Hint: Hit the "$$$" tag to find out how much various items cost and where to buy them.

Updates & Notices

Some prices and info on products are are out of date so please check the dates at the top of those entries. I typically date an entry when I last updated the info within.
Glitter Suppliers, Pigment Suppliers, Franken Polish Supply Stores and Suspension Base Suppliers are completely updated as of 6/26/16. Matte Glitter Suppliers is updated 6/27/16, SpectraFlair or Something Like It updated 6/29/16

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Thursday, February 24, 2011

Best Buy Supplies 3

Everything Updated 4/22/16

I acquired a few more frankenpolish supplies recently, containers for pigments and color recipes from SKS Bottle and a silicone sheet like the one TKB Trading originally had listed but was out of stock on. TKB Trading has replaced the Norpro version with a different one but the link still works.

Periodically I go check TKB's "New!" page for updates and the last time I did, I watched the Franken Polish Tools video Mrs. Westerman had posted where she talks about and demonstrates many of the items listed on the page. The one that caught my eye was the Silicone Sheet. This now sells for $14.75. The major selling point for me is not that it helps keep your work area clean, because I have a variety of plates, paper and foil I normally use for that, but that nail polish won't stick to it, it can be peeled right off when dry. This has enormous potential to me.

I've said many times that I want swatches of the polishes to keep as a reference but I also have my swatch papers where I save and label the small color mixes I'm trying out. When doing that of course, the color of the paper it is swatched on is important because even a slight yellow tint to white is going to throw off the color of the sample. If polish doesn't stick to silicone, then those small samples of mine could be mixed right on the sheet, peeled off afterwards and preserved on any paper.

I've learned to ignore my initial urge to buy something because if I didn't, I'd be penniless but this time I waited too long and as I said, TKB Trading's silicone sheet was out of stock. Not willing to wait any longer I searched for alternatives on eBay, always a good reference, and ultimately found out that the silicone sheet was:  

Norpro brand
Size: 19 1/2" x 15 1/2"
•Flexible, nonstick silicone offers instant, easy release without the use of grease
•Pastry sheet with guideline measures for rolling out dough or pie crusts from 6" to 15"
•Doubles as a baking sheet liner: Allows for even heat distribution, helps prevent over browning on the bottom of baked goods, and replaces the need for parchment paper, butter or nonstick sprays.
•Oven safe to temperature of 450F/230C.
•Also, great for freezing or stretching candy.
•Nonabsorbent silicone keeps moisture in your food and won't retain odors.

The others that were on eBay, Good Cook, Silpat etc were not as large as the one made by Norpro so that's what I settled on and found the best price at Jack's Country Store. I paid $5.99 for the silicone sheet and $5.00 shipping for a total $10.99, $1.00 less than buying from TKB. Updating prices the price has gone up to $11.99.

My second purchase was from SKS Bottle, the company I've bought my 4 ounce containers from. I was on the hunt for vials like the ones my glitter from the Hobby Lobby came in, roughly 1/2" in diameter x 2" tall. The caps have a 1/8" diameter hole for easy dispensing and liquid-wise, they hold 3ml.

Their size made them ideal for taking my supplies with me to my father's every weekend; enough glitter to play with without taking up much room. I wasn't able to find anything identical but I found the next closest thing (for me) from SKS Bottle, Clear Styrene with Snap Caps, shown below. I bought the 2 ½ dram vials and the 7 dram vials after having converted drams to milliliters. The standard polish bottle is 15ml while a mini bottle is 3.6ml.

The clear styrene vials with snap top caps will allow the natural color of your product to show through. The styrene vials could possibly be used to package bath salts, herbs, spices and more.

0710-12
2 1/2 Dram Clear Styrene Vials w/ Snap Caps
2 ½ drams = 9.2ml
40 mm x 18 mm (or 1.57 inches by 0.71 inches)
144/bag = $20.74
----------------------------------------------------------------
0710-03
7 Dram Clear Styrene Vials w/ Snap Caps
7 drams = 25.8ml
55 mm x 27 mm (or 2.17 inches by 1.06 inches)    
144/bag = $29.66

Here the containers are shown together.

The 2 ½ dram vials were for my "portable pigments" but I bought the 7 dram for storing my color recipes in. The 30 gram jars I currently use are from TKB Trading, 2" diameter; 1" tall (or 50 mm Diameter x 25 mm tall) and will hold 9 grams weight of pigment. I'm running low on those and knowing SKS Bottle was going to get me on the shipping because they only use UPS, I bought the 7 dram as well.

Shipping was $15.23 via UPS but fast- I ordered them in the evening of February 18th so not counting the weekend, processing to delivery only took 4 days. This makes my third order placed with SKS Bottle and every time I've found them to be responsive, quick and reliable. The only con is using UPS for shipping so if you're going to buy from there, order enough to make the expense worth it- there was only a $2.00 increase in shipping for my adding on the second set of vials.

Another handy item to buy that I actually bought years ago are the set of 5 mini spoons that TKB Trading sells for $5.89. These spoons have multiple uses. They are (were) used to covert the color recipes on TKB's website although the majority of those have been pulled since the Pops collection was discontinued. I use them for my own pigment color recipes as well. The drop spoon I use most often when frankening because of the conservative amount it holds and because it will fit in the neck of most polish bottles. These are also far more durable than the plastic alternative and the measurement name is imprinted in the metal so the name will never wear off.

Glitter Unique sells these mini spoons as well, for only slightly less, $5.50 in which case I'd choose the company I'm aleady ordering something from (saves on shipping).

-MK

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Saturday, February 19, 2011

Color Recipe Flubs

Links checked 12/12/13

I spent my day yesterday messing around with my pigments trying to create something new in addition to trying to tweek The Conservatorie's Shamrock. After several hours and two flubs I decided I'm not much good at it. I often forget to factor in that the color is going to darken when it's added to polish and some interference pigments will be diminished; what looks great "dry" is less remarkable in polish.

So after Shamrock ended up looking like a cross between Coastal Scents' Duocrome Iridescent Green Gold Mica and Gemtone Topaz Mica (I could've sworn that was Gemstone) and my 30 gram container was too full to continue, I started wondering what does everyone else do when their color recipe fails? Do you set it aside, hopefully to go back later and fix it? Do you give it away to someone else or forget about it altogether? Would anyone else even want something like that?

What do you do? Fill me, let me know. Got suggestions, ideas? You can tell me that too. In the meantime I'm going to pack my flubs away along with the frustration before my white walls go green and not in the environmental way. -MK

Monday, February 14, 2011

Franken: #233 Ultra-Marine

Links checked 12/12/13

I chose to post this particular franken polish because it's a striking color and different than anything else I've bought or made; so named Ultra-Marine because it closely resembles my Prismacolor color pencil Ultramarine.

The supplies I used were: Coastal Scents' Sparkle Blue, TKB's Blue Franken Base, clear polish, the normal sized polish bottle and Sinful Colors Let's Talk and Gorgeous purchased at my local Walgreens for $1.99. I also used the Drop spoon from TKB Trading's mini 5 spoon set.

The photo below was taken indoors with a "daylight" lamp.

This was taken outdoors but no sun. Hopefully it gives you a better idea of how purple Let's Talk is compared to my Ultra-Marine and also shows Gorgeous, a very pretty green blue.

Below are the Coastal Scents pigments, Metallic Sapphire, Sparkle Blue (center) and Blackstar Blue, photographed indoors in sunlight. Sparkle Blue is one of the most sparkly blues I own and one of the most recent so I chose to use it.

I like to use a permanent marker to mark my bottle in fourths because this helps me gauge how much polish I'm putting in and it comes off fairly easily. It should go without saying that we always start with dropping in the two BBs.

I filled the bottle slightly over half full with clear polish and added 4 drops of Coastal Scents' Sparkle Blue before shaking it well. While it was certainly sparkly it was not much different than Metallic Sapphire Blue in polish so I added approximately 15 drops (liquid, not to be confused with the spoon) of TKB Trading's blue colored base which resulted in a much more intense and darker blue. Again, it was sparkly but not vastly different from other blues.

By now I'm starting to get a little frustrated but the bottle is only a little over ½ full so I've got some wiggle room. It seems a good idea to make it a greener blue so I added ¼ of Sinful Colors Gorgeous only to find after shaking it again that it wasn't that different. Why strive for "different"? Because after 291 bottles I struggle for originality and end up with the occasional flub and I hate waste. With ¼ left empty whatever I did was going to have to be good.

On a piece of my swatch paper I mixed a small sample of what I had made so far and the Sinful Colors Let's Talk, one of my favorite purples and was pleasantly surprised; I added an additional ¼ of Let's Talk and ended up with quite the happy accident.

Now before I start showing you the photos of the actual manicure, let me say that I did not do the clean up before taking the pictures, nor did I top coat it. With 4 coats required and my patience limited I chose to forego those steps in favor of capturing the color before I had enough time to screw it up.

Photographed outdoors, no sun. Not the clearest but the best one out of what I took. And yes, my pinkie is longer than the rest of them but I refuse to cut it back. I break nails regularly and easily so it will no doubt do so on its own.

The two above were photographed indoors under the daylight lamp. In the background of the first is Sinful Colors Let's Talk.

The next four were taken indoors in direct sunlight this morning.


 It's not quite blue in person or purple but it became an instant favorite of mine. -MK

Friday, February 11, 2011

Swatches: TKB Trading Warms

Links checked 12/12/13

Since the sun came out today, I decided to take a break from trying to crack the color code and complete the TKB Trading swatches, the warm color range. All pictures, unless stated otherwise, go from left to right. In each set, the first was taken in daylight, the second in sunlight.

In the yellows and golds are: True Yellow, Lemon Drop Pop!, Crucible Khaki, Hilite Gold, Brilliant Gold, Radiant Gold, Crucible Gold and Forged Gold.
Crucible Khaki (dupe for Coastal Scents' Metallic Olivia- view here), Crucible Gold and Forged Gold are all great metallic pigments but as such, seem to go bad no matter what polish I put them in.

True Yellow, Lemon Drop Pop!, Crucible Khaki & Hilite Gold.

Brilliant Gold, Radiant Gold, Crucible Gold & Forged Gold.

The oranges are: Hilite Orange, Hilite Copper, Lovely Leo, Sparkle Bronze, Australian Amber, Passion Orange, Umber, Copper Penny, Tangerine Pop! and Aztec Gold.
Sparkle Bronze, as the name implies, is very sparkly which makes it one of my favorite colors. Passion Orange and Umber are two more favs, Passion Orange because it is a bright, nearly metallic orange and Umber because it's another good sparkly pigment. Australian Amber is more brown than amber colored so I've never used it in a polish. Aztec Gold is nearly identical to Coastal Scents' Metallic Rustic Gold, view comparison here.

Hilite Orange, Hilite Copper, Lovely Leo & Sparkle Bronze.

Australian Amber, Passion Orange, Umber & Copper Penny.

Tangerine Pop! & Aztec Gold

For the reds we have: Gemtone Ruby, Red Basics, Queen Kathryn, Crucible Red and Deep Russet.
An argument could be made that Gemtone Ruby should be with the pinks but the color order was determined by how the pigment appears in polish and in polish, Gemtone Ruby is darker and redder. Crucible Red is another great metallic but when in polish becomes dark orange and, in my case, goes on the bad list for not playing well with polish.

Gemtone Ruby, Red Basics & Queen Kathryn

Crucible Red & Deep Russet

And finally, pinks: Sparkle Rose, Foliage, Hilite Red, Raspberry Pop!, Strawberry Pop! and Scarlett O’Hara.
Sparkle Rose is another favorite for it's super sparkle and gold interference. It goes well with Chrome Carmine and Duocrome Red Orange from Coastal Scents. Foliage has a match with the other two major pigment companies, Coastal Scents and The Conservatorie but I only own this one and I don't care for it. It's an almost mauve pink with a more violet pink interference. I think of Scarlett O'Hara is a cheaper alternative to Pinky Pink. It's not quite as glittery as Pinky Pink but they are similar in shade and Scarlett has the feel of a fine glitter but without being derived from plastic.

Sparkle Rose, Foliage & Hilite Red.

Raspberry Pop!, Strawberry Pop! & Scarlett O’Hara.

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Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Nail Polish Jewelry

Links checked 12/12/13. As with all pictures, click to enlarge.

This entry gets it's share of views because "nail polish jewelry" has become so popular, and by now there are as many artists as there are techniques to make the jewelry. This was my one-time method and not as sophisticated as some but my intent was to top them off with clear cabochons, I just found acquiring the proper size cabs a challenge. It's been revised and updated several times since the original posting date as I've "learned and perfected" things.

Revised 2/28/11                         
          In May of last year, while browsing various nail polish-related blogs I came across an entry that inspired me to try something different with those newly created and purchased polishes while puting my abandoned jewelry supplies to use. There are many artists whom have begun making nail polish jewelry in different forms and this is my take on it.
The jewelry supplies I used were: 23x16mm silver plated cabochon settings I purchased from eBay, 10x8mm ovals purchased from Fire Mountain Gems, both shown below. I also used nail polish, clear and colored, a small paintbrush and dotting pens. The settings shown are not actual size and not accurate in relation to each other but similar enough to be used as pendant/earring sets.

I also had to find something to act as a sealant (much like a topcoat seals your fingernail polish) and considered purchasing Mod Podge Gloss but after doing some research I eventually chose Utrecht brand (Utrecht is an art supply store) Artists Acrylic Gloss Medium over the Mod Podge. The description reads:  Use Utrecht Gloss Medium & Varnish when you want to add gloss, clarity and transparency to your acrylic painting. When used as a final coat to varnish paintings it creates a smooth high gloss surface that adds depth to colors and acts as a sealer. It could also be mixed with pigment to create a glossy translucent paint and since I do traditional and digital art both, I could see the potential there.

After I had all my supplies ready, the next step was deciding on what polishes to use because I was going for a swirled look. I'd done the same sort of design idea on those junk mail credit cards everyone gets in the snail mail and used them as bookmarks.



I would have preferred using the nail polishes I'd made because there really were some fantastic colors of pigment but this would become the second time the lack of a suspension agent proved itself a problem.

Below is one example, made with 3 different store bought polishes.
As you can see for yourself all three blended nicely and dried in an acceptable swirl. The way I did this was to drip the colors I chose into separate areas of the bezel and swirled them together using the line dotting tool. If you overdo it you take the chance on losing some of the variation of the colors.

In the picture below I used two different polishes, this time ones I'd made from pigment and clear polish. I chose Capricorn Sea and Libra Blues, polishes made with TKB Trading pigments of the same name. The results, while not entirely undesirable, did not swirl together the way I'd intended; instead it took on a speckled appearance as did every franken polish I tried after that. Mind you, this was before suspension bases were available for purchase and I'm certain that missing that ingredient was the cause of the speckling. 



The sealing was not difficult. The gloss medium I chose has a paste like consistency because it's "heavy bodied" so I thinned it slightly with water- being careful not to use too much- and painted it on with a regular small art paintbrush, nothing fancy. Though it was slightly cloudy when I first put it on (think watery Elmer's Glue), it dried crystal clear. It was much better to apply several thin coats however, rather than a thick one because thick dried with surface ripples.

           Aside from learning that thin layers worked better than thick, I discovered that some of these pendants remained slightly tacky/sticky regardless of the time given to dry, the surface also soft enough to be dented and nicked by whatever it came in contact with. As this happened with only a handful of them, its worth noting here that even the Mod Podge Formula Guide and the gloss bottle itself says, "To reduce tackiness, spray project with a clear acrylic sealer.", a step I had not done.

           Approximately two years later after their creation, yesterday, I went back to these pendants and looked at them again, unhappy with the damage to some and the design of others. I decided I was going to try removing the sealed polish with nail polish remover containing acetone. Soaking them in the remover between steps, I was able to scrape away the seal and multiple layers of polish with a wooden cuticle stick and did so successfully without damaging the silver plating of the metal. This was nice to know, that it was never too late to start over.

Below are some more examples of my finished pieces- and by finished I mean sealed. I have to admit I got bored with the project by July 2011 so the poor things remain incomplete.



           This really is one of those relatively easy projects to do. I typically alternate my hobbies so I haven't turned any of these into wearable jewelry but the general idea with the sets were that the larger would be the pendant with the smaller pair becoming earrings.
          I encourage you to try this too. There's nothing like being able to reply, when someone compliments your unique jewelry, that you made it yourself. -MK