Monday, May 02, 2011

Tutorial: Lightning bolt French tape mani




Hi guys, it's time for another tutorial! This time I will show you how to make the lightning bolt French. The design is very simple to achieve and perfect for covering up extreme tipwear or VNL. What you need is just a bit of regular tape and a pretty, covering polish to match your base color. Let's get started!



So start with the base color you like (if necessary with a basecoat underneath) and let it completely dry. This can be one that's yet to be applied or one you're already wearing.
On the picture I'm wearing Ms Jagger Green from Pieces that I applied the day before I shot this picture, as you can see there's some VNL and a tiny bit of tipwear.

Now take a little piece of tape and cut it in strips lengthwise. You'll need one strip a nail. Also cut a bunch of triangles that you'll need for step 3, again one piece a nail.
Place a strip diagonally on your nail and make sure the side that's closest to the polish-area is really stuck on the surface, meaning that that side of the strip should not be wrinkled. 

This is the part where you need your triangles. Take a triangle and place it on the diagonal strip, with one point pointing to your tip, like shown in the picture. It doesn't really matter how your triangles are shaped, as long as they have at least one acute (less than 90°) point to create the fierce zigzag shape of a stylized lightning bolt.
Now apply your top color. Of course you can pick any color you like, but personally I prefer contrasting colors so the pattern will show up better. And if you plan to cover up your tipwear, make sure the topcolor is an opaque polish. When you're done polishing, carefully pull off the pieces of tape. My advise is to do step 2, 3 and 4 on one nail at a time.
At last apply your topcoat, clean up and you're done. Striking! :P



Finally some useful tips:

  • For my tape manis, all I use is regular stationery tape. But you might prefer something else, so just experiment with different sorts of tape to figure out what works best for you.
  • For your base color you can use any polish you like, however one-coaters will allow you to place the tape much sooner because those are usually fast drying. Of course you can also quicken the drying of polishes that require several coats to cover, by applying a fast drying topcoat. (I use Seche Vite). 
  • Your layering color(s) can be either a one- or two-coater. Because you've already applied a base color, most polishes that usually take two coats to cover now will do with one.
  • Though I mention cutting the tape strips as step 2, I admit it is safer to cut before applying the base color. However, if you've learned how to cut the tape without having it touch your polished nails, it can save you a lot of time.
  • You might want to leave the cut strips somewhere else than the edge of your desk/table, to prevent them from getting stuck to the surface while you're busy. You do not want to have to peel them off with your freshly painted claws!
  • Apply your top color in one thin (but opaque) coat, this will create crisper lines.
  • When you're removing the tape strips, try to remove them individually, if you can, because most of the time your design will come out neater this way
  • Using tweezers to remove the tape strips can prevent your freshly painted nails from getting smudged.
  • It's not always necessary to start all over if you've messed up your design, often a little touch-up with a nailart brush can solve the problem.
  • If you want to use a matte topcoat, use a regular one underneath. My experience with matte topcoats is that they smudge the design very easily, even when it's completely dry. Applying a normal topcoat first will prevent that.
  • Moisterize your cuticles afterwards, because the tape can really dry out your skin!
  • You can practice this tutorial on your old mani that you applied a day (or more) before. If you succeed, you've got yourself a fresh mani, otherwise you were going to remove it anyway!
  • If you feel like this design is too time-consuming for a full mani, you can also use it for an accent nail (or two).
  • Have fun and practice makes perfect ;)


I would absolutely love to see your attempt on my design, so feel free to leave a link to your creation in the comment section!


Polishes I used in this post are Pieces Ms Jagger Green and Color Club Where's The Soiree?.

40 comments:

  1. THANK YOU - i tried to do this and failed.....I needed this tutorial ~ this is so cool!

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  2. wasn't expecting 2 pieces of tape! haha. lovely :)

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  3. Love this tutorial! I'll definitely be trying this soon :-)

    I've been trying to do tape mani's-I think I'm starting to get the hang of it but I have one question...do you have to let the base color dry completely, or can you do it when it's a little wet? Thanks!

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  4. Awesome! I was wondering how you did this, I'm so going to try this soon!

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  5. This is Glimmerous from MUA. Thanks so much for this tutorial! I'll be sure to attempt this! : D

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  6. Great tutorial! This looks so cool! :D

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  7. I've already decided what colors I'm going to try this is- gunmetal and silver sparkle! Going to do it tonight!

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  8. this is sooo awesome!!! i'll def gonna try to do this!! :)

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  9. ziet er echt zo tof uit!!!
    heb het zelf al n paar keer geprobeerd maar het blijft mislukken
    op de een of andere manier blijft de nagellak aan de tape hangen als ik m eraf haal :(

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  10. Your tutorial is great! Can't wait to try out the double one now! Here are my results: http://www.flickr.com/photos/anitza/5805530051/

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  11. I find that the nail polish on the side tends to pull up. how can i stop this?

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  12. @Vivan: The polish probably isn't dry enough then, so I'd wait a bit longer before placing tape on it. It also depends on what polish you're using, some just dry faster than others. Good luck :)

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  13. Thank you so much for the inspiration and your great tutorials including this one. I am in love and need to try this soon. =)

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  14. Great tutorial! i cant wait to try this for myself! Also,I love all of your nail desings-keep up the good work! <3

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  15. I'm a big fan of your blog and a super dork cuz I used this tutorial to make a Harry Potter themed mani... feast your eyes! http://pinupcherrymakeup.blogspot.com/2011/07/harry-potter-series-nail-edition_12.html
    Your tutorial made it incredibly easy, so thank you!!!! I look forward to more fun designs!

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  16. I'm trying it right now :). I'll post pictures in my blog if it works. Thanks a lot for all your wonderful tutorials :). I'm a new reader and already a fan.

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  17. Hi I loved your tutorial! I tried it myself and the pictures are at http://ontothenextpolish.blogspot.com/2011/08/lightning-bolt-french-tape-nail-art.html
    Thanks for creating an awesome tutorial! It was so easy to follow! I can't wait to do this design again.

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  18. You are such an inspiration! Thank you for the wonderful tutorials! I am trying this TODAY!

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  19. Here's mine (done it pretty quick): http://somilktoday.blogspot.com/2011/09/salamaranskalaiset-pikana.html

    :)

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  20. Thanx so much! My version is here: http://misstaci.tumblr.com/post/11487455358/my-lightning-bolt-french-nails-thanx-to-jane

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  21. Ooh, thanks for posting that! You make it look so easy.

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  22. I tried to do this mani a week ago but it was an epic fail. I'm not too patient, but I put my tape,I painted my nails and when I was going to pull off the tape,the nail polish peeled off too. I don't know what I did wrong.Any advice?

    I wanted to ask you what top coat do you use =)

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  23. @Davinia: Hi Davinia, if your talking about the polish underneath the tape that comes off, it probably wasn't dry enough. So give it a bit more time or apply the polish a day before to make sure it's completely dry. If it's the layering polish that comes off with the tape, try to apply thinner layers and always remove the tape as soon as possible (meaning when the polish on top is still wet).
    The top coat I use is either Seche Vite or Sally Hansen Insta-Dry. SV dries quicker and glossier but can cause shrinkage, to prevent this you can wrap your tips with the topcoat as well. SH is great too, it dries slightly slower than SV, but I like the thin formula, plus it doesn't cause shrinkage and doesn't get thick as fast as SV.
    I hope these tips were helpful and don't forget, practice makes perfect! ;-)

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  24. I love this one, but I had the same problem as Davinia with the layering polish.
    http://tinypic.com/r/6f1pxw/5

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  25. This is amazing!
    I'm indian, and have darker skin.. any three-color ideas?

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  26. Thank you for the tutorial, I stumbled upon it and I HAD to try it! I used pink and gold :D

    http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-kqYl7hQm8fU/TtaAfWadS9I/AAAAAAAAABU/6DrkYv-fNMM/s1600/IMG_1633.JPG

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  27. @Rissa: What a bold color combo, LOVE it! The glitter you added really completes it :)

    @Anonymous: Thank you! And oooh, I think all bold colors look great on darker skin ^^ Something that usually works for me is to pick one color you like, then pick a color in the same hue but lighter or darker (ton-sur-ton) and for your final polish pick a completely different color that still shares the same color scheme.

    @J: You're welcome, and what a cute mani you made! I'm in love with the subtlety ^^

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  28. I tried, looks pretty crappy lol but hopefully it gets better

    http://hautepinklipstick.blogspot.com/2012/01/spunky-lightning-bolt-nails.html

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  29. http://missgirlsix.blogspot.com/2012/01/im-in-space-phase.html

    I LOVE THIS!! thanks for the tutorial. i got great results (above) and have tried a lot of your styles. they are super cute and overall just awesome. THANK YOU!!
    miss6

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  30. Thanks for the wonderful tutorial. I tried it myself here: http://www.thenailjunkie.com/2012/02/3-part-mani-step-3-nail-art-revlon.html

    I linked your tutorial and used one of your photographs. :)

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  31. Hi Jane! Thanks for the tutorial - I had a bit of trouble with the placement of the triangle but re-did it and got it right. Here is the finished result!
    http://cocomotion.onsugar.com/Earth-Day-2012-Green-Files---Lightning-Strikes-China-Glaze-Agro-22146596

    I want to try the double lightning bolt next! Ultimate goal is to do the Explosion nails!

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  32. I like this tutorial so much! THX :)

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  33. I love your blog, but I start by few days with my nails :D I'm not a great nail artist like you!!!
    It's the only tutorial that I success :D

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  34. I'm about to try this I absolutely love it!!!
    One question: do you put a top coat on your base color before you do the tip??? Thanks!!!!

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    1. It's not necessary unless you find it to take to long to dry, in that case you can use a fastdrying topcoat (I use Seche Vite) to speed things up. But a normal topcoat before the tip is definitely not required, in fact it will only make the drying slower!

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  35. I have so much fun imitating your designs. Thanks for the inspiration! Here's my take: http://whistlestar.blogspot.com/2012/09/lightning-bolt-french-mani.html

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  36. I tried your tutorial for my first tape manicure - it is so cute!
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/beanzilla/8350488355/

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    1. Love it!! The glitters work so well with the design. :-D Thanks for your comment!

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