Festival Nail Art Tutorial: Chequerboard & Flowers

Get festival-ready with this HONA festival nail art tutorial by the talented brand ambassador, Steph @naileditnailsbysteph! In this tutorial, Steph shares her personal tips and tricks for creating stunning nail art and flawless line work. Learn all about the must-have brushes she recommends for precise designs and how to master the art of isolated chrome.
Festival Nail Tutorial Chequerboard

Today we are going to be going through how to create cute festival style nail art, perfect for summer. In this example we are using Wham! A stunning lime colour with a lovely shimmer through it. Real festival vibes.

Apply a coat of your chosen colour. You only need a thin coat with HONA gels as they're super pigmented. If you have any excess when applying, take it off the brush. Then apply a second layer. Making sure that the layer is nice and thin, wiping off any excess that you don't need. Ensure you get two coats for a nice pigmented base for the nail art design. You may need to go over the nail a few times with a brush to ensure it’s completely flat and remove any excess. It’s a good idea to go in with some IPA after curing each layer (for 60 seconds) just to wipe off the tacky layer that the gel leaves, especially when drawing lines. A nice matte surface works best when applying detail paints.

Next you’ll need a striper brush. You may want to cut your striper brush to be a little thinner. For this design we will be using Venetian detail paint, which is a stunning fluorescent pink. You’ll need to load the brush, you can do this by dipping it in the pot and twizzling it round. Ensure that all of the bristles are coated then bring it to the edge and just pull the excess off into the pot, pulling it out and wiping off all of that excess.

When painting the lines for the chequerboard, pick a spot and completely commit. Once there, pull down quickly. And it's done. For lines, especially vertical lines, the best thing you can do is just commit. So again, load the brush up with detail paint and remove excess. Make sure it's even as possible, then size up where you want the next line to be. Again, making sure the brush is not overflowing with product. Pick where you want it to go and commit. The best tip with long vertical lines is to just commit. 

Now you’ll need to go in with the horizontal lines, one at a time. Pick where you want your lines to be, you’ll want the squares to look as close to the same size as possible. Then move to the side and do one side of horizontal lines at a time. Then switch to the other side and do exactly the same. So that's how to do vertical lines across. We don't recommend doing them in one big line because (especially the nail is curved) it can be quite difficult to get it right all across, whereas this way, it's easier to control a shorter line.

Now put the nail in for a flash cure of 10 seconds. But there you go, that's the start of your chequerboard. Now you’ll need a bit more product, and to pick your first coloured in square, we suggest the middle square. Again, it won't take too much product because the detail paints are really really pigmented. Just work that product through the square. Keep it nice and smooth.

And with a chequerboard, we want to do the squares that are diagonal. So you want to make sure that above and to the sides of the coloured in square are left as the base colour to keep that chequerboard effect. And again, just making sure that you're not loading up with too much product. And then pick your next square, and repeat. It’s a good idea to keep a clean up brush nearby, so if you do go over, you can just quickly put it in some IPA and just do a little bit of a touch up if you need to.

So, because we’ve flash cured our base grid, we can wipe and the grid won't move. So it's just the squares that are wet. So now we've got all our squares coloured in and done a full 60 second cure. You’ll then need to apply the non-wipe SuperShine top coat on top as we're going to use chrome on top of this.

When using chrome, you can use a non wipe and then buff that off. Just a nice even layer. Then wipe with IPA. That is how to avoid chrome dust that sticks to places you don't want it to stick, you get a really neat, precise chrome application.

So now it’s time to go in with the HONA dotting tool and black detail paint. You’ll need to use quite a lot on the dotting tool. Then begin placing little dots to create a flower shape and just pulling the excess into the middle to create that kind of groovy flower shape. So we're going to do that flower shape on all of the squares that we've coloured in. So again, just keeping the dots spaced out far enough that the detail paint doesn't touch each other. And just with the excess on the dotting tool, just drag them into the middle, this doesn’t have to be super precise. Just making sure that the dots aren't touching, so you're still getting that nice flower shape. If you feel like the dots are touching, or you don't feel comfortable, you can cure in between. But you must also chrome in between as well. Because with the HONA cube, you really only need to be curing on the 30 second setting for 20 seconds, it's very powerful.

And if you were to leave the chrome without chroming it and cure it every single time the original flower that you did first wouldn't chrome. Ensure you don’t forget the half squares at the top. Now it’s time to put that in for a 20 second cure on the 30 second setting. Any more and the chrome will not stick.

Next you’ll need to go in with the other end of the dotting tool, still with the black detail paint and place an inside dot in the centre of all the flowers. Again, you don't need to cure in between. Then you can add another chrome, we suggest Mai Tai, which is a stunning greenish yellow, really bright which ties in with wham really nicely. Just apply by rubbing in circular motions. Making sure that you've really rubbed in the chrome to get that nice shine.

Then go in with a soft bristled brush and just wipe off the excess and add a top coat. And there we have it, the finished look. I have gone in with just the SuperShine topcoat. I hope you guys enjoyed this tutorial. Thank you so much for following along!