Read on after the jump for the full tutorial! :D
What is a swatchicle?
A swatchicle is a wooden popsicle stick with a fake nail glued to the end of it which is painted with nail polish. It's purpose is to keep a swatch of an individual nail polish or look for easy referencing.
Why make swatchicles?
Supplies for Making Swatchicles
Wooden popsicle sticks. These can be purchased at craft supply stores in bags of 100 or boxes of 1000.
Plain white Elmer's Glue. Be sure to get the plain white!
Black felt tip marker. My favorite is the PaperMate Flair in M.
Fake toe nails, size 00. I know, I know. Ew. But they fit perfectly onto the end of the popsicle sticks and they make a nice big swatch. These are available at most nail supply stores. They are usually sold in bags of 50 to 100. These nails are available in clear, bright white, and slightly off white. I prefer the slightly off white ones.
How to Make Swatchicles
Lay out however many popsicle sticks you'll need. You may find that some of the popsicle sticks are bent weird and/or have a really rough texture. Set those aside for now. You want to use the straight, smooth popsicle sticks for swatching your collection. You can use the reject popsicle sticks for testing out new looks or practicing nail art.
Pour some fake nails onto your table. When you pick them up try to hold them by the edges - this keeps your finger oils off the surface of the nails. Finger oils = bad for nail polish.
Apply a blob of Elmer's Glue to the tip of the popsicle stick and apply the fake nail. Position the nail on the end of the popsicle stick so that just a tiny bit of the fake nail hangs over the edge of the popsicle stick. This will help keep all your swatchicles uniform.
Allow to dry! I let mine dry overnight. Don't worry if you see a blob of white glue underneath the fake nail. It will dry completely clear with time.
How to Paint Swatchicles
Line up all the polishes you want to make swatchicles for. If you have a larger collection try making swatchicles for one brand at a time or one collection at a time.
You don't need base coat because you are painting on fake nails. Paint one coat of each nail polish onto each swatchicle. Repeat as needed for each swatchicle until each polish is opaque.
Allow appropriate dry time. I like to let them dry overnight just to be sure.
Finish each swatchicle with the appropriate top coat. The top coat should suit the polish. Don't use fast dry top coats like Seche Vite as they are meant to be applied to wet polish only.
Allow to dry for 24 hours.
***Don't make my mistakes!***
Don't skip the top coat step or you will end up with dull and/or discolored swatches.
Don't buy a bunch of cheapo top coat and apply it over all of your swatches - again, they will end up dull and/or discolored.
Be sure to wait at least 24 hours before storing your swatchicles or they will stick together and/or get dented.
Yes, I redid my entire collection at least 3 times. :/
How to Label Swatchicles
You can do this any way you like! Here is how I label mine:
Swatching over Clear Nail Polish
Apply one coat of clear nail polish to each swatchicle. It can be a clear nail polish or a clear top coat. Don't use a fast dry top coat like Seche Vite as they are meant to work over wet nail polish only.
Allow the clear polish to dry completely. This is especially important with crackle polishes - if the layer of polish beneath them isn't completely dry they won't crackle and they'll make a hot mess.
Apply the crackle polish. Allow to dry completely (it cracks more this way!).
Apply the appropriate top coat.
Allow to dry for 24 hours.
Swatching over Black Nail Polish
Sometimes it's a good idea to swatch certain polishes over black because their true beauty and enhancement purposes cannot be seen otherwise. Any color can be used as a base for layering but I choose to use black for consistency's sake when making swatchicles. The CND Effects are a great example - by themselves they don't look like much, but over other colors their loveliness is revealed. See the above photo to see what I mean. Here's the how-to:
The dazzling glitter in OPI Are You a Movie Star? is revealed over black! O.O
How to Store Swatchicles
As the photo suggests, I store my swatchicles in plain plastic cups right now. I have them divided by color and a few with subdivisions of color/finish (I haz lots of blue sparkly stuffs). ;D Not all my cups are shown in the photo - I have a black/white/gray cup that I wanted to mention because it's a good way to consolidate colors.
*\o/* YOU ROCK!!! *\o/*
Thank you so much for reading my swatchicle tutorial!
Please leave any questions or suggestions in the comments!