Assisting me in my quest to try all techniques at least once, Born Pretty nail art store sent me some stencils for review. They came in a set of 10 different designs, each one with enough stencils for a full mani.
The stencil material is sticky like tape but thicker so it's easier to manipulate than tape. The stencils come on a backing paper and are easy to pull off and place on the nail (base polish should be dry). The directions say to put the stencil on your skin first to reduce the stickiness, but I stopped doing that after the first couple nails because it seemed I was reducing the stickiness too much and getting gaps that let polish seep underneath. Once the stencil is in place, it's simply a matter of painting polish over the openings, then carefully peeling off the stencil. It's not necessary to fill up the openings—too much polish in there just makes it more likely it'll get messed up, I found.
In my excitement to use these, I didn't write down the details of what polishes I used. I think the base color is one of the fall Finger Paints, Vintage Velvet, and the metallic is definitely a Sally Hansen Insta Dri, most likely Metallic Momentum. I didn't put topcoat on after the stencils for fear of smearing them, but I see from the photos that I should have, just like I would have with stamping, to seal the designs and keep them from looking like they're just sitting on the base color (which they are, but a top coat would smooth out the look).
To sum up, these were easy to use, and I'm sure I'll do a neater job next time now that I know not to paint too thick a layer of polish over the stencil. I know there are plenty of you who could freehand these designs but these stencils are very nice for those of us who haven't developed those skills yet.
This set of stencils is available on Born Pretty's site here. They cost $4.18 for one set; quantity discounts are available if you buy more than one at a time. In addition, if you use code KARENDK31 you can get 10% off on any products from Born Pretty from now through October 31, 2011.
The stencils used for this entry were provided to me for free for review purposes. The content of the entry was not dictated by the provider, and I get to keep the products for my own use.