Just Tutu much!

S&M 31 December 2017

For this design I used Gelish colors from the holiday and winter 2017 collections:

  • Plum-Thing Magical
  • Just Tutu Much
  • Ice Cold Gold

On the purple nails I stamped a scroll design using Clear Jelly Stamper plate CJS-13, then topped with the Ice Cold Gold glitter.

I’m loving my new Clear Jelly Stamper! I have tried many stampers over the years, and this one is by far the most comfortable and easiest to stamp with.  If you haven’t already heard about this stamper, check out my Clear Jelly Stamper unboxing video on the Smoke & Mirrors YouTube channel to see some of the items you can purchase.

Unboxing: XL Clear Jelly Stamper, plates, and stamping polish

A couple weeks ago I ordered the Big Bling XL stamper and some stamping plates and polishes from ClearJellyStamper.com. I had heard about the original clear jelly stamper before, but finally decided to give it a try after I saw Suzie from Nail Career Education interview the inventor of the clear jelly stamper, Debbie, and try the products in this video. I had never seen layered stamping for nails before, and really wanted to try it out!

S&M clear jelly stamper kitClear Jelly Stamper (CJS) offers an array of products for stampers of all levels. I already knew what stamped looks I wanted to create, and so I ordered:

For a peek at what I got, please watch my CJS unboxing video at the Smoke & Mirrors YouTube channel. Then, stay tuned for my demo video coming soon!

Have you tried CJS products yet? If so, please leave me a comment and let me know how they worked for you!

Review: Morgan Taylor Designer Plates

plate 3720201-1

These lovely stamping plates are Morgan Taylor Designer Plates. Morgan Taylor Lacquer products are a part of the Hand & Nail Harmony family, along with Gelish soak-off gel polish, Prohesion acrylic, and now the Polygel nail enhancement system.

plate 3720201-2

I purchased the Morgan Taylor Designer Plates Flirty Florals Collection 1 kit from Cosmoprof for approximately $20.  I’ve been looking for them for a couple months, but had been unable to find them for sale until recently. It seems that they’ve just been released, and are now in stock at some retail locations!

You can see my unboxing video for this kit on the NEW Smoke & Mirrors YouTube channel at: https://youtu.be/G3_EYStSfFo

The images on this plate are cute and versatile. I did a quick test of a few designs and found that the images stamp crisply and clearly:

The images and stamper are large enough to provide full coverage on long nails, which makes them great for salon use. So far, I really like these plates!  I plan to do more nail art soon with them.

I’ve found that the stamper works really well, right out of the box. It’s a nice, soft silicone for a comfortable stamping feel, and the pad picks up the image cleanly with no prep needed. The stamper also magnifies whatever you are viewing through it, which makes it easier to find your desired stamp placement .

Be sure to watch my demo video on the Smoke & Mirrors YouTube channel to see these plates in action.

If you’re not familiar with nail art stamping, check out the step-by-step provided by Morgan Taylor on their YouTube page. You can also find more information in my previous in-depth post on nail art stamping here.

Nail art stamping has actually been around for years, and it appears that the professional brands are finally getting into the action. A couple other pro kits have also launched recently. I applaud manufacturers of professional products for creating these kits and making them available to pros, who might not have otherwise tried this seemingly-simple but effective nail art technique.  However, the fact remains that this trend was born from the passion of the DIYers that have been practicing it for a long time already.  Kudos, then, to the professional brands, such as Morgan Taylor, that embrace DIYers as part of the nail community and use their brand to bring these products and techniques to those who might not have otherwise used them!

I’ll be posting nail art featuring the designs on these plates in the near future, so be sure to come back in few days!

Have you tried these plates yet? What did you think?

Perfect Landing!


This design was done with the color Perfect Landing by Gelish, from the Fall 2016 Sweetheart Squadron collection.  I stamped the nail art using Fingerpaints Still Life – Is Good! and Born Pretty stamping plate BP-L 003 for the background, then Fingerpaints Calligraphic Calico and stamping plate BP-L 008 for the leaves on top.

Note that this design is over a week old: a testament to how well Gelish stands up to everyday life. Over the week plus that I had this manicure, I did all my normal daily housework as well as some painting on the outside of my house. In the end, the only reason I wanted to take it off was the growth at the cuticle, which is visible in this photo.

So far I’ve used three of the six colors from this collection and they’re all beautiful. What do you think? Have you used any of the colors from this collection?

Some more information on nail art stamping

Lately I’ve been doing quite a bit of research on nail art stamping plate brands that are available for purchase in the U.S., and I wanted to share some of the information I have gathered with you, as well as some of my own tips for successful stamping. I am going to share links to a lot of other blogs’ posts because it would be unnecessary to duplicate the work that these lovely bloggers have already done.

If you are brand new to stamping, start with this informational video from The Nail Junkkie or this in-depth video from Chickettes before diving into the information below.

Stamping Plate brands and reviews:

  • Konad – This is the brand that started it all but, unfortunately, the plates are somewhat hard to find, and knock-offs abound.  Here’s a review of a single plate from Samarium’s Swatches and a review of a Konad kit from Swatch & Learn. You can buy authentic Konad plates and accessories at wowsocool.com.
  • Bundle Monster – This company has a few sets of plates, all priced very nicely.  I own all the sets and can highly recommend them myself, as they have high quality images that stamp crisply.  Here’s a review from ChitChatNails.
  • Pueen – These stamping plates generally get good reviews. Check out this one Colores De Carol or this one from ChitChatNails.  Ready to buy? You can find these on the Pueen website or on Amazon.com
  • MoYou London – This company is serious about their branding! Their stamping plates come in themed collections, which I thought was a great idea, even though most of the collections didn’t appeal to me.   Their newest plate collections take the themes a step further in that they have a lady’s name and her persona that dictates the theme of the collection, such as Amy the Rebel or Olive the Sailor.  I haven’t tried any of these plates yet myself but based on the good reviews, like this one from Lucy’s Stash, I plan to in the future. In the U.S. you can buy them on Amazon.com (search for the name of the collection plus the plate number).
  • Cheeky – This company offers jumbo plates (meaning the designs are bigger, for full nail coverage) which are great for people with wide or long nails, so that they don’t have to double stamp. No Nude Nails has a review of these plates for you here. The plates are available for purchase on Cheeky-Beauty.com or on Amazon.com.
  • Winstonia – I haven’t tried these yet, but they got great reviews from nail art bloggers. Here’s a review from Nailed It, and you can buy these plates from Amazon.com or the Winstonia Store.
  • SHANY Cosmetics – over the past couple years I’ve seen reviews from quite a few bloggers on these, though I’ve never tried them myself. Here’s a review from Nail Crazy.  The SHANY Cosmetics website has these for you to buy, or you can get them from Amazon.com.

Here are reviews for some lesser-known brands:

Note that there are other brands available from other countries.  If the brand isn’t readily available for purchase in the U.S., I haven’t included them in this list.

Stampers and Scrapers:

  • Konad – You can find a variety of scrapers plus stampers in multiple sizes at WowSoCool.com.  This should be your go-to stamper if you are a beginner.
  • Salon Express – I haven’t used this “As Seen On TV” brand, but I’ve heard that you can buy at Sally Beauty, Rite Aid, and CVS.  Here’s a review from Vampy Varnish.
  • Winstonia – Lots of nail stamping enthusiasts prefer this stamper, which you can buy at the Winstonia Store.
  • Pueen – This company offers a super squishy stamper in addition to the regular stamper.  You can buy these sets on Amazon.com or from the Pueen website.
  • XL Stamper – made from soft silicon, this stamper allows for a more comfortable stamping experience especially if you’re stamping nails with a deep C-curve.  Here’s a review from The Nail Polish Project, and you can buy it at Ninja Polish.
  • Messy Mansion – This company has rectangular stampers in a couple different colors (so that you can see a contrasting color of polish on the stamp in order to line it up on your nail), in addition to the traditional round stampers.

Stamping polish:

You can use regular polish for stamping, with varying degrees of success based on the brand and viscosity of the polish.  If you want to buy special stamping polish to ensure success, here are some brands and reviews:

  • Konad Special Stamping Polish – these are worth it, especially for beginners. I own black and white, but there are many different colors available and in a couple different sizes, as well. I bought mine on Amazon.com, but you can also get them from Konad or WowSoCool.com.
  • Born Pretty Nail Art Stamping Polish – I haven’t tried this brand myself.  It is available for purchase at the Born Pretty Store, of course.

Note that I’ve only listed two brands here because that’s all I know of, as I typically use regular nail polish (RNP).    Just remember that you’ll have to work faster when stamping with RNP, as these are less viscous polishes than the special stamping polishes and therefore dry faster.  Here are the kinds of RNP that work the best:

  • metallics
  • Old, thick RNP
  • chromes
  • special nail art polishes (the kind that come with the skinny brush in the bottle)


If you have wide and long nails it will often be necessary to “double stamp”.  See an example of how that’s done at My Simple Little Pleasures.

Use a credit card instead of a scraper. Many people prefer this over the scrapers with the metal edge, as using the plastic avoids metal-on-metal violence against your stamping plates.

Pinch a cotton ball with a clothespin and dip it in the acetone. Use that to clean the plate between stamps, instead of your fingers.  If you use your fingers, you may end up ruining some of the stamps you’ve already done on your nails.

Most seasoned stampers use and recommend Seche Vite regular top coat nail polish. You can apply stamps over gel polish. You just use the gel top coat rather than regular polish top coat.

Make sure your base polish is completely dry before beginning to stamp on it.  Also, allow the stamp plenty of time to dry before applying top coat.

Work as quickly as possible so that the polish isn’t drying on the stamper.

For healthy nails and skin, get plenty of vitamins A, B3, C, E, and K. I take this  Hair Skin and Nails multivitamin from Vitacost.com and moisturize with Palmer’s lotion with vitamin E multiple times daily.  Also, drink plenty of filtered water!

Advanced stamping techniques:

  • Stamp with multiple colors – Simply apply multiple colors of polish to the stamp, then scrape.  Check out these examples from The Polished Mommy and Nail Polish Wars.
  • Reverse the image by picking up the stamp on a stamper, as usual, then immediately transferring it on to another stamper by pressing the two stampers together.  Then, quickly push the image onto your nail. Here’s a pictorial from Wacky Laki.
  • Make your own nail strips or decals using a plastic bag or parchment paper – simply apply one layer of top coat (in roughly a nail shape and size for decals, or a spot slightly larger than your stamp if you’re stamping a small graphic) then stamp on top of that, and color in the stamp using a small brush and RNP.  Allow it to dry for at least a couple hours before carefully removing it with tweezers from the bag and laying it into a freshly top-coated nail. This is a very versatile method for creating nail art easily.  Check out this tutorial from The Daily Varnish.
  • Create a decal directly on the stamper – simply pick up the image on the stamper, then paint it with other colors of RNP, as desired. After that dries, top coat and allow the decal to dry for at least a couple hours before peeling it off with tweezers and applying to a freshly top-coated nail.  Find more information on this and other techniques from Lucy’s Stash.