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Omg, omg, omg. UberChic Beauty's Sweet April. This plate. THIS plate!! This is my favorite plate from any make anywhere, ever. And I have seen a LOT of plates. A lot. Trust me, A LOT.
See, what happened was, they found this illustration in a 19th century book, and decided to take the whole thing and make it into a stamping plate, exactly as it was. Best. Idea. EVER.
As always, I have a video review of this plate, and if you want to hear some fangirl happy, you'll find it here:
Stills & Size
Next on the agenda is the still shot of the plate; seriously, how beautiful is this?!:
And let's look at how big this chickadee is (did I just use the word chickadee?):
But...does it stamp?
And, of course, the crux of the matter is--how does this beauty stamp? Let's take a look:
Excellent detail, look at that face!! Now, there are some things you need to know here. All of the UberChic Beauty plates I've received, including this one, are engraved more on the deep side. That's not bad or good, it just means you have to stamp accordingly. Don't be stingy with your polish, and scrape well. When you clean your plate, especially if you use cotton or the like, you may have fibers catch on the plate. You can remove them by either running your finger over the area, or pressing a piece of tape over the area. I use the tape method.
This is not a beginner plate, both because it can be intimidating to figure out how to use it if you're new to stamping, and because there are lots of areas that have a lot of engraving packed closely together, with different types of images. Solid images next to fine lines, etc., and all of that can make your stamping a little more challenging. You may need to adjust based on your polish and your tools. But the above two swatches were my very first two attempts ever to stamp with this plate, so it's definitely very stampable!
How To Use
Yay, now we get to play! Okay, it goes without saying that this plate can be overwhelming, even for a collage-style plate. It's gorgeous as a single image, of course--but how do you get that beauty to translate into something that goes on your nails?
Normally I walk you through different types of manicures you can do with a plate: use areas for full-nail images, build scenes with different parts of the images, do manicures that transition from one pattern to another, etc. You can do all of that with this, certainly. But for this post, I'm going to focus on encouraging you to think outside of the box when you look at plates like this, and to see the images with new eyes.
In my videos, I often pull out a little piece of paper that has a nail-shaped hole cut out of it; I originally saw this idea on Chit Chat Nails. If you have a hard time looking at something like this and breaking it down into its component parts, using a tool like this will be a huge help for you. I shall demonstrate!
I have to start with the beautiful lady herself, although this is probably the most obvious part. But take a look at these two framings and see how one gets more of her hair and looks more care-free, while the other gets more of her bust and looks sexier.
I also adore the feather.... Here I've captured the peacock 'eye' to demonstrate, but there are other parts of the feather you can stamp that look just feathery or like a scribble-y background image. Or stamp different parts of the feather on each nail, so it looks like the feather is draping over your fingers.
Check out how cool these birds look flying across your nails. Just like with the feather, there are enough different places to pull the birds from that you can have them flying over your entire manicure, or you can do a simple but amazing accent nail like this.
Let's talk about texture. When you look at parts of the plate, don't just think about what the section actually is, think about what it could be. Imagine it in different colors and from different angles. We know that in the actual picture, this section is swaths of cloth surrounded by flowers and dots. But what if you stamped it in white over a deep blue, and then went in and did what I'm going to call a reverse lead-light (I'll show you an example of this at the end) where you turn this into seaweed (green), bubbles (light blue or leave white), and sea anemones (pinks, blues, yellows, purples)? Now it's an underwater scene.
Here's another great texture. This is our lovely lady's dress, but you'd never know that looking at what you have here. How gorgeous would this be stamped in silver on an accent nail (or a whole mani!) over a royal blue? Or in gold over red? Or in white over peach? So many stunning possibilities all by itself, but how about using it as a background texture for double stamping? Say your base polish is a medium blue, you stamp this in a slightly lighter blue, then stamp dark blue flowers on top of that? Beautiful.
Here's a similar section that would work well on its own or together with another stamp. This is lovely by itself--a quick, pretty accent nail--or could be used with other images. How about a star at the very bottom? Or, on another UberChic plate there is a small image of a prince and princess embracing--how pretty to have that in the negative space under the fall of stars?
And speaking of Disney magic, this screams 'bippity-boppity-boo' to me...But you could also take this to a more mature, elegant place, with a sorceress/wizard feel to it. I will be doing that manicure, you can count on it.
Do you like the look of French manicures, but hate doing them because it's so hard to get them aligned perfectly? This plate has endless opportunities for nearly fool-proof French manicures or half-moon manicures that don't have to be placed perfectly:
And while there are areas that are super-easy just as is for these manicures, don't forget to look in other places, too. My favorite is the lilies at the bottom of the plate, which could easily be used for this if you swipe the smaller flowers off your stamper before you transfer the image (you can find my tutorial for this here):
And of course there are a ton of floral looks you can get from this plate:
Another way to think outside the box when you look at a plate like this is to look at it through the lens of different techniques. Are the portions of the plate what would be good for lead-lighting? Reversed stamping? Double-process stamping? Tone-on-tone stamping? Sometimes having a technique in mind when you look can make you see part of the image in a different way.
From the moment I saw the plate, I wanted to do something with the peonies and the ribbons of fabric at the top of the plate. So I started with a base of SinfulColors Energetic Red:
|SinfulColors Energetic Red|
Then I added a coat of InDecisive Nail Lacquer White Speckle to complement the dots in the design:
|InDecisive Nail Lacquer White Speckle over SinfulColors Energetic Red|
I stamped the image with Konad White, and then I did what I'm going to call reverse lead-lighting with Orly Mirrorball over the ribbons on the image. I'm calling it that because with lead-lighting you normally apply color over the spaces in between the stamped images, and in this case I'm applying it on part of the stamped image itself; the trick is, as with regular lead-lighting, to use a polish that isn't going to show in a big way if you go over onto the base polish:
This was one of those manicures that broke my heart to take off...The holo bling of Mirrorball dances between the flowers perfectly so that something was twinkling at me all the time (I also put some additional dots of Mirrorball lower on the manicure. This manicure is flirty and feminine, and I love it. :)
If you'd like to see another manicure from this plate that just happened to go up today, check out what Amanda did with the ribbons and the birds on her blog Polish & Plates. :)
You can find the stunning Sweet April on Uberchic Beauty's site by clicking here.
I hope I've encouraged you to open your world up to collage-style plates and given you some tools for seeing all the beauty hidden within them! I promise you that you can get just as many gorgeous manis out of this kind of plate as you can out of regular plates, in fact, I think you can get tons more. The creative possibilities are endless!