I’m sure you’ve realized by now that Soaper1 is a nail polish black belt. She’s not only on top of color trends, she’s also quite adept at a trend called “konading,” stamping a design on your nails using a contrasting color of polish. Konad was the name of the first (or largest) company to offer the stamping supplies, and their name has become a common noun/verb — rather like Xerox.
Generally speaking, you need three pieces of “equipment” to konad: round metal plates with engraved designs, a scraper, and a stamper (an implement with a rounded, spongy tip). Paint your nails, let the polish dry, then brush your contrasting color onto the metal plate, over the design you want. The polish will seep down into the engraved design. Use the scraper to wipe away excess polish on the plate, then press the spongy tip of your stamper firmly and cleanly over the design. It picks up the contrasting color, which you roll over your nail to apply. Voila!
Once you get started konading, the possibilities are limitless. You can do an accent design on one nail, or dress up your whole manicure. A few people have asked where to get konading supplies, and I passed the question on to Soaper1.
For people just getting started, Essence makes a stamper set that is available at Ulta. It’s $2.99 and includes a stamper, a scraper, and 1 image plate. It’s a great way to try stamping without a big investment. The drawback is that there is only one option of image plate, so if this turns out to be something you love to do, you’re probably going to find yourself wanting more plates soon.
As far as Konad brand supplies, I’ve ordered from ocnailart.com and wowsocool.com. Their prices are the same, and I’ve had great service from both. Image plates are $6.99, special polish is $6.99, princess polish is $7.99. Both offer free shipping on orders over $20.
In addition to the “supplies,” Konad makes special polish for stamping. Generally speaking, there are a lot of regular polishes that work well in a stamp — usually thicker, opaque polishes like Sally Hansen’s Insta Dri formula. But for black and white, the konad polishes seem to work better than any regular polishes I’ve tried.
The BundleMonster stamping plates are getting a lot of buzz right now. You can buy a 21-plate set from Amazon for $17.99 with free shipping, which is a pretty unbeatable price. I also appreciate that the designs are different from the Konad plates. Not to say that there’s no overlap, but Konad tends to offer a lot of flowers. BundleMonster designs seem to be a little more shallowly engraved than the Konad, and the whole-nail designs (as opposed to accents) are smaller than Konad’s. I have kind of narrow nails and as long as I did a good job of lining up the stamp, the designs fit pretty well. I did have to do some double stamping on my thumbs. The design was fairly easy to line up and the double stamp didn’t look bad.
Another slightly different option is the KISS Nail Art kit. These are available at Walgreens for $7.29. The set includes three bottles of polish with striping brushes and two sets of stencils (30 images). They don’t have full nail designs.