How To Create Gel Sheets for Nail Art

After months of tough competition, winning the NAILPRO Cup is a sweet reward—and part of that prize includes a trip to our offices in Los Angeles to do the nails for the October cover. We were fortunate to host the 2016 champ Shiori Durham, who came well prepared for a killer set of nails. At first look, the nails might appear fairly simple, but the technique she employed was quite innovative: She created her own patterned gel sheets that she then cut into shapes and arranged on the nails. The completed designs lay on beautifully crafted acrylic sculptured nails, a reminder that an amazing nail is only as good as its structure (clearly a skill long practiced in the competition arena). Read on to see how Durham created the cover look.




Step 1:

Durham began by prepping the model’s nails and applying forms. Then she sculpted an almond-shape nail with clear acrylic, filing them into shape.

Step 2:

To create the pattered sheet, Durham began by painting a square base of white gel polish on a piece of plastic. After curing, she added a second coat and cured again.

Step 3:

Next she used her gel brush to paint short strokes of blue, red, green and gold glitter gel polish randomly on the white surface. She repeated that process, curing after each layer, until she achieved her desired look/opacity.

Step 4:

Durham then peeled the gel polish off of the plastic and cut it into triangles and rectangles.

Step 5:

Next she applied two coats of black gel polish to the nail, curing after each coat.

Step 6:

Durham laid a strip of patterned gel down the center of the nail. Because the gel polish is tacky, the strip easily melded into the black layer.

Step 7:

After applying gel top coat and curing, Durham finished off the look by applying multicolor crystals to the base of the nail, adhering them with clear acrylic.

Step 8:

"The gel color sheet I made was inspired by Japanese Washi paper, which is made up of fibers and beautiful colors," Durham says.

[Images: Courtesy of Cory Sorensen]

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