Negative Space Heart Nail Art

Tuesday, February 10, 2015
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negative space (noun): empty space, space around an object or form; also called white space

In art, negative space is as important as the positive space or subject. The area between the leaves of a tree, for example, create their own shape in a 2-dimensional composition and create the balance necessary to keep your eye moving around the piece.

Nail art has adopted this idea by integrating areas absent of color. The empty space creates a void that, in contrast, make the polished areas more defined. Leaving bare nail exposed, as opposed to layering colors over each other, is a chic and understated way to incorporate a shape or design.

Let's rock the negative space nail trend Valentine's Day-style, shall we? A simple negative-space heart an easy beginner project to get you started. Get the step-by-step tutorial after the jump.

Negative Space Heart Nail Art

For this nail art technique, you will need:

Base coat (I used Essie Ridge Filling Base Coat)
Red nail polish (I used OPI Gwen Stefani Collection in Over and Over-A-Gwen)
Washi tape
Small pair of scissors (I used a pair from the Kiss Salon Secrets Nail Art Pro Tool Kit)
Optional: metallic silver nail polish (I used Essie Nail Polish is Jiggle Hi Jiggle Low)
Top coat (I used Essie No Chips Ahead Top Coat)
Nail polish remover
Flat nail brush (I used one from my Born Pretty Elegant Flower Nail Art Brush Set)
Orangewood stick and cotton balls or pads for cleanup, if necessary

1. After laying down your base coat, paint your nails with 2 coats of polish as you normally would. I painted a few nails red and a few metallic silver for fun but that's optional. Wait at least and hour for your polish to fully cure.

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2. Fold a small piece of washi tape and use a pair of tiny scissors to cut out a teeny heart.

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3. Place the tape on your nail.

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4. Wipe the exposed space with flat nail brush dipped in nail polish remover until the area is clean. This takes some patience; it's best not to rush. Just keep dipping the brush in nail polish remover and wiping the area gently. Use a paper towel to blot away excess remover and to periodically clean the brush.

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5. Wait!  The area around the heart shape will have softened a bit due to contact with the remover. Let it set back up before you remove the tape.

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6. Slowly and carefully peel away the tape to reveal your negative space heart.

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7. Feel free to add other nail art designs to other nails. I used tape to mask of a "V" shape that I painted silver and dipped another nail in red glitter. On the other hand, I added a positive space heart in red to a silver nail.

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8. Top coat your work!

For more negative nail art inspiration and techniques, check out this post featuring 3 negative nail art designs.

"negative space."'s 21st Century Lexicon., LLC. 10 Feb. 2015. < space>.


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