you’re having any problems with it sticking down. If you have a bunch left at the tip you can also kind of get that with your clean up brush. And then once I’ve done all my nails of course finish it off with another layer of top coat. So, going to show you that process on a couple more nails, and then finish off with a top coat. So, here is the finished manicure and you guys know I get really excited when something turns out just like in my head, and that’s definitely the case here. I’m like 99% happy with how this manicure turned out.
I think the thumbs are some of my favorite nails. And, if you don’t have a Miracle Mat, there are several other silicone mats currently on the market. You can use any of those, you could use a silicone baking mat, or even a thick piece of plastic like I used in my Wired Manicure tutorial. But, I’m definitely looking forward to hearing what you guys think of this manicure. Please let me know down in the comments.
I’m looking forward to trying this with some other color combinations, and maybe with some more intention in the design. I tried to keep this kind of pretty random. No two nails are really the same. And, I also think this same technique will be an alternative for doing reciprocal gradients. Maybe not necessarily easier, but I’m going to give it a try. I think especially for colors that maybe are difficult to sponge over each other, it will create a cleaner look. But that’s for another tutorial. So, I hope you guys enjoyed this one, and as always Thanks for checking this out =)
As found on Youtube