Scotch Tape and I: A Love Letter from the Manicure-Incompetent

For someone who considers themselves an artist, I am absolute shit at painting my nails.

It’s weird, give me anything resembling a pencil and I can draw ornate detail that would make baby angels weep. But the second you put a brush with paint in my hand – and this is true of painting things besides nails – I turn into a shaky mess. I like to keep my nails painted at all times, and I usually use the extremely sophisticated “paint your entire finger and then wash a bunch of dishes under hot water” method for getting the entire nail but getting the nail polish off the finger. My sister, who is a nursery school teacher, has informed me that one of her students could paint nails better than I could. Even if they were having a seizure. I’m pretty sure she wasn’t being mean and those are just the facts.

I’ve been painting my nails on the regular for about four and a half months now, and that method had been working for me except for one tiny hitch – I was getting bored with solid colors.

I have achieved a non-solid manicure exactly once using a Sally Hansen Nail Art Pen because, as I have stated before, my steady hands begin and end when I am holding something resembling a pencil. Sadly, the pen was not mine, it  was my sister’s, and she took it with her when she moved out. (Rude.) So I trekked my way down to the CVS where said magical pen was purchased, visions of nail art dancing in my head. Think of what I could achieve, I thought to myself, if only I had a white nail art pen! Polka dots! Pinstripes! Zig-zags! Checkers! Fish scales! Bullseyes! And what if – what if – I got more than one color!? The possibilities were endless. I was a new woman with a new lease on life.

And then CVS apparently no longer carried them.

This fatal blow to my nail art plans was dealt last Sunday, and yesterday I decided to stop mourning and start researching every nail art blog I could find and bookmarking every tutorial. People did nail art before the pens, surely I could figure out something, right? Wrong. Oh so wrong. So very, very wrong. Ombre effects using q-tips did not work. Toothpicks gave very uneven and gloppy distribution. And my attempt at stripes this morning was so heavy from all the layers required to get them vaguely straight that it literally melted down my fingers over the course of fifteen minutes like plastic.

I was whining about this to my friend Hannah, utterly defeated, when she suggested scotch tape. Now I’d heard of various methods of using tape before, and I’d tried a few. Painted scotch tape that was then cut and laid down had never worked for me, and using round stickers to try and create half-moon nails had resulted in quite a lot of tragedy. But hey, I was desperate, bored with my nails, and had nothing better to do. I figured I’d try just one finger, and if it didn’t work, I would be absolutely justified in my pouting.

Guys, it worked. It’s not a perfect method, especially for those, like me, who are terminally impatient. You really have to make sure both the underlying base coat is totally dry before you put down the tape and that the top coat is dry before you take the scotch tape off. But I did (I used  Revlon’s Copper Penny fore the base and Spoiled’s Distant Memory, for overlay,  in case you were wondering) and it looks great. Amazing. Magnificent. I even Q-tip cleaned the yucky edges so I could take a picture and show everyone. It’s the most perfect manicure in the history of all manicures. And if it’s not, don’t tell me. I don’t want to know.


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