“Konading” is a nail art technique that is becoming increasingly popular. The term Konad is derived from a very popular brand of nail stamp art. Although the word Konad refers to a specific brand of nail stamp, in the world of nail art fanatics, it is often used in verb form. In short, to “konad” your nails means to stamp them with nail polish using an image plate and special nail art stamper. If you’re interested in nail art but lack the artistic ability of free hand drawing, nail stamping is your next best bet.
What exactly is nail stamping? Nail stamping is exactly what it sounds like. It requires a few special tools. You will need nail polish of course. You will also need a special rubber stamper designed for nails and image plates with your desired design on them. You’ll also need something to scrape the polish from your plates. You can purchase the rubber nail stamper, design plates, scraper and even special polishes to use for stamping. These are usually sold in kits. Though there are a few brands to choose from, the most popular and trusted brand is the Konad nail stamping kit. I highly recommend choosing this brand when you purchase your kit, if you want a good quality and long lasting nail stamping set.
Like anything nail related, konading has a learning curve. It is a very easy technique that requires little artistic ability. However, a steady hand, a good amount of patience and a bit of creativity are required. Before you start nail stamping, it’s best to read up on the subject and learn the best techniques. Doing so will make your experience much more enjoyable and spare you hours of frustration.
Your nail stamping kit will usually come with a rubber nail stamper, a scraper, a stamping polish and an image plate. An image plate is a metal disc with multiple designs embossed into it. Basically, you paint over the design on your plate and then use your stamper to pick up the design to transfer it to your nail. You can buy additional image plates if you want more designs to choose from. Konad offers a variety of plates with a large array of designs and images to choose from.
You can also buy special nail stamping polishes to use with your nail stamping plates. These special polishes are recommended for best results. They are specially designed for stamping and usually have a thicker, opaque formula which will easily transfer from your plate to your stamper and finally your nail. However, many regular polishes can be used with a Konad and still give you good results. As a basic rule, any nail polish that is thick and opaque can work. Nail polishes that are opaque on the nail in 1-2 coats work the best. Thinner polishes and sheer polishes are not usually recommended. If you don’t want to shell out the extra cash for special polishes you can experiment with polishes you already own, though good results are not guaranteed.
Now that you are familiar with the tools, it’s time to talk about application. 99% of people will fail at their first attempt at konading. This is normal. Do not let it discourage you. As I stated earlier, it just takes a little practice and technique.
Before you start stamping you will need to prep your nails. Start off by doing what you normally would before a manicure. Trim and shape your nails as desired and make sure your cuticles are in good condition. Apply your favorite base coat and if desired, a coat or two of your desired nail color for a base. You can konad over any color you’d like, or even leave your nails clear for a pretty effect. If you choose to do a clear base, make sure to at least use a base coat or a clear nail polish to give the stamping polish something to stick to. Wait until your base is completely dry before you start stamping.
Before using your rubber nail stamp for the first time, you may have to prep it. Many people who try their brand new stamp complain that the images don’t transfer to the rubber properly. If you experience this, there is an easy fix. Using an emery board, lightly file the exposed surface of your stamp a few times. You don’t have to go crazy with this, just a few strokes of your nail file will do just fine. This will roughen the surface of your stamp just enough to allow the polish to adhere better.
The next few steps are the tricky part. You must move quickly in between each of these steps for best results. Start off by choosing your design. It’s best to start off with a simple design that does not cover the entire nail, unless you are naturally artistic and confident with your skills.
Using your desired stamping polish color, paint over your chosen design on your plate with a nice thick layer of polish. Immediately after you do this you must scrape and stamp. Move as fast as you can because the polish tends to dry fast. Dry polish won’t adhere to your stamp. As soon as you paint over your design on the plate, hold your scraper at a 45 degree angle and firmly scrape over top of the design to remove the excess polish.
As quickly as possible, press your stamp over the design to transfer it your stamper. Press firmly but do not use too much force. If you press too hard your rubber stamp might stick to the plate and it can pop out from the stamper.
If your design is blotchy or broken on your stamp, clean your stamp and plate with a gentle nail polish remover and try again. It may take a few tries before you successfully transfer the design to your stamp. Don’t give up, just keep practicing and you will eventually get it right. When your design is solid and completely transferred to your nail stamp, apply it to your nail in a gentle rolling motion. You might have to practice your placement technique before you completely get the hang of it. It is not uncommon for beginners to end up with crooked designs on their first few tries. You will get better at this over time.
If you are happy with how your design transferred you can repeat the process on the rest of your nails. Make sure to clean the image plate and scraper with nail polish remover in between each nail application for crisp, clean results. I always use a q-tip soaked in nail polish remover for plate clean up to avoid ruining my manicure. Pure Acetone works best for cleaning your plates. You can use a regular strength nail polish remover as well but make sure it doesn’t have any added moisturizers as these can leave a nasty film on your plates over time.
When you are finished stamping your nails you will need to apply a top coat. A top coat is very important to protect your design from smearing or rubbing off. This step also takes some practice. When you apply your top coat you want to apply it in the least amount of strokes as possible to avoid smearing your design. The best way to do this is by floating your brush across the surface of the nail. Floating means to apply the polish without actually touching the brush to the nail. Touching the brush to your nail design is what causes it to smear. For best results, try to apply your top coat in 3 strokes or less. If your design is small enough, try floating a single coat just over the design. When the coat over the design is dry you can go back and apply it to the rest of your nail.
Once you’ve successfully applied your top coat to all of your nails, you’re finished! You’ve successfully konaded your nails.
You can create endless designs and looks with nail stamping. Experiment with different polish colors and plate designs and you’re sure to find a unique and creative nail art look you are happy with. Have fun!