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The Glossary

Dotting Tools: Tools used to make different sized dots. You can also use things around your house such as a toothpick, the end of a small paintbrush (which is what I used forever!), the head of a pushpin, etc.

Dupe: When one company produces a colour that is the exact same as a shade from another company. The two polishes are dupes (or duplicates) of each other.

(Velvet) Flocking Powder: readily available at craft stores or online, it is a fine powder that emulates velvet when applied to your nails. To apply it use a coat of nail polish and while that is still tacky, apply the powder. Do not top coat as you will ruin the fuzzy effect of the powder.

Franken: a mixture of two or more polishes to create your own colour.

Gradient: on one nail a subtle shift from one colour to another. This is achieved by painting the nail with a base coat of the lighter shade. Then using a sponge, paint on stripes of the colours you want to use for the gradiant. Apply it to the nail and move the sponge up and down the nail to blend the colours and achieve the gradiated look. It is very important to only move the sponge the amount you want the colour to blend on the nail. Otherwise, you will end up with your nail one colour. You can buy sponges on the cheap from a dollar store and they work really well.

Glequin: Glitter sequins used in nail art. They can come in a variety of different shapes and sizes. I believe the term was coined by The Nailasaurus.

Nubs: Really short nails with little to no white showing at the end.

Skittles: an effect where each nail has a different design on it but the nails are all unified by a theme (i.e. colour, style)

Paisley Skittles

Stamping Plates:

Striping Tape: a thin tape that is used specifically for nail art. To use, tape off the area that you wish to remain your base coat, paint over the tape and then remove quickly to retain sharp lines.
The tape can come in many different colours. You can buy it for pretty cheap off eBay or if you are in a rush, you can get it in Walmart.

Stripes done with striping tape

Tip damage:

VNL: Visible nail line. A no-no in the nail world. This is when your nail polish is not opaque enough to provide full coverage and you are left seeing the line of the tip of your nail. If this is the case, you will want to apply one or two more coats of your polish. This sometimes shows when you take a photo of the nail but is not visible to the naked eye in real life.

Watercolor effect: An effect done using saran wrap. An excellent tutorial is located at Polish and Pearls

Wrapping your tips:


  1. Hi! I'm all set to get my paint on, I want to try your galaxy print. I'll wing it for now but do you think you could post detailed sponging instructions? What kind of sponge works best, how much polish onto, etc.
    Here goes!

    1. I will do a galaxy tutorial soon! For now though, you can use just a regular household sponge. Nothing special is needed. Put one or two strokes of polish on the corner of the sponge as a little goes a long way.

    2. Here is an excellent tutorial from The Nailasaurus:

    3. Awesome! Thanks Tam!