Hey girls, I’m finally home. Not that I want to be, I’ve felt soo miserable and unmotivated all day! Hope you all had a good time celebrating the new year – I was pretty sick with a bad cold on New Year’s Eve but Colin and I still managed to see the new year in in the most awesome way. ;D
Anyway, here’s my long promised Konad Q&A. You kinda have Bicky to thank for this – it’s her 21st birthday tomorrow (Tuesday) and she’s ordered a Konad set; I said I’d try my hardest to write this post in time for the day! I also know of a few of you who got Konads for Christmas, so hopefully this will be useful. Soo uhm, without further ado, let’s crack on.
Where & What To Buy
I HIGHLY recommend purchasing from OCNailArt. There are plenty of places to get Konad supplies including wowsocool.com and eBay, but OCNailArt has the best prices I’ve come across, have permanent 30% discount codes (I use the code GETCHA courtesy of the lovely Brooke), and offer FREE international shipping on all orders over $20. Delivery was also relatively fast for US-UK postage – I think it took 7 business days to arrive when I ordered mine.
EDIT: Please be aware that Konad insisted that all online retailers of their products remove discount codes from their websites! So unfortunately, the discount code won’t work any more, but I still believe that OCNailArt offer the best value and service!
As for what you need.. the essential parts are Stamper, Scraper, Image Plate(s). That is IT – don’t listen to anyone who tells you that you NEED special polishes or an image plate holder – they’re talking out their arse. Although I will admit that it’s probably good to start off with one or two special polishes to get the hang of using it before you start experimenting with different polishes. Now, there’s a few different ways to get all the essentials so I’ll break it down for you using OCNailArt’s prices to help you decide which option would be best for you. When I first bought Konad, I went for the ‘ST’ kit which included two image plates, three mini special polishes, a stamper and scraper, along with two extra image plates. Even if you buy a good starter kit which includes image plates, you’ll probably want to also pick some of the ones you really want in addition.
Option 1: Konad Starter Kit – $15.99
This is the most basic kit offered, in includes stamper, scraper, white special polish* (probably the most useful) and image plate M2. It costs about £9.94.
*Please note that the special polishes included in kits are 5ml bottles, whereas special polishes that you buy seperately are 10ml.
You can see all the different kits OCNailArt has to offer here, there’s something for all budgets.
Option 2: Bits and pieces – $18.97
As you can see, piecing your own basic kit together is just a tiny bit more expensive but with the added advantage of getting to choose your own image plate and not getting lumbered with the generally crappy ones they throw in the kits.
So, that’s all you need to get started, although you may want to try out a few different image plates.
Among the Kommunity (that’s what I’m going to call the Konad community, just for ease.. haha), there’s always quite a heated debate going on about Tall vs Short stampers, and Metal vs Plastic scrapers. I use a short stamper and a metal scraper and they work fine, I see no reason to spend more on the other types but of course it’s completely up to you! The only benefit to plastic scrapers is it doesn’t scratch your image plates so easily, but the scratches don’t hinder the performance of your plates in any way so that’s just an appearance thing. It’s been said that the tall stampers are better than the short ones because the tall ones have a large stamp surface on one end and a small stamp surface on the other – but on the flipside I think you get more control and precision with a short stamper because you’re working closer to your nail. Like I said, that part’s all down to personal preference although bear in mind that all of the smaller kits come with short stampers.
There’s a huge variety of image plates to choose from, and you can see a full gallery showing you what’s on each one here. This will be an indispensable resource when choosing plates. You will see there are lots of types of designs too, which I will briefly describe here.
Small images (example M9) are suitable for anybody’s nails. If you have very long nails you may wish to stamp an image more than once up the length of the nail.
French tip images (example M56) are a total bugger to work with. At least I think so! I find them really hard to get even – if you’ve mastered it, please please please share your tips with me!
Full nail images (example M57) can also be a bit of a bitch if your nails are particularly wide, or a medium sort of length. Full nail images are my favourite but sometimes they mess right up on me – luckily my nails aren’t too wide for them, but they’re normally at a funny sort of length where they’re a little bit too long for one stamp, but far too short for a ‘double stamp’ (if you have super long nails, you’ll need to stamp full nail images twice to cover your entire nail). This is one of the reasons why I keep them at the length I do.
Bear in mind with french tip and full nail plates, you WILL get stamping polish on the side walls (and possibly cuticles) of your fingers. Don’t worry about that until you’ve completely finished and your topcoat is dry – then go ahead and clean up with a Q tip dipped in polish remover, it comes off easy as anything.
…Are a load of bollocks! :)
Seriously though – it’s probably good to have the white SP as it’s hard to find any other white that’s opaque enough for a great stamp and it’s also extremely versatile. Konad special polishes are not for painting the nails, they’re so thick that they’d never dry! Konad claim that no other polishes will work with the Konad system, but that’s obviously a total lie, it’s all about experimenting! Of course if you want to buy the Konad polishes then go right ahead, but others that have been found to work well can be found on this page.
I’ve found plenty of polishes not included on that list which work brilliantly with Konad – the rule of thumb is pretty much if it’s an opaque polish, it’ll work! Chromes work particularly well. But of course you’ll just have to try it out. Let me know when you find some good ones!
Setting Up Your Workspace/Before You Begin
Now you’ve got your kit, you need to prepare your workspace properly before you start. Here’s the things you’ll need around you:
Bottle of nail polish remover that contains acetone, a few cotton wool pads already soaked in acetone, sheets of paper/kitchen roll to avoid getting polish on your surface, Q tips, your chosen image plate, stamping polish of your choice, stamper, scraper and topcoat.
Make sure your chosen base colour is thoroughly dry before you begin stamping. I also recommend putting a topcoat on after the base colour and before the stamping, so then if you make a mistake whilst stamping you can quickly wipe the stamped image off the nail without messing up the base colour underneath.
Wipe the image plate, stamper and scraper with a remover-soaked cotton pad before you start to get rid of all the natural oils from your fingers which can prevent good stamping. Okay, now you’re ready to go!
There’s literally hundreds of videos on YouTube showing you how to do this part. I’ll refer you to the most official looking one with a badly dubbed Asian lady. :)
If you’ve been reading this properly, you’ll know you can ignore most of what they say you need to own/do – the bit you really need is 1:00-1:41.
You MUST wipe the stamper on a soaked cotton pad between every stamp. I also strongly suggest wiping the plate and scraper every few times too, you’ll notice that if you don’t, the images will stop stamping nicely after a few nails.
Also note that you should be working quicker than that demo. If you went that slow, you’d have trouble picking the image up on your stamper and transferring it to your nail.
Honestly, the whole thing is easy as pie. It might take you a few tries to get it down properly but once you’re practised, you’ll be able to do both hands within 5 minutes!
Polish Saving Tips
In almost every Konad video I’ve seen, the people have been like ‘use a good thick amount of polish over the whole image!’ – uhm, no. WHAT A WASTE! Think about it – because you scrape over the image to remove the excess, it makes so much sense to apply a smaller amount of polish on one side of the design, then as you scrape across it, the excess polish will fill the rest of the image. Tada – saved!
Also, when you wipe your image plate after a few stamps, look at the scraper – is there LOADS of polish on it? If there is, I normally just scrape that right over the plate without adding any more polish for one or two more stamps. No point in letting stuff go to waste!
Again, Konad claim that you can’t use any other topcoat apart from their own with their system. Total Bee Ess ;D You can use any damn topcoat you like, trust me. I’ve used crappy cheap runny ones, I’ve used thick ones like Seche Vite, I’ve used ChG Wireless Holo and ChG Matte Magic. Anything will work, but you’ve got to be QUICK and LIGHT with your topcoat. Those are the keywords here – if you drag the brush over the nail you are very likely to smudge the design. Work quickly and lightly and you shouldn’t have a problem with any topcoat you decide to use. You should be able to start applying topcoat immediately after you finish stamping all your nails, as the coat of polish applied with the stamp is so thin it dries pretty much instantly (yet remains smudge-able when you apply pressure, hence needing to work lightly with topcoat!).
If the image isn’t picking up properly on your stamp, try GENTLY buffing the surface of the stamp with a nail buffer to remove any shiny residue and try again. Remember to ALWAYS wipe everything you’re going to use with acetone before you begin to remove the natural oils deposited by your fingers as these oils will ruin your stamping.
If your images are sort of.. flaking, when you try and transfer them to your nail, that probably means you’re working too slowly. The whole process of putting polish on the plate, scraping, picking it up on the stamp, rolling the stamp onto the nail should take no longer than about 5-7 seconds. That sounds like an awfully short amount of time, I know, but time flies when you’re Konading!
Please, if you have any other problems with your Konad, let me know and I’ll email you any help I can give!
I hope that was helpful for some of you, please let me know if there’s anything else you think I should have included and I’ll be more than happy to add it in!
A lot of you have told me you’ve tried Konad and got frustrated and gave up. I really hope this can help you to give it another go, and soon enough you’ll be stamping like a pro! :)