Wednesday 23 July 2014

Leadlighting with neon holo jellies

Last week I reviewed six awesome new neon holo jelly polishes by Beyond the Nail. Today I've got some nail art using a technique that is completely new to me, but I got to use all six polishes from the BTN collection - score! 'Leadlighting' is a relatively new nail art technique first popularized by Messy Mansion where you dab sheer jelly polishes over a white space with a stamped black pattern to fill in the pattern. Karen of @sharingvu on Instagram began using jelly polishes to fill in spaces she freehanded with Chinese calligraphy brushes (also known as 'sumi' brushes) and white/black acrylic paint over a black/white base. I was directly inspired by Karen's take on the leadlighting technique but put my own spin on it by painting a swirly and dotted pattern I have done elsewhere, and evidently, I'm not using just any sheer jelly polishes, I'm using NEON HOLO JELLIES!

As this was my first time experimenting with this technique, looking at the pics I probably could have done a better job at blending the colours. I used the actual polish brush to apply the jellies rather than a dotting tool or a paintbrush as others have done.

Woops, I missed a spot, heeheeeee

If I could fit all six of the BTN summer galaxy collection polishes in my hand, I would be holding them here. Trust me, I tried, and failed.

Pretty sure the blue is still my fav in the collection, but I'm very much a blue polish lover so, yeah. They all look so pretty together it's hard to separate them. That's like separating a litter of cute kittens. NOOO, DO NOT DO THAT.

Here's one of the four Chinese sumi brushes I got from Karen (@sharingvu on Instagram). They are pretty soft and pliable, and I think once I get the hang of using them they can yield some pretty sweet nail art with beautiful lines. Check out Karen's Instagram for some amazing applications of these brushes. If you would like to get your hands on these, Karen now ships internationally on a by-order basis - email her at to get yours! I bought a pack of four brushes (two sizes), and it came to $25USD including shipping.

Check out this tutorial for my tips on how to get the smoothest, fluid lines with every brush stroke!

Here's a cell phone shot of my mani when it was in progress, before I'd done the jelly dabbing.


Oh, and yes, I fully realize I switch nails half way through. Truth is I got so carried away painting the pretty holos that I completely forgot to film my middle nail during that step. FAIL!

  1. Paint black base coat
  2. Prep your brush - see tutorial here!
  3. Paint on white acrylic paint with nail art/paint brush in desired pattern
  4. Dab on neon holo jelly polishes covering both the white and the black parts of the nail - this part can be completely random in colour application like I have done above, or you can choose to apply the colours with a colours pattern/design in mind
  5. Top coat and you're done - super easy! 
There's no substantial drying time required between any of the steps, maybe just wait a couple mins after your black base to paint on your white acrylic paint to ensure the brush doesn't drag the black base coat. After that acrylic paint dries pretty quick so you're safe to apply the jellies pretty much right away. You could probably use white nail polish instead of acrylic paint, but it's likely it won't be as opaque in one swift coat as acrylic paint. The acrylic paint I use is all available at your local craft store, for less than $2 a bottle, sometimes even 99 cents a bottle. Nothing fancy there! 

Polishes used:
Beyond the Nail 'Shooting star' (neon yellow holo jelly)
- Beyond the Nail 'Solar Flare' (neon orange holo jelly)
- Beyond the Nail 'Supernova' (neon pink holo jelly)
- Beyond the Nail 'Nebula' (neon purple holo jelly)
- Beyond the Nail 'Asteroid' (neon blue holo jelly)
- Beyond the Nail 'Comet' (neon green holo jelly)
- Cult Nails 'Nevermore' (black creme - my fav one-coater black creme to use for nail art! I've nominated it to be included in Nail Polish Canada's massive giveaway! I'll have the details about that in an upcoming post, but in the meantime make sure you enter to win 135 nail polishes [and counting!!] here)
- Craft store brand white acrylic paint


  1. I didn't know this technique, it looks easy but I am sure it is not :) The final effect is a stunner!

    1. Thanks Andrea! It's actually way easier than it looks, you can freehand (or even stamp) on any design you like and then randomly dab on jellies, no drying time required either. Way less time consuming than some of my other mani's, haha!

  2. I love this!! Quick question, do you take your photos of the polishes ontop of a mirror? lol! I think it looks so awesome

    1. Thanks Maddy! The surface I take the bottle shots on it actually a black glass topper that came on my desk. I think a mirror might be too reflective, but if you have anything that's a dark glass table or desk covering you'd get the same effect!!

  3. Wow what an amazing mani! Thanks for sharing, I didn't know such a way of using jellies! Awesome :)

    1. I've seen lots of "lead lighting" mani's on Instagram lately in the past couple months but they always use OPI Sheer tints. Boring!! Haha! Thanks doll :)

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