Popping My Stamping Cherry: My Konad Experience

By Lynnie | November 23 2012 | 12 Comments

On paper, stamping seems like a really excellent nail art technique. It involves little more than spreading some nail polish on a design-embossed plate, using a small rubber stamper to pick up the (often very intricate) design created by the polish, and then pressing the stamper onto the nail to transfer the design.

Sounds simple, non?

Well, a couple of weeks ago I ordered some Konad and fauxnad* bits and pieces online from OC Nail Art (Konad stockists) and Bundle Monster (who sell good quality fauxnad plates quite cheaply) to take them for a spin and see if using them really is as easy in practise as it in theory.

In addition to a few design plates, I got a plate holder (stops the plate sliding around and provides a surface to scrape excess polish on to), a short handled stamper (I thought the long handled versions looked unwieldy) and a plastic scraper (the metal-edged ones are said to leave scratches on the plates; you can also use a credit card or similar for the job.)

Excited as I was to try nail stamping, I have to say that my early Konadicure efforts were not exactly stellar. I had problems scraping excess polish off the design on the plate, I had problems getting the design onto the stamp, and then I had problems getting the design off the stamp and onto my nails.

You name a part of the process; I had problems with it.

As with so many things, though, practise makes perfect (or in my case, practise makes not so horrifically crap.) Through a bit of trial and (lots of) error, I’ve discovered what we’ll loosely call a technique that seems to work well.

Paint nails with base colour and allow to dry completely (you can use a fast dry top coat to speed up the process.)
1. Apply a daub of polish along the top of the design and scrape it down across the design to fill the embossing, rather than applying polish all over the design. This makes it easier to get clean lines (I think) since there isn’t so much excess polish to deal with, and of course you’re wasting using less polish into the bargain.
2. Immediately remove the excess polish using the scraper. Hold the scraper at about a 45° angle to the plate and use a firm, even pressure to pull the polish over the design in a single motion. Start above the line of polish you’ve put on the plate, and continue dragging past the bottom of the design.

3 & 4. Immediately use the stamper to pick up the polish using a soft rolling motion, rolling the pad of the stamper across the design from either left to right or top to bottom.

5. Immediately (are you sensing a pattern here?) press the stamp onto maths paper/nails to transfer the design. Again, I find a rolling motion works best, probably because I have quite a prominent curve to my nail beds. I roughly line up the centre of the design on the stamp with the middle of my nail and very firmly push the design onto the nail, rolling the stamp across the nail in a single motion (i.e. not rocking it backwards and forwards.)

This should all be done in literally seconds to prevent the polish beginning to dry and becoming unworkable.

I can get away with doing three or four nails before cleaning the metal stamping plate with nail polish remover, after which I dry it with a clean cotton pad. I find that cleaning the stamper with remover between each use means it can’t pick up polish as effectively, even if it’s dried afterwards, so I just flake off the remnants of previous designs with my thumbnail.

If any bits of the Konad design are sticking up and not adhering to the nail, I just use the pad of my index finger to gently push them back down onto the nail plate.

To finish, I use Seche Vite as a top coat to avoid smudging the design, and then use a small brush dipped in nail polish remover to clean up excess from the skin around my nails.

Here’s my latest attempt. We’ll get the gammy thumb out of the way first:

“D’oh” is right. Moving swiftly along, let’s take a looksee at how the rest of the nails panned out:

Sally Hansen Xtreme Wear in White On stamped on Essie Aruba Blue using a design from Konad plate M83

Not too shabby, eh?

All things considered, and despite how pretty I think this mani is overall, I can’t say that I’m a komplete konvert to Konad. It’s fun, certainly, but I just found it all a bit fiddly. But then, I’m in the fortunate position of being fairly good at creating intricate designs freehand. For anyone who wishes that they could DIY deadly patterned nails and doesn’t mind spending a bit of time on them, someone who maybe likes playing with their nails while watching telly and has patience for all the applying paint and scraping and stamping and cleaning, I think it would definitely be worth a punt.

Anyone else tried stamping and loved (or hated) it? Do you have any tips of your own to add?

*the generic name given to non-Konad stamping stuff in the polish blogging community. So now you know.

Nails, Reviews, Tutorials , ,

12 Replies to "Popping My Stamping Cherry: My Konad Experience"

  • Fee says:

    I love it and find Konad much easier than free hand nail art. It does take a few practice trial runs before you master the technique but its like riding a bike, once you’ve mastered it the rest is easy.

    Me and my 7 year old love doing our nails with stamping, especially the Christmas design plates which are great fun.

  • Char says:

    I have been using konad for good while and i love it :) It can be tricky sometimes but worth i find one hand is always better the the other but overall it looks really good and impressive..!!

  • Orla says:

    Oohh you’re turned out a lot lot better than my first attempts. Mine were horrendus. I’m all set to give it another go, however I’ve lost the plates (and the scraper – but that’s easy to replace!) so I’ll have to order more if I’m to try it. I love the looks when they come out properly, but I just didn’t have the patience to practice enough with it to make them look pretty. Yours turned out lovely though!

  • This post is a god send.. I received my konad stamping kit on Wednesday (got the set cheap on a pigsback deal).
    I was so excited :) But after two hours I gave up!! it wasn’t working for me!! I had stamped 3 fingers and destroyed my left hand in polish from the scraper!! oops!

    I was thinking of re-gifting it for Christmas or throwing it out the window, but the tips above are making me think I’ll have another go first. Thanks Lynnie

  • OtherMary says:

    Good tip about not cleaning the plate or the stamper too often. I’ve tried stamping with holographic polishes but my stamper picks up nothing after the first go. I’m thinking that pure acetone might be good for cleaning in between, it evaporates quickly and doesn’t leave residue. Must try it.

    Anyway, I like the little patterns but I cannot use the full-nail ones. I have long nail beds and deep C-curves; the patterns are too short and too narrow – BM patterns are narrower than Konad’s.

  • sweetie1 says:

    Looks amazing but totally wouldn’t have the patience!!

  • Freckles says:

    Great post Lynnie! G

    ot the Konad kit but have been driven to complete distraction by it. Can’t seem to master it, no matter how careful I am :( but your post has inspired me to give it another go. ;)

  • *Aisling* says:

    LOVE how it turned out – but what a palaver! Absolutely no way I would have the patience

  • Lynnie says:

    Char – definitely, the nails on my right hand mostly look like that thumb :oops:

    HappyBubbleGal & Freckles – yay! Do give it another whirl.

    OtherMary – I think you’re dead right. Now that you mention it, when I cleaned with acetone-based removers I got better results afterwards than when I did it with non-acetone removers!

  • Senora Espana says:

    I bought a whole bunch of these while on holidays in Vegas about 4 years ago! I got suckered in by one of those stalls in one of the casino shopping centers and they were doing buy one get one free deals so a lot of people got these as gifts!!
    It was tricky at first but I’ve gotten the hang of it and for me anyway its way easier than doing freehand designs, which I just cannot do at all. My sister uses hers all the time and is the master!
    Another tip for the stamper if its not picking up the polish is to rough it up with a nail file, just give it a bit of a rub and that should sort it out.

  • tori says:

    I have the cheapo Essence version of the Konad kit and am yet to master its ways. Any day now!

  • Maggie says:

    I have the Essence kit too, I was expecting to be great at it straight away and got pissed off when, of course, I wasn’t. I did end up getting one matte black owl on my red nail which I was happy with. The rest of my hand looked crap, though. I’ll check out Konad and see if they’re better!

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