Halloween Snakeskin Nail Art Tutorial

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I’m really getting into the Halloween spirit here, and this is my third and final Halloween nail tutorial. (You can see my post about a pretty starry night tutorial here, and a pumpkin confetti tutorial here.)

As I’m going to be dressing as Medusa this Halloween, I thought a snakeskin mani was the only appropriate choice for nail art! Luckily, it’s pretty easy to replicate this.

Snakeskin Montage 1Indigo Skull Scarf, Alexander McQueen

All you need is are two contrasting colours, some lace, and a makeup sponge. I’ve found that this effect works best if you use a dark colour underneath and a lighter colour on top. My tools are in the top left, and my first attempt is on the top right. Bottom left shows you how to place the lace over your varnished nail: basically, paint your nails as usual with your base and colour, then stretch over the lace and sponge the lighter top coat over the top, very sparingly. You then end up with the effect on the right! I used Ruby & Millie in Green, and topped with Revlon’s Gold Coin. Then, a slick of Seche Vite Dry Fast Top Coat, if you’re happy with the look. But me, I’m NEVER happy…

Snakeskin Montage 2Snake Finger Tip Ring, ASOS / Grey Snakeskin Bag, Primark / Snake Bracelet, ASOS / Snake Necklace, eBay / Grey Skull Bracelet, Links of London

The top two images are the plain snakeskin mani, but if your base colour is very opaque, you can paint that over the top again, and get a really subtle snakeskin look, especially if you use a metallic glitter like I did…

But wait! There’s more!

Matte montageEmerald Ring, Primark

If you’re going the whole hog, you may as well add some OPI Matte Top Coat, too! I found it really makes the snakeskin effect pop through the opaque layer…

Matte nails 2

Any plans for fancy nails this Halloween? Is anyone going to try out these tutorials? Let me know below!

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Halloween spider hat tutorial

This Halloween, I decided to challenge myself to make part of my outfit. I have a some specific rules about my Halloween costumes – firstly, that I don’t wear wholly pre-packaged outfits. Nothing off the peg for me, thanks! Thirdly, it has to be scary, or based on a Halloween theme. I guess this is pretty European-centric of me, because I know in the US, Halloween isn’t restricted to spooky costumes. But I love spooky things, so I’m always up for dabbing on the fake blood! Thirdly, I try to dress up as a different version of myself – this sounds very weird, but by that I simply mean that instead of dressing up like a specific person or character, I instead try to imagine what I would wear if I was a witch, vampire, or whatever. I’m sure a lot of people do the same thing! Last year I actually broke this rule when I dressed up as Morticia from The Addams Family, but hey – rules are meant to be broken…

As I’ve been doing this Halloween thing for a good many years now (ouch, how old am I?) I’ve already cycled through the obvious candidates – zombie, witch, vampire. So this year I decided to confront my fears head on and go as ARACHNIA! SPIDER WOMAN. Very scary. Mostly, it’s because I had seen these amazing cobweb style hats, and I wanted to wear one… Unfortunately for me, they were all pretty expensive, so I decided to make my own version. Startlingly, I really didn’t need to buy much in order to make this – but then again, that’s because I’m a failed craft nut, who had bought too many supplies and never used them.
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So, here is what you need to make your own cobweb hat! Halloween hat tutorial

Supplies:

  • Sinamay hat base – any colour, round
  • Black felt
  • Pins
  • Wooden skewers
  • Black paint
  • Paint brush
  • Black embroidery thread
  • Needle
  • Hairband
  • Scissors
  • Plastic spiders

Method:

    • Cut your skewers in half – they form the arms of the cobweb. Also, cut off the pointed tipsHalloween hat tutorial
    • Paint your skewers black – you might need several coats of black paint to get rid of all the streaks. This gives them time to dry while you continue with the rest of your project.

Halloween hat tutorial

    • Cut your felt a little larger than your hat base, then pin in place.

Halloween hat tutorial

    • Sew the felt onto your hat base with the black thread.

Halloween hat tutorial

    • Once you’ve covered your hat base with felt, you can either attach the headband now by sewing it on, or wait until you’ve constructed the cobweb. Either way, it can get fiddly! When you want to attach the headband, pin it in place, then use your thread to secure it in two places onto the base.
    • Time to make the cobweb. Your skewers will be arranged in the classic spokes pattern, like this.
      Halloween hat tutorial
      So, now you sew each spoke onto the hat using your black thread. Sew in two places to make it extra secure – just loop around the skewer, back under, and around again, almost like sewing on a button. You might find your cobweb looks more even if you sew four skewers on at the compass points, then fill in the gaps afterwards. Also, remember to leave a small gap in the middle so that your skewers don’t sit on top of each other. Place a plastic spider on this at the end to hide the gap! Before you add in your final skewer, though, grab your black embroidery thread bundle, and tie the end carefully onto the end of your final skewer. Then sew on as the rest. Tying the thread on at this point will make it less fiddly to attach!
    • This rope demonstrates how to arrange the black embroidery thread onto your spokes to create the classic cobweb effect. Taking your embroidery bundle, weave the thread around the skewers, creating a loop over each stick to keep in place. This is tricky. You need to keep the sticks pulled apart so that the thread stays tight across the loops. Even so, you’ll find that it’s very difficult to keep everything looking tight – but that’s part of the homemade charm, right?

Halloween hat tutorial

  • At the end of the sticks, tie your thread off, then trim the end. If you haven’t attached your headband, do so now.
  • For some optional final touches, add in a fake spider in the centre of your web to hide the spokes, and add another, smaller spider dangling from a thread at the front of the hat!

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So, that’s how to create your own cobweb hat! Here’s a slightly better picture of the hat with the spider in the centre!

Halloween hat tutorial

Anyone going to give this a try next year?

Glitter and glimmer: Effie Trinket’s reaping nails

I’ve always been a tad lazy when it comes to nail varnish – if you call lazy sticking to plain colours! Nail art and decorations always felt a bit beyond me, but when I saw Effie Trinket’s amazing reaping nails in The Hunger Games, I knew I had to try and replicate it for my Hunger Games party costume! While my finished nails look nothing at all like Ms. Trinket’s, I am actually really pleased with the effect that I came up with – glittery gold over festive fuchsia, just right for the holiday and party season coming up! Glitter and Glimmer nails

To achieve this effect, I layered two coats of Fuchsia Hype nail varnish by Bourjois, and allowed to dry. Then, using a makeup sponge, I patted over bronze Glimmer by Topshop three times – once over the whole nail, second just the top half, and the third time, just the tips – making a graduated effect where the bronze shade was much thicker towards the end of the nail. Then I covered the whole lot with Saffron London’s gold glitter, and finished with a top coat. Honestly, this is probably the most complicated thing I’ve ever done to my nails – but it definitely wasn’t difficult, it just involved a lot of stages and layers. I used to find that my nails took so long to dry if I applied more than one coat, but these days it seems like formulas dry quicker, so it’s not as much of a pain as it used to be…

Anyone else tried to do an Effie on their nails? What did your end results look like? And, if anyone gives this a whirl, let me know!

What drinks to serve at a royal wedding watching party

Pimms anyone

Image by Walt Jabsco via Flickr

You’ve got a host of people over to watch Will and Kate tie the knot – but what the heck do you give them to drink, apart from good, old fashioned tea, of course? Check out this handy list of the best British tipples for your thirsty guests!

DRINKS

Fruit Cup

Pimms isn’t the only fruit cup you can make – check out this awesome blog for reviews of some other great fruit cup liquers! What could be better than a long glass of a fruit-studded cocktail on such a great day?

Buck’s Fizz / Mimosa

In the UK, we mostly have Buck’s Fizz, but whether you call it that or a Mimosa, there’s no denying this classic glass of bubbly and fruit juice is a right Royal winner!

Ginger Beer

You can buy your own, but you could try this great recipe for lashings of the stuff – the appropriate quantity for such a feast…

Lemonade

For your drivers and sober types, you need something without alcohol, lest you fall asleep before the vows are over… Making your own lemonade is easy, just combine lemon juice, water and sugar to taste.

Rhubarb, ginger and apple cocktail

Make use of some very British ingredients for this cool cocktail.

Royal Wedding Cocktail

Gin, Dubonnet, lemonade and pomegranate juice make this symbolic cocktail, especially formulated for Wills and Kate.

Halloween fondant pumpkin tutorial

A couple of weeks ago, I decided to have a go at making some cute little pumpkins to go on top of Halloween cupcakes.

Fondant pumpkins

These are easy to make and don’t require any equipment beyond fondant, orange dye and toothpicks. (And green and brown dye if you want to make stalks, leaves and vines.)

Equipment

If you have orange fondant, well, you’re one step ahead… Hurrah! If you want them to be hard, you should make them a couple of weeks before when you need them, so you can sit them in a cool, dark place to set.

Fondant pumpkins, step one

First of all, roll your fondant into a small ball, then squash it down so it makes an oval. This will give it a much more interesting shape than a plain old sphere.

Fondant pumpkins, step two

Now it’s time to use your specialist equipment. First of all, pierce the centre to mark it. Then, rolling the toothpick, create a dimple in the centre of your ball.

Fondant pumpkins, step three

There you go – now you’ll have what looks like an orange doughnut gone wrong.

Fondant pumpkins, step four

Now, use your toothpick to create lines from the centre down the edge of your pumpkin, using a rocking motion. I do this by doing the four compass points, then filling in the spaces in between.

Fondant pumpkins, step five

Like so! With the heat of your fingers, your pumpkin might get a little floppy. You can fix this by placing it in the fridge at any point if it starts getting hard to handle. Don’t be a pushover for a vegetable made of sugar.

Fondant pumpkins, step six

That’s pretty much it! You can add a stalk (I’ve seen people use cloves for this, but obviously they’re not really edible like that) or even make a curly vine from green fondant curled around a matchstick.

Too cute to eat? Never!