Introduction: Optical Illusion Dotticure Nail Art

These nails may look complicated, but they're actually quite simple! You'll just need some bright colored nail polishes, a few basic tools, and abundant patience and time.

Step 1: Gather Materials

For this project, I'll be showing you how to create this rainbow design as decals on a silicone mat. You can also do these straight on your nails, but the dry time will be longer.

You'll need

- Rainbow Nail Polishes (pink, orange, yellow, green, blue, violet)

- Base Coat

- Topcoat

- Dotting Tools (at least four of varying sizes)

- Silicone Mat

- Acetone/Nail Polish Remover

- Cotton Swabs and/or Clean Up Brush

- Paper Towels or Cloth (to clean dotting tools)

- Liquid Latex (optional)

- Silicone Stamper (optional)

- Orange (wooden) Stick

- Scissors (optional)

Step 2: Apply Topcoat to Silicone Mat

The first thing you will need to do is apply a thick layer of topcoat to your silicone mat and allow it to dry - usually five to ten minutes, depending on the brand. You'll need a rectangle of topcoat for each decal you're making. The topcoat ensures that the decal will stick together and peel up cleanly from the mat later on.

(If you don't have a silicone mat, just apply a base coat to your nails in this step.)

Step 3: Add First Dot

In the middle of each decal, add your first dot using your smallest dotting tool. I chose to start with pink, but you can start with any color, and you can even start with a different color on each decal to make each nail look unique.

For best results, you'll want to add a drop of polish to the side of your silicone mat (not where any of your decals are), and dip your dotting tool into that dot to then transfer the color to your decal. Change your polish any time it starts to become stringy or the dots come out misshapen, and be sure to wipe off your dotting tool on a paper towel in between each color.

Step 4: Add More Dots Spiraling Outward

Begin adding more dots, spiraling outward as you add each color of the rainbow. You want the dots to slightly overlap the dot before it, as well as any dots that would be underneath as you start spiraling around. This gives your design the appearance of being 3-dimensional or getting closer to you as it spirals. If you are making multiple decals, there should be no need to wait in between adding the next set of dots (if you are doing these straight on your nails, the polish generally takes longer to dry, so there may be some wait time in between). If you're finding that the colors are pooling and running together, you may need to give them a few more seconds to dry before adding the next dots.

Once you've used all your colors, start over with whichever polish you used first. You'll want to continue this pattern until you've done several passes with each color.

Step 5: Switch to Next Largest Dotting Tool

Once you have your base done, switch to your next largest dotting tool and continue working. Changing to larger dotting tools as you work gives the illusion of the spiral getting closer as it moves outward.

Step 6: Switch to Second Largest Dotting Tool

After a few more loops, switch again to the next largest tool and continue working.

Step 7: Finish Using Largest Dotting Tool

To finish up, switch to your largest dotting tool. Once your decal is wide enough to fit your nail, you can just add dots to the top and bottom of the decal. To keep the color pattern, you'll want the dots on the bottom to be shifted one place to the left from their corresponding dot in the previous layer, and the tops should be shifted about three places to the right.

Step 8: Allow Decals to Dry

Once the decals are long enough to completely cover your nails, allow them to dry completely. This can take quite awhile, so you may want to leave them and come back to finish up later. I would allow them to dry for at least 30 minutes (you can also make these several days in advance, but the polish will become more brittle and harder to work with the longer it's left to dry). To test the decals, lift up the corner. If it peels up without tearing or pooling any of the polish, it's probably ready.

Step 9: Remove and Trim Decals

Use an orange stick to gently peel the decals away from the mat. You'll want to work slowly to avoid ripping the decal. To reduce the amount of clean up you'll have to do, you can use scissors to trim the decals to better fit your nails. To ensure the entire nail is covered, you might want to leave a bit of overhang on each side.

Step 10: Apply Liquid Latex Around Nails

If desired, apply a thin layer of liquid latex around your nails and allow it to dry. The latex will help to hold your decal in place while you clean up, and it will help to keep polish off your nails.

Step 11: Apply Basecoat to Nails

Apply a layer of base coat to your nails. Don't allow it to dry - you'll be using it as a glue to secure your decals in place. (It's best to do this and the next steps one nail at a time to ensure the base coat is still tacky.)

Step 12: Place Decals on Nails

Place the decals on your nails. To eliminate air bubbles in your decals, you can pick them up and place them using a silicone stamper. Otherwise, you can use your fingers or tweezers to place them on your nails and gently press them down into the base coat.

Step 13: Clean Up Around Nails

Use a cotton swab or clean up brush dipped in acetone or nail polish remover to carefully dissolve the excess decals around your nails. Be sure to do this to the sides and tips of your nails, too, to meld the decals to your nails. Remove the liquid latex if using.

Step 14: Seal With a Topcoat

Once your nails have dried, apply a topcoat to seal in the design.

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