Category Archives: tutorial

Guide to Ordering from Yumetenbo and Other Rakuten Shops



The Long-Awaited & Much-Asked-After Guide:
Ordering from Yumetenbo and Other Rakuten shops

My go-to place for cute fashion for spring is definitely Rakuten! Rakuten is an online shopping ‘mall’ that puts all of your favorite Japanese stores in one place, often providing international shipping where otherwise there would be none. Using their umbrella account, you can shop at many cute boutiques and fashion companies. My current favorite is Yumetenbo, which sells a collection of gyaru styles includes hime-kei (princess style), glamour (more mainstream), kirei or elegant style (good for girls who need to look professional), and girly style (for typical femininity), as well as a kids’ section. Most lolitas are fond of princess style, but look through the other categories – you may find just the thing to complete your outfit. This shop has everything you need from bags and accessories to coats and full dresses, even some wigs and false nails. Other shops can also have many cute items such as accessories, or items for casual wear.

You can use these tips to any online foreign shopping, but I recommend you have them before getting started with Rakuten – it will make your shopping experience much easier.

Google Chrome Auto-Translate: If you have Google Chrome for a browser, there is an extension that will translate your webpages automatically. When you visit a Japanese page for the first time, click the option to always translate. The whenever you load any Japanese page, it will translate into your chosen language. Click here to get it. However some of these pages do not auto-translate, and they will not translate emails, so have your Google Translate open in a tab as well.

Google Chrome Currency Coverter Add-On: Great for shopping online with Japanese stores, taobao, places in Europe, etc. This download will give you a live, in-window converter that remembers your last currency option. I use this all the time since I got it; much better than making a guesstimate about how much yen you’re really dropping. Click here to get it.

Also, please note that you must have a credit card to order from Yumetenbo. They do not take Paypal.

Part I: Registering a Rakuten Account



Go to the Yumetenbo site and start from nearly any page. I chose this one right here. Click on the key icon in the upper right corner that says ‘myRakuten’. (Highlighted here in pink, with the big arrow.)

Click the ‘register’ button.
Fill out the required information (marked in red). This is in English; if not click the tab up top and it will switch to English. (I didn’t take a cap of the rest of it for this reason; if you really need a cap, let me know & I will make it.)
If you are not in Japan, choose your prefecture as Other and set your postal code to 000-0000. For ‘ward’ I put in my USA state as well as town. Here’s a sample of your ‘finalize this information’ showing what I mean by location. Then click the ‘agree to terms and conditions’ button, which will take you to finalize your info.
On the second page, click the large white button at the bottom to finalize all of your information. (Make sure to uncheck the ‘receive email updates’ – they will send you a HOARD of emails, most of which are not informative to you.) It will take you to the third page, which means you did it! You will then receive a confirmation email. 
Part I Accomplished!

Part II: How to Shop

Start by logging into myRakuten. If you have your auto-translator on, these next steps are fairly easy. 
Here is a typical item page, this one is for the adorable BAMBI COAT! 
Mine is pre-translated into English; if yours isn’t, this what it’s saying: color, quantity, add to cart. Click the appropriate color bubble and quantity, and add to cart. If you are buying multiple items in different colors, you will need to add multiple times. If you see an x where you would normally click a bubble, the item is sold out in that colorway. 
Here’s the screen you’ll see after you add your item to the cart. They have a very handing ‘image cart’ which lets you see what you put in it. To remove an item, click the link in blue text on the same row. From here on out auto-translate fails us and there is no more English; bear with me…
Either keep shopping or click the big red button and go to checkout. This next part is where I originally had trouble; make sure to choose an option for every section, or else they will send you an email later saying ERROR with no explanation of where the error is, and then they will cancel your order. (That’s what happened to me on my first try.)
In this part you need to agree to their terms and conditions again. I actually found out today in business law that this stops you being able to sue them for a Japanese product in the courts of your own country/state… basically waives your right to sue if you’re injured by a hairbow or something. Anyway, agree and move on to step 2. 
Here’s your cart (above) and below, this box is for points club. Every time you shop with them you rack up points that can later be used for savings on your purchase. As a new account, you won’t have any points. I’ve highlighted the 0 points section above.
Choose the bubble for ‘credit card’ and then fill out your info. This does not auto-translate so I’ve translated it for you above. If you know basic katakana you can get through a lot of this easier. 
Scroll down to Part 2 and choose your shipping method – for international/overseas, you must choose EMS. It then explains shipping costs based on how much your total purchase is. 

The next section is when you want your package delivered. Choose ‘anytime’. You most likely don’t have coupons; leave this area blank. Click the button on the bottom to continue.

The next page shows all of your information and total to finalize your payment. Click the large red button at the bottom to finalize. That’s it!

Other Rakuten Shops For Cute Fashion 

Here are some other Rakuten shops that sell cute style things or items that might go well with lolita fashion. I will update this list as needed.

Edit to add: Not all stores ship internationally despite using Rakuten. I can’t verify which as I haven’t shopped at all of them, so please be aware of this. Those marked with an asterisk (*) do not ship internationally.

Curvys – cute accessories shop
Candlly – cute casual style
Coquettish Tiara – cute purses for lolita & hime-kei
Wigland – sells Prisila wigs for hime-kei, pop-kei, mori
Zephyr Wigs – cosplay and lolita wigs
Roliane -pink made- – cute accessories, pouches, jewelry & deco’d items
Bijouxj – pre-deco’d items, some jewelry
SBY Happy Store* – popkei accessories
Presea – cute accessories & charms
Bodyline Rakuten – often has items sold out on English site!
Liz Lisa* – hime-kei and country cute
Cawaii – mori girl style
Chocomint – accessories for lolita, pop-kei, mori, and hime-kei
Armoire – mori girl style
Listen Flavor – pop-kei and punk style – great leggings & tights, often in Kera magazine
With Heart – princess homegoods
Lumiembre – parasols
Lady’s Off – designer (Coach, Louis Vitton) and Jesus Diamante (hime-kei)
Maxicimam – sweet & punk lolita, with plus-sized line ‘Lovely Size’
Juliette et Justine – classic/opulent lolita brand
Organ Fan – classic and mori style jewelry and accessories
Pastel Sweets – sweets deco supplies, books, and pre-deco’d items
Phew! Long article! Okay! I hope you all have a very happy shopping experience, please let me know if you have any questions/need anything clarified and I will do my best to help.

happy shopping,

Three Easy Ways to Style A Lolita Wig + My Melody Deco Watch!

Lolita wigs are becoming more and more available, spotted on nearly everyone these days. The typical lolita wig consists of a curly base and is usually supplied with two clip-on falls, like curly ponytails. Mostly you just pop on the wig, clip on the falls, and go! It’s instantly cute and a great way to change up the color and tones of your coordinates. But that’s not the only way to go! They’re so much more versatile than that. The one I’m using here is from Cosplay Wigs USA, in their wavy light brown model. I love mine, it’s such a pretty warm cinnamon with beautifully full curls!  You can see me wearing it here.

So here are three really easy ways you can style your lolita wig that will stand out from the crowd!

This one I’ve dubbed the ‘Sailor Moon’ because it reminds me of her signature ‘odango’ style. It looks best if you add on brooches, clips or matching hairbows on elastics. I’ve decided to use a Chocomint star clip, because it reminds me of the fantasy space theme and continues the Sailor Moon look, but anything you think is cute would be a great accent! [As always, click for larger~]

The Braided Crown is perfect for more classic, toned-down sweet, or even mori girl styles. The braids are a pretty accent of texture, and this look beautifully sets off faux roses or an elegant bow. Make sure you braid to the very ends, and use clear elastics – I used regular fabric ones so that you can see how the braids are wrapped.

The Hime (for those not in the know, hime is the Japanese word for princess ) Fountain gives the appearance of very full, cascading curls, and looks best accented with a large head-eating bow or tiara comb. This is probably the easiest style here – it’s still clip-and-go, you just move the extensions up a little! ;) I saw Maki wearing this look at the San Francisco Angelic Pretty opening and thought it looked so adorable! I’m wearing this look with my pink and blonde wig at the Tangled meetup!

And just a little extra – did you know it’s Sanrio’s 50th birthday this year?! As a final bang, McDonald’s is giving out digital Sanrio watches. I swung by (mm, caramel mocha!) and got one… but was a little let down by how plain it looked! Even though I got My Melody  … she looked a little sad, not good for a Sanrio character!

The six watches you could get with Happy Meal… I’m dying for the white Sugarbunny! I’m not sure why this picture doesn’t show brown Sugarbunny, I think in some places they have Badtz-Maru instead.
So I sat down with an extra packet of Swarvoski rhinestones and a leftover glitter bow cabochon! I’m so pleased with result:
I think it’s kind of kitschy cute! I can’t wait to wear a My Melody coordinate now! She’s never been my absolute favorite character (a spot reserved for Sugar Minuet & Little Twin Stars) but I can’t say no to anything that comes in pure pink with a tiny little smile!  Just goes to show that you can find cuteness anywhere 


How to Take The Perfect Mirror Shot

hint: not like this! ;)

The ‘mirror shot’ is a much-debated but evident part of participating in fashion communities and blogs online. For those not in the know, it involves taking a self-portrait with just a camera, a mirror, and your little ol’ self.  While some say they’re silly, sometimes they’re the best way to get your shot on the way out the door or with little help. Here’s the perfect recipe to get a great mirror shot (that you don’t mind posting online!)

First, know your camera. Take some time and sit down with the manual to your camera, or just find a few tutorials for your camera model. If you don’t already know what the basic terms and functions are for your camera, familiarize yourself – like how to turn off your flash, handle your ISO, and white balance.

Using your mirror. Before you take your picture, see what the mirror will reflect without you in it! If you’re in your bedroom or house, make sure you’re not reflecting piles of dirty clothes or junk mail. If you have to, nudge it out of the reflection or feel free to move your mirror if it’s a stand-alone. Feel free to seek out or use decorative mirrors, especially when you’re out, like I did recently by using a Disney store princess mirror! Usually a full-length is best if you want your entire outfit, but fitting into a smaller mirror is ok too. If you really want to show off some details that don’t fit into the mirror, like shoes, you can still take a shot of them from your angle – looking down on your shoes or skirt.

Angles and details. Decide if you want your face in the photo or not. Some girls don’t want to reveal their identity on the Internet, or want to hide a bad facial expression, so they’ll take their photos with the camera covering the face. It’s also the easiest way to line up your mirror shot! But if you want your face in the picture, you’ll have to hold your camera elsewhere and take the picture from a different angle, such as pointing up – this mostly takes practice. Try to place it somewhere it won’t cover any important details, like your necklace or beautiful brooch. Try different distances from the mirror – if you want the full figure, stand farther away. For details, stand closer. Or you can always take some shots for figure and some for details – don’t feel limited to taking only one photo to represent your outfit. And if you have a big black camera lens cover or strap – try to get it out of the way!

Last check! Use the mirror to choose your favorite pose – experiment with several! Make sure your flash is OFF, or else you’re only get a big flare and all the smudge prints on your mirror. Light that doesn’t face directly onto your mirror will also do to hide smudges (mine is always covered in shimmery lip prints – I think they’re cute!) And to really get the perfect photo – take a ton! A friend of mine was worried lately about ‘being photogenic’ – don’t worry if you are or not. Hardly anyone has the instant skill to turn their 3D self into a good 2D form right away – practice and a thousand pictures makes one perfect shot!

Good luck with your new mirror shots! Now go get dolled up, grab the nearest mirror, and snap away!

Blooming Bloomers!

I’m an all-thumbs lolita – while I can make a few simple accessories or deco items, I’m terrible with a sewing machine. I’m really hoping to learn this winter, and if I can get better, maybe even get a new sewing machine! (Psst… I love the Hello Kitty  sewing machine! It looks like something from a little dollhouse!)

This weekend I decided to use one of my own November style tips and whip up a pair of flannel bloomers! Supposedly they’re a very easy project for an afternoon, so I felt emboldened. I used this very easy tutorial from ABC Lolita, one of my reader’s blogs :) It was pretty easy to follow – here’s my pair of very simple white bloomers! (She’s also got another tutorial where the bloomers have an added ruffled hem!)

I wanted them to have a very winter feel, so I chose heavier, textured materials. I hand-stitched on some white cluny lace I had in my sewing box and made some pink velvet bows out of ribbons I found at a church sale. I probably could have done this on the machine, but I actually find it fun to do the work by hand – it’s very peaceful and relaxing for me. I’m really happy with them, I never thought I could make anything cute like that!

Since they’re so plain I thought it’d be fun to do embroidery on them. I’ve decided to make a heart-shaped pocket and applique it on with a blanket stitch. I’m not sure what would be best for a center design – roses (my favorite flower!  ) are my first thought, but maybe some whitework (white stitches on white fabric) would be more suitable for wintertime? Snowflakes are a favorite motif for this time of year, and since I’ll only be wearing them in winter snowflakes are perfect :) If you’re looking to learn embroidery or expand your knowledge of stitches, I recommend the Embroider’s Handbook. The pictures are easy to follow and the book covers ribbon embroidery, cross-stitch or counted embroidery, cutwork and eyelet work, and even beading embroidery. I’m really interested in practicing my cast-on or Brazilian rose, which is a 3D rose made from ‘casting on’ stitches to the needle just like you would on a knitting needle. Here it is combined with a bullion knot or Porto Rico rose stitch. For those who want to try more ribbon embroidery, the hardest part can be finding the necessary silk ribbon. This website has an absolutely gorgeous range of ribbons, from the purely beautiful spectrum of solids to even variegated and hand-dyed lengths of silk.The easiest ribbon rose is the ‘spiderweb rose‘, so named because the petals are fastened with a spiderweb of regular thread. 

I also found this pattern from an online magazine scan (I’m not sure if this is Kera or GLB – by the way, click for larger) for a cutesy, double-ruffled bloomer pattern. I love the pink plaid and the candy applique reminds me very much of the Nutcracker, so I think this idea would also be cute for winter or Christmastime. Even better, if you get good at them they’d make very cute presents for your lolita friends this holiday season! Candy canes or present boxes would also be very easy and cute. I’ve seen cute popkei appliques on Nile Perch where the present-box square is covered with a thin tulle, and star-shaped sequins and rhinestones stitched and scattered inside.

Bloomers look super cute for hanging out around the house and keep your little rufflebutt warm in winter! They’re really easy to make and you can do some very creative things with just a little trimming and appliques!

The Fake Sweets Bible and Cookie Locket!

While at my perennial favorite Japanese bookstore, Kinokuniya, I stumbled across this unusual mook called FAKE SWEETS BIBLE. Mostly I was drawn by the image on the cover – a decadently Rococo-esque classic Lolita with a corsage of lilac macarons on her lapel. I was so used to seeing sweets jewelry dripping with whipped cream and fluffy cupcakes that seeing a more Victorian take on sweets jewelry intrigued me. When I got the mook home I was delighted to discover that inside the pages were a couple great extras – ‘fake sweets’ tags, an icing guide, and even a plastic set of sweets molds for chocolate bars, buttery printed cookies, and chocolate hearts.

Here’s a few scans from the book to give you an idea of their style:



What the Fake Sweets Bible has done with the notion of faux sweets and pastries is purely amazing and decadent – crispy crowns glittering with coarse sugar, military-style badges of deep bitter chocolate cookies, and everlasting macaron trees iced with silicone and beautiful foam white roses. For easier projects there are simple rings and necklace ideas sprinkled across the pages. The look is very Q-pot without the hefty price tag.


(above: some of the sweets I made – two cookies and a chocolate nub :)

My small attempt so far at fake sweets is a simple but sentimental project: a chocolate cookie locket, with the cream center being a portrait of my prince. The necklace is a triple-strand of creamy glass pearls, and makes a classy choker along the decolletage. Since I couldn’t find any of the necessary findings to make the pearl strands ‘stack’ correctly, the look of the necklace is a little more modern. However, the effect is still delicate. I’d wanted a pearl choker for a while from the usual brands like Baby the Stars Shine Bright or Angelic Pretty, but this has more meaning for me – the quiet evenings stringing pearls from tiny espresso dishes alongside my boy, who is helpfully prepping the openings of the pearls with a pin.

The cookie is made out of Sculpey clay, and it’s hiding a small round metal locket I picked up at the craft store. Then I painted with super-base clear nail polish to have the glossy effect of a piece of chocolate. I glossed my Bitter chocolate square the same way, and a tiny rhinestone for a little twinkle; I’m hoping to make this into a simple ring when I find the right base. However, the details come out a little faint with the Sculpey – I’m going to try paper clay to see if it picks up the subtleties in the mold better. I know paperclay is just the thing for macarons at the very least, but I still need some decent silicone cream before I can move on to those!

I never felt the deep pull to make sweets jewelry, but with this more maiden-like and elegant style, I’m much more inspired! :) If you’d like to see more of the Fake Sweets Bible, you can buy it on Amazon Japan!

Rose Lamp Tutorial

As part of the It’s Your Castle series (yes, still ongoing!) I’m slowly beautifying every little corner of my room. On my nightstand is a Rococo frame with photos of my lovely girls, Miss Lumpy and Miss Julia, with purikura from San Francisco tucked in; a Hello Kitty alarm clock; and two of my journals, one for personal things and another for my blogging. But my lamp struck me as a little plain. So I set out to do something about it!

Roses are some of my favorite flowers and because of Valentine’s Day coming up, the craft stores are having sales on faux roses. It was just the thing I needed for my project.

Here’s what you’ll need:
  • scissors
  • hot glue gun
  • smooth lampshade, preferably with a lip on the bottom
  • two bunches of roses, mine where $1 a bunch from Michael’s
  • ribbon of your choice

First, use some masking tape and take all of the lint and dust off of your lampshade. Then take your bunch of roses and your scissors and start beheading them, with as little stem as possible. Next, use your hot glue gun to glue down roses along the rim of the shade. It’s best if you lay them down on an angle instead of sticking straight up. It’s a sturdier model and you see more of the elegance of the shape. Here’s the first section of my lampshade finished.

Note: in this photo, the roses are not slanted to an angle. I found out the hard way and had to reposition them, softening the glue with a heat gun. Trust me, it wasn’t easy! So angle them to begin with. But if you do mess up, use a hair dryer or heat gun to make the hot glue more malleable.

Go entirely around the lamp shade. Be careful not to burn your fingers on the hot glue.

Next, get out your ribbon. If your ribbon was crinkled like mine, here’s a quick tip: don’t bust out the cumbersome iron. Instead, use a hair straightener to easily smooth out ribbons. Tie the ribbon into a few small bows and hot glue them evenly around the lampshade. I used mine to hilight the spokes of the lampshade.

And that’s all! This project took me about twenty minutes to do and cost me about $2 in supplies, as I already had the ribbon, glue gun, and lamp.

For my next project, I’ll be making a bow-shaped pillow to decorate your bed, sofa, or loveseat.

Pink Please! The Pink Hair Guide

I always get lots of questions about pink hair in my inbox, but checking out this article (written in 2009!) I’ve realized it was woefully overdue for an overhaul! It’s funny to see how much my blogging style has changed since then… just the formatting of the old article made me itch! After recently girl-crushing on Katy Perry’s new InStyle pink-haired cover girl shot, I just had to give it new life (by which I mean, totally rewrite it…)

Fair warning: Going pink is not something to be taken lightly. The reason why is in the nature of the dye. Pink hair dye does not contain a chemical developer – it’s actually a stain. It doesn’t change the hair’s actual color like other dyes do, but rather sits on top of the hair. This is why it washes out much more easily than other dyes.  Because it’s a stain, your hair needs to be white first. This means bleach. Pink hair dye, like other dyes in the unnatural spectrum, are like colored cellophane – they show up best and most vibrantly on white, and not at all or very little on darker colors. Natural blondes have the easiest time getting white, and the darker your hair, the harder it is. Naturally black hair may need to be bleached several times to get as white as possible. (Keep in mind that it’s not just the initial bleaching either – you’ll also have root upkeep).

“But doesn’t bleach kill your hair?!” We’ve all seen or heard horror stories of deep-fried, beyond-bleached blondes. I was pretty terrified to bleach mine, too, and my first attempts at pink hair came out raspberry over my own dark blonde color. Eventually though, I swallowed my fear and took the jump! Bleached hair can be done, if you take care of it correctly. (See below for aftercare.) But besides the bleach, you should also know…

Pink hair is a commitment (yes, maybe even longer than your boyfriend). I personally have been pink for so long that I can’t go any other color, short of growing out my hair from the roots. For a few months, I took a pink-hair break and tried to be brunette. It took two dye jobs to cover the pink, for starters. My hair, being previously translucent, couldn’t hold the brown color. Within a few weeks, the brown had slid right off, leaving me pinkish blondish brown, with strands of pink coming through in unusual places. You can’t hide from the pink!  I’ve heard stories of other girls who say they probably couldn’t go natural even if they wanted to, either.

It’s expensive. If you’re good with hair, the expense isn’t so bad. The most you’ll be out is your time and money for supplies (I use several bottles of pink dye for the initial dye and upkeep, at roughly $10 – $14 a pop.) But if you’re not, or are worried about bleach, or if you react to bleach (your scalp burns a little – if it burns a lot, do not try to dye your hair) then I really recommend you go to a salon and ask them to bleach you out at the very least. This is going to cost you anywhere between $50 – $100 depending on where you go. I an easily drop over $100 at my salon, which is just a little small-town place I am fiercely loyal to. Then add in root costs for upkeep, which can be in the same ballpark. Depending on how dark or light your hair is, you can stretch the time between roots, but at some point, you gotta go. (Yes it’s kind of like drugs.)

Keep reading for instructions and pink hair aftercare!

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Halloween Special Edition!


Cinderella’s mother always told her to be good to the Fair Folk, so while her sisters went to the prince’s masquerade ball on All Hallows’ Eve, she prepared her gift for them – a little pumpkin fairy house!

They left her a special pumpkin as a thank-you right before midnight. Huh, wonder what that could be for?

~♥~♥~♥~

Happy Halloween from Lolita Charm!

Two very special things happened today in honor of Halloween, arguably my most favorite holiday! The first is that I received my lovely Innocent World lucky pack – the second is that I have two easy Halloween pumpkin how-tos!

I must say that I am very, very happy with Innocent World’s overseas service. Not only did I get a shipping notice and a tracking number, but the items actually arrived in time for Halloween – only two days after it left Japan! The pack also included a handwritten note in perfect English from their new representative, Aviva – who’s a great choice for the job, as she’s active in the lolita communities. (I wish the other brands – cough, Angelic Pretty, cough – would simply hire a foreign lolita to run their overseas business – customer service quality would soar!)

Here’s what I got in my pack:

  • A brown and mocha corduroy Cinderella-patterned skirt (with brown chiffon bustle!)
  • Cream and caramel circus bear socks
  • Lacy brown and chiffon headband
  • A cream high-neck blouse with pearl buttons, shot through with shimmery white-gold threads

I’m very happy with both the contents, the ease of ordering, shipping, and packing! I highly recommend Innocent World – so far in my opinion they lead the way in overseas customer support.

So, want to make two adorable decorated pumpkins? Here’s how both of the above pumpkins were made – in order of ease. The glitter pumpkin takes about ten minutes, I promise!

Glitter Pumpkin
  1. Wash and dry pumpkin thoroughly.
  2. Use a brush to paint on a medium-weight glue, like Elmer’s. I used PVA, or polyvinyl acetate, typically used for book-binding.
  3. Put down newspaper and then shake your chosen glitter all over the pumpkin! When you run out, pour the glitter back into the jar and then shake over the areas that didn’t get any glitter.
  4. Shake excess glitter off of the pumpkin. Let dry for at least an hour.
  5. Display! Warning, though – the glitter does shed when you touch it. Be prepared to find glitter in unusual places! That’s half the fun in my opinion though! And since this pumpkin isn’t carved, it should last quite a bit longer than a regular jack-o-lantern.

Fairy House Pumpkin

  1. Start by cutting through the top to make a lid and then hollow out the inside of the pumpkin, as for making a jack-o-lantern.
  2. Cut out two smaller circles for windows, and a larger oval for a door.
  3. Rescue some sticks from your yard to wedge into the window as window-panes, and then as the basis for your door.
  4. Fire up the glue gun (I used glittery hot glue for a more fairy look!) and glue the other twigs across the front door frame. I added Spanish moss for valances, but this is all artistic license.
  5. Don’t forget your ladder or walk way – just more sticks hot-glued together. Told you it was easy! This one also sort of doubles as a scary face with eyebrows, too…
To round off, here’s two more photos of my Cinderella-themed outfit for today – pre-princess phase.

Skirt, headdress: Innocent World
Blouse: Victorian Maiden
Socks: Metamorphosis
Shoes: offbrand

Have a happy Halloween!

Lace Lovely Nail Tutorial With Konad!

I’ve always loved crazy nails. Even when you feel like hell or are working through a tedious amount of paperwork, your nails can cheer you right up. I love to see my nails as I hit the button on a radio or calculator; clicking on a keyboard. And of course lolitas are interested in their nails! The huge, over-the-top acrylic styles are just gorgeous, complete with piercings, huge add-on cabochons, and even 3D cake figures. But false nails make me nervous. I can just imagine ruining my nail bed! Even so, I wanted some cute and decorative beyond the usual manicure. But workable. Enter Konad Nail Art.

Konad is a nail decorating system from Korea that they call stamping. Essentially, you use their special plasticky polish to mold your own tiny decals and then stamp them onto your nails (and cellphones, they say, but I haven’t tried that yet). I ran across it looking for ways to add lace to my nails, and as you can see – it works!

I started with dusty pink rose color on my nails, and then a topcoat over that. This will keep your color from wearing off if you need to take off the design. (I’ve included videos for you to learn the stamping process, but I will make one with my own tricks if anyone is interested). Then use spread the special polish on the plate, scrape the excess, pick up with the stamper, and stamp. It’s not foolproof and there is a bit of a learning curve, but after only messing with it twice I now have a pretty decent success rate.

What to Order If You’re Starting Out

I ordered the very basics so I could try it. For me, this was two image plates (one with bows, hearts, and snowflakes, called the M59, and another with different laces and a bow, called M71); a bottle of special polish in white; and a double-ended stamper/scraper set. You do need the special polish. Someone had mentioned using goopy, old polish, and it does work but only to a very small degree. A little goes a long way on this polish, so I’d just get the bottle. There are also coupon codes from various Youtubers who tout the Konad product. You do not need: image plate holder, their topcoat, their base coat, or any of their ordinary wear polishes. One person said you can even use a box cutter instead of a scraper, but I’d suggest you try theirs before you start playing with razor blades. You also don’t need the huge kits. It’s much better to pick out the plates and colors you like, and you probably won’t need the entire set unless you’re opening a salon.

Plus, shipping was excellent. By using a code, I got 20% of my order and free shipping (I believe any order over $20 is also free shipping). They arrived in just four days!

Tips To Using Your Products

At first I had a lot of trouble with it and it was very frustrating. Mostly you just couldn’t get a good transfer from the plate to the stamper. But after using it with my friend, we have a good formula for getting a full image with a high success rate.
  • Work quickly. The polish dries fast. Daub the polish into the design (daubing seems to get better results than using a swipe like you would on your regular nails), then immediately scrape off excess cleanly. Stamp with force, but not for a long hold, in a very vertical motion. If you have a good image, roll it across the nail. More planning may be needed for items with tips or if you have a specific idea of where to put it.
  • The double-ended stamper really is great. The bigger end is for full designs and the smaller end for single images. You get more precision this way.
  • Keep rhinestones on hand to cover up small mistakes on an otherwise good image. If I had a place where the lace smudged, I’d just cover it with a self-adhesive crystal (these are made by Kiss, a drugstore nail art brand). Plus they look very cool :)
  • Use your topcoat carefully! Apply it in dabs and then carefully spread it, or else it may smear the image a little. Rhinestones should always be sealed with a little clear topcoat as well.
  • A toothpick can be used to touch up tiny spots on the image or to add extras – like the teeny dots running out from my heart cluster (middle finger, right side). You can also wiggle some wayward pieces of the design back into place if need be.
  • Keep your plate and scraper clean with 100% acetone remover. Keeping these items clean is one of the best ways to ensure a good image. Since the 100% acetone doesn’t have nail conditioners and is stronger, it’ll do a better job of removing the polish.
  • Put down newspaper. The special polish can get around, trust me.
  • Patience! It will take a while for you to perfect this method, and sometimes you just get lucky. But it is very cute and looks salon-like without the salon price.
  • Square tips also add to the salon look. I’m not wearing them but my friend had beautiful red nails with square tips and white designs. They also look excellent on the black.
  • Accept some small imperfections. Nobody will probably look at your nails as closely as you do, so it’s ok to let it go sometimes if a teeny heart is out of shape or something similar.

Whew! That seems like a lot, but a little practice and you’ll have an awesome new nail skill that you can use over and over again.

Links

Konad Official Video (hilariously dubbed)
Xsparkage’s Konad Video
All About Konad Nail Art
Buy Konad Products

I’ll probably be trying other Konad products too, like their 3D stickers or beaded nail tattoos, so be sure to look for those reviews as well! It’s a lot of fun to stamp your nails when you get the hang of it (all of the ladies at our tea this afternoon got at least one design!), and a very cute design for your natural nails.

Have fun!

Clove Orange Scents


photo by meg_nicol

I know that this year money is a little tight for everyone, and as always people love to make things, especially when the days get shorter and the nights get longer. This is also an easy and sweet traditional Victorian craft, so I thought you might all like to make clove oranges!

You will need:

-length of ribbon, 1/2 or wider, enough to wrap an orange present-style with a bow and a loop (about two feet)
-an orange
-whole cloves (see photo)
-pins, flat tacks, or brass brads
-hot glue (optional)
-skewer [metal, like a shish-kabob]
-small custard bowl

Use the custard bowl as a stand. It leaves your hands free, which is great. Start by wrapping the orange like a present – down the sides, cross over, and then up the other sides. The cross-over should be on the bottom and the bow on top. Use the tails for a loop (optional) if you want to hang it. The orange should be split into quarters. Try to tie the ribbon as tightly as possible. Fix a brad/tack/pin through the bottom crosspiece, and one each in the ribbon near the top. If you have a ton and they’re decorative, you can line each ribbon, up and down. If the ribbon is loose on top or you want it to be sturdier, you can use hot glue underneath the ribbon.

Use your skewer to poke a simple design in one of the segments of flesh. It should be about half and inch deep. I made little diamond shapes, but hearts, swirls, smiles, circles, or crosses could be pretty. Then poke the long part of the whole clove into the hole you made with the skewer.

The orange will dry and this ornament keeps its shape and scent for years. I hung mine near our woodstove, but you can hang it anywhere! You can also roll it in cinnammon or tie on cinnamon sticks for extra center.

Extra Gems!

Add glitter, sequins, rhinestones, or specially shaped brads to decorate your oranges; skip the ribbon and collect them in a bowl; tack lots of small bows onto the orange for a very Angelic Pretty look; tie bells, holly or false flowers to the top.


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