3:00 PM

Hello lovelies!

Ever wonder just how your nail art loves work their magic? While we won't pretend to be magicians, we here at The Digit-al Dozen do have a few rabbits in our proverbial hats from time to time, and thought we'd share with you some of our very favourite nail art tools!

Stamping tools fall into the category of the most important tools in Katee at A Girl and her Polish's nail art drawer. Sure she has dotting tools and brushes, and her clean-up brush and metal cuticle pusher are used every time she does her nails, but her stamping tools are special. She uses a KONAD double sided stamper and an old ID badge from work as a scraper. It took her a while to learn how to properly use these tools and now she is a stamping master! She has tried other stampers but always comes back to her KONAD. It works perfectly every time! If you are interested in this stamper, you can purchase one through Amazon, which is where Katee got hers.

So what the hell is a blobbing mat, I hear you cry? Debbie at The Crumpet says, well, if you do any sort of nail art, you will have one of these, but maybe this is the first time it's been officially named! A blobbing mat is whatever surface you use to blob blobs of nail polish onto for nail art -- either because you need to dip a brush or a dotting tool into them, or because you're about to get the sponge involved. Debbie uses the lids from Chinese takeaways (she does like her Chinese food!) as they're a perfect size. Even better, when they're full, you can flick the dried polish off -- so much fun! Apparently the other ladies don't believe a blobbing mat is a real, technical term (shame on them). Whether you use a lid, a wipe clean mat, a kids' plastic tablecloth, or even paper or card, if you're gonna art, you need a blobbing mat.

Kirsten at The Geeky Owl loves to use page protectors to create decals for her nail art. She thinks her artistic skills aren't the greatest (Ed. note: pah!) so she likes to do it this way so she has multiple versions and can pick a perfect one to use! It's really easy, just paint an area with a clear coat (let dry), do your art (draw, paint, stamp) (let dry), peel off, cut down and apply using same clear coat! Easy! The photo is an example of where she traced an image of a guinea pig for a guest post for Emma at Manicurity. She then filled them in and chose her favorite one!

Victoria at Manicurator presents her trusty tweezers and striping tape! She loves clean lines and there's nothing quite like the precision you can get with striping tape. She often uses the tweezers to help her position the tape, but more so to grab the end and lift off once she's done. She prefers Tweezerman tweezers as she finds they are filed the best and never fail to grab onto the end of the striping tape.

Jolène at follow gashin is addicted to her tiniest detail brush. This thing came as wee as it is, but you can cut down a normal detail brush to be the same size. She uses this brush for the tiniest details, especially in floral designs or intricate patterns, and usually when using acrylic paint. (Nail polish just beads at the tip and the tiny-ness is lost.) A brush of this size is not good for large lines because it doesn't hold very much paint due to its short bristles, so it isn't well suited for striping or other large patterns.

Though not technically used in nail art, Shelly at Sassy Shelly considers her clean-up brush to be her most essential manicure tool. No matter how sloppy the initial paint job, an ELF concealer brush ($0.99 at Target and most drugstores) dipped in acetone and swiped along the cuticle line can turn it to polished perfection! Shelly likes to finish her clean-up routine (after topcoat is fully dry) by using a nail scrubber brush and hand soap to remove all those pesky shimmers and glitters that can get left behind... Just look at that before and after!

Ok... so most nail peeps will tell you their favorite tool is a brush. Brushes are definitely one of Missy at Gnarly Gnails' favorites since she loves to do nail art. But there is something she got earlier this year that has made all the difference to her in every single photo she takes, not just the nail art ones. It's the Julep Mighty Nail & Cuticle Serum. It's a big hefty pen that clicks up through a brush... similar to Stila lipglazes if you're familiar. Hers last her about 6ish months, its only flaw being you can't really see when you're running on fumes. This serum produces a liquid that is just the right consistency to sink into her cuticles quickly, and it dries so fast that by the time she whips out her camera to shoot, its already invisible to the eye. The serum gives her great satiny skin around her nails that makes them look healthy and in good shape even on the worst days, without looking like an oil puddle exploded on her hands!

Heather at Peace Love and Polish doesn't go anywhere without her dotting tools! She creates lots of shapes (hearts, stars, ovals, awkward things) with her dotting tools, as well as some lines. She uses them to fill in gaps or open spaces, and pick up gems and rhinestones also. She also uses them to do some cleaning up around her cuticles when polish gets pooled in them. They're her absolute FAVORITE nail art tool!

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A lot of people don't consider bling to be an essential, but Vic at Glowstars (the unofficially crowned Queen of Bling) definitely does. A few simple rhinestones or studs can really transform a mani and it's amazing what you can do with larger pieces. As well as spending an absurd amount of time gathering supplies on eBay, Vic also keeps an eye out in craft stores and even jewellery stalls at the market.

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One of the favourite nail art tools of 
Ashley at Smashley Sparkles is acrylic paint. The reason she likes it so much is that it is much easier to make fine details and intricate designs in acrylic paint than in polish. You can also mix colors easily to make any shade you need. One trick she's learned is to thin it out a little with water to make it a bit easier to work with. If you have trouble making designs with nail polish you should definitely give acrylics a shot!

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The cosmetic sponge is one of the all time favorite tools for nail art of Sue at Creative Nail Designs by Sue. She uses it frequently to get a nice smooth transition between colors when doing a gradient. The best advice she gives people who ask how to create the perfect gradient? The more times you go over the nail with the sponge, the more seamless your transitions will appear. Sue also frequently uses cosmetic sponges when she wants a background for nail art that needs more depth. Sponging on multiple colors just adds more complexity and interest to a design.

Bee at Bee Polished loves her striper brush because it gives her endless possibilities with her nail art! It doesn't JUST make stripes, you can use it for outlining or fancy little flared lines. A lot of people want to use shorter ones for lines but this one is perfect because you can just sort of lay it down and drag it gently for a really perfect, straight line. Even a total klutz like Bee (Ed. note: pah!) can make it work! Plus it fits right down into the bottles even when she's running a little low on polish! Aside from her dotter, this is probably her most used tool! She got this particular one in a set from Born Pretty but she's used art paint brushes as well and she's also been known to clean the ones from those cheap dollar store striper polishes and just use those!

We hope this post have been useful and informative for you! As always, feel free to leave us questions or feedback in the comments, we'd love to hear from you!