Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Tutorial: Lead-lighting over dark polishes

(Nothing to disclose)


I had some interest in a tutorial about the interference lead-lighting technique I showed you recently, so I put one together. First I'll walk you through it, and at the end I'll summarize it in a single image for you.

Step 1) Okay. So. First, you're gonna stamp your image over your dark base. You can use any color that shows up over your base; in this case I'm showing you the most extreme version, a black base with silver stamping:

Step one: stamp your design over your dark base
I stamped with Barry M Silver Foil using Cheeky Jumbo plate 04.

2) If you haven't already done so, select the interference polishes you want to use. What I'm calling an 'interference' polish is a polish that shows up over dark colors, but not over light colors. There are a lot of special effect top coats that look very different over other colors, and there are duochrome polishes that do this, too; if you have a polish that you have to put over black or another color, that's the kind I'm talking about.

I'm going to use four polishes; for the first example, I'll show you Glitter Gal Transitions Soft Red and Glitter Gal Transitions Soft Green; notice how they just look pearly white in the bottle:

Glitter Gal Transitions Soft Green and Transitions Soft Red

For my second example I'll show you CND Crimson Sparkle and Sapphire Sparkle:

CND Crimson Sparkle and Sapphire Sparkle

 Step 3) Put a dot of your polish(s) on your nail plate (or other surface):

I use my plate because I'm going to have to clean it anyway. :)

Step 4) With your dotting tool, pick up your polish:

Use your dotting tool to pick up that polish

Step 5) Use the dotting tool to apply the polish where you want it to show on your design:

Apply the polish to whatever part of your design you like.

Step 6) Look at the awesome pretty you just created!

First, let's take a look at how the glitter gals transformed:

Lead-lighting with interference polishes

Notice how the polishes show up green and purple-red where I applied them over the black; where they overlap with the silver stamping, they don't show up at all, so it looks like I painted inside the lines perfectly. :)

Here are CND Crimson Sparkle and Sapphire Sparkle over the black:

Lead-lighting with Interference polishes

These show up slightly differently; they are more glittery, and they have a multi-chrome effect in the sifting light. Just stunning...:)

I've showed this over black, but you don't have to limit yourself just to black; you can use a variety of bases, just play around with different polishes to see what works. You can see the other manicure I did, over a green base, by clicking here.

This is a really simple technique, and depending on the image you use, so hard to mess up. If you choose an image with thick lines like I did, it's very easy to say inside your designated area.

As promised, here is a graphic summarizing the steps for you:

Interference Lead-lighting tutorial

Let me know if you have any questions, and I'd love to see what you do with this technique; link below if you try it out. :)

Hugs and loves,


  1. Brilliant post, Michelle! I love your congenial, easy way of making nail art techniques so approachable. You rock!

    1. Thank you so much! That's one of the best compliments you could ever give me. :) <3

  2. I would never have thought of this! Very cool technique!

  3. What a great idea! Thanks for the tutorial. :)

    1. You're welcome! My pleasure. I'm always happy to do tutorials, but I'm never sure what people would like to see. :)

  4. Awesome tutorial! These are so cool and pretty.

    1. Thank you so much! I'm glad it was useful. :)

  5. This looks so cool! I'm not sure if I have any polishes that behave this way though... but if I find some they're getting used for this :)

    1. Thank you! I bet you do. Most specialty topcoats have this effect. Also look at any of your duochromes that normally take 3-4 coats to get full coverage. :)

  6. Thank you for making this tutorial! ♥ I never thought of this :-)

  7. I am crazy about this!!! I Frickin' love it!!

  8. Excellent tutorial! I love wearing dark polishes, but sometimes run out of ideas for designs that work well over dark bases. This is perfect, thanks!

    1. I hear you. I also love dark colors, but decorating them can be a challenge...


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