Saturday, May 7, 2011

new gradient zebra + TUTORIAL!

Good afternoon guys! I have a very very exciting post for you today as you might already know from the title.
I finally got around to doing a tutorial for gradients! I managed to do it by myself (and my mom took one picture just for fun.)

Here is the masterpiece I will be showing you lovely people today!

(click to enlarge)
I decided to do a gradient I hadn't attempted yet, a summery yellow-orange-pink.
Keep reading to see step-by-step photos and read my tutorial!

I'm really happy to be showing you guys this today.

You'll need:
-Scrap paper
-Base coat and topcoat (I use Seche Retain and Seche Vite)
-Pink, orange, and yellow polish (I chose Sally Hansen Xtreme Wear Power Pink, Sun Kissed, and Mellow Yellow)
-A cosmetic sponge for the sponging
-Black stamping polish (I use Wet N Wild Black Creme)
-A konad or fauxnad full-nail image and your stamper and scraper (I used zebra from m57)
-Remover or acetone and a brush for clean up!

Here is a close up of the type of sponge I use.

You can find these at any drug store or Walmart and even some dollar stores.
When you use up a piece of it you can cut/rip it off and keep using it!

Start with your base coat and then paint your whole nail yellow.

This is 3 coats of Mellow Yellow and it is still streaky but don't worry - most of it gets covered so it is no problem.
(Please excuse my bandaid. I figured you would rather see the bandaid than the nasty cut I got today.)

This color is a bit brighter than bananas, I noticed this because I did this at the kitchen table.

Wait until it is dry, or mostly dry. It can be tacky but not wet.
Don't use a topcoat to speed drying, it will make it harder to blend.
Now the gradient starts! Get your sponge ready and drop a bit of orange polish onto your paper.

Now dip it lightly into the polish and begin sponging it onto the tip of your nail in little dabs.
You want to start at the tip and move towards the cuticle - that way the polish is thickest at the tip and thins out toward the cuticle, making the gradient more smooth.

The above photo shows how you should progress with the sponging.
Start out very faintly like on the pinky, and then keep adding. Always start at the tip and move down to make it blend well.

If at any point you get too much polish on your sponge, dab it off on your paper.

If you put too much polish on your nail, dab your sponge on the paper to get off the excess and then dab it on the spot where you have too much on the nail and keep dabbing to pick it up and move it around.

Here is the picture my mom took!

Yes my other hand is lilac. And the nails are short. I was going to cut both hands until I realized I should do this tutorial before cutting all my nails down again.

A tip - make sure to pay attention to the sides of your nails. It is easy to miss the sides:

Just add some more into the sides to make sure it is all covered.
Like so:

This is what you should have now:

Now, once you're satisfied with your second color, add the third!

Like I mentioned, you can cut off the part of the sponge you just used and begin again.

Again, you start at the tip and move down. And you don't want to go too far down with the pink because it can overtake the orange.
If you mess up, you can also easily fix mistakes like this one:

Just keep dabbing an unused part of the sponge over the problem area and it will soften the mistake and blend it.

I felt that the pink did overtake the orange a little, so I decided to sponge some orange right in the middle of the nail again. It will still blend in well.

Much better!

By the time you do all your sponging, they should be dry enough to stamp on. So get to it!
Adding the stamp on top helps the gradient look blended, but you don't need to stamp on it if you don't want to or don't have plates. You can also freehand some black designs on top!
But like I said, you don't need to add anything if you don't want to - just make sure to use topcoat.

After you're all stamped, clean up!
When I stamp with black I like to use a Q-tip to clean the big black mess before using my brush for neater cleanup. It helps get the black off your skin without staining.
Then add topcoat. The topcoat will really help make the gradient look perfect and blended.

And there you have it!!

Also, it doesn't have to be on long nails like mine. I also did my short nails on my other hand.

Still just as cute! You just need to make each color section a bit smaller.

Another helpful trick I came up with - if you find that your polish is too thick/opaque to blend well, add some clear polish to it on your scrap paper. Mix it up, and you'll have a thinner polish that will blend much nicer!
It may take more sponging to build the gradient, but it will help you blend.

I hope this tutorial was good enough guys! Good luck with your gradients!
If you do one based off my tutorial I would love to see it, so post a link in the comments.


  1. Thanks for the tuto!!
    I love this mani!!

  2. really good tutorial!

    this gradient is gorgeous, i loved it! <3


  3. Thank you rebecca for the tutorial! It's perfectly clear :-) I always love your gradients with stamping and surely will do an attempt once I have time and bought some sponges. Lol, I somehow always thought gradients were done with dishwashing sponges, hahah

  4. Awesome tutorial! It's so bright and fun!

  5. I love a manicure that makes me cry out "OH that is SO HOT" to my lappytop. :P

  6. Oh, super cute, Rebecca! I love it! Thanks for the tutorial, too. I've never done a gradient mani before, but now I really want to try it! :) Hope you have a wonderful weekend!

  7. Awesome!!! Thanks for the tutorial!!! You rock!

  8. This is awesome, Rebecca! It would look cool with black shatter over it, too!! Thanks for the tutorial!

  9. o.o
    This is amazing. I'm going to have to give it a try

  10. The end result is amazing, lady!

  11. thanks everyone!! i'm happy you all like it :)

  12. I believe you are the gradient queen! Looks great and SO easy!

  13. This looks awesome! Love the gradient you did!

  14. GORGEOUS I have to try this. I am new to nail stamping-- do you have any suggestions as to where is best to pick up a starter kit?

  15. Love this! It looks great. :]

  16. Thank you for posting this!

  17. lovely tutorial, looks nice :D

  18. thanks so much for posting this!! i'm really excited to try this again, and hopefully it will work out for the better.

    those colours look awesome together btw!

  19. Awesome review, love that you showed what the sponge looked like and how much polish was on it - I have always wondered about that detail!

  20. YAY! I've been waiting for this one. Can't wait to try it out again with these new tips =D Thanks for taking the time to do this tutorial!

  21. Very helpful! Thank you so much!

  22. you rock the most awesome gradient neon zebra manicures, if it does make sense =D

  23. MUST TRY! ive sponged before but not with 3 colors - ADORBZ :)

  24. i sooooo wish i had sponges now LOL!

  25. Saw your post and did them myself! Here is the result:

    I didn't have te sponges you used, I used sponges from Micheals do didn't really blend well but I still love it! Such a good idea for a manicure! I'm gonna be doing this one more often!!

  26. Wow thnx for this tut. i will be trying this friday! I hope it comes out as good as yours =D

  27. Thanks everyone :)
    Jordan, awesome job!

  28. I love it so much... I have to try to make the same manicure !

  29. This looks great and I think your instructions will really help a lot of people out!

  30. Thanks so much for the tutorial! I will have to try it for sure!!! Have not had much luck with gradients so far :S

  31. I actually tried this out, thank you for the tut!

  32. Just tried this out and gave you all the credit! Thanks for sharing the tutorial! I love this effect!

  33. Great tutorial!! Love this look!!

  34. So gorgeous! I love it! And thanks for the tutorial!

  35. yay! i just read this! i realllly need helo with stamping too! mwahhh! xoxoxo

  36. I currently have the sally Hanson xtreme yellow on my nails now! great color. Great tutorial! thanks for sharing!

  37. This is actually one of my favorite nail art ;)
    I love your work

  38. Thank you so much for the tutorial. I was inspired by your design so I did it too here please follow me! :))

  39. thank you for this tutorial! I tried it out with light orange, orange and red. Worked wonderfully!

  40. This manicure looks great! I'm totaly in love with this stamping plate from konad :-) can't wait to own it by myself !!!

  41. so pretty! I might be the only nail blogger under the sun that has not tried the gradient zebra design! lol -- But that will def. change next summer!! Thanks for the inspiration!

  42. This comment has been removed by the author.

  43. Hey Rebecca! I've moved my blog so I am going to repost the comment I had before under my new blog :)

    I've been wanting to try this out ever since I found your blog and I managed to give it a go :)

    That's my final product :D thank you so much for the helpful tutorial!