Let’s Use Office Supplies On Our Nails

The great thing about doing graphic-design stuff — well, aside from being able to bust out nifty illustrations and build fancy-ass party invitations from scratch — is having a legit reason to collect a GREAT BIG STASH of crafty things. Fancy papers! Chicago screws! Transfer lettering! Weird adhesives! Laminating machines! And also … laser foil. BUT WILL IT BLEND GO ON NAILS? Let’s find out!


This ^2Torial assumes you already have nail polish on. Mine is a blue-purple shifty with a black base, for maximum drama ‘n’ contrast.

But since a bunch of you (possibly all of you) are thinking “wtf is laser foil, is it for space leftovers” … laser foil is a very thin clear plastic (probably acetate?) film that has ultra-shiny chrome-like metallic foil on one surface. I have silver, but it comes in a bunch of colors, and even some holographic “textures” that look like those really garish gift bags, oooooo.

The matte bottom surface is made to bond with — and ONLY with — the toner from a laser printer or copier. So whatever elements you want to be silver (etc), you print as black, then cut a piece of the foil, place it on top shiny-plastic side up, and run it through a heat laminator. Peel off the plastic backing, and WOO, CHROME! Just where you wanted it! Neato. Anyway, I’ve got a ton of scraps lying around and thought hm, what else will this stuff bond with? Turns out, you can get a cool as hell effect by slapping some over a layer of (still wet) quick-dry top coat! LET US PROCEED.

Yeah, that’s a strip left un-bonded from a pre-used piece. Doesn’t matter! It just needs to be big enough to cover your nail. I’m using Seche Vite quick-dry top coat, but anything similar would work as well, like Sally Hansen InstaDri.

Your underlying nail polish should be totally dry, because we’re going to be putting pressure on it. (Physical pressure, we’re not going to like, try to goad it into joining a club or something.) Paint a coat of quick-dry top coat all over you nail or just in spots, then cover it with a piece of laser foil with the matte side down, and press.

I’m finding it’s best/easiest to mash your whole nail onto a semi-soft surface, like a small pillow or your thigh — just make sure the surface is something you won’t mind getting a bit of clear polish on in case some blorps out around a nail edge. Hold it down firmly for 20-30 seconds.

Peel it up, and WHOA, LOOKIT THAT. Due to the creasing and such when mashing your nail into this thin flexible material and also just The Vagaries Of Fate, you’ll get weird little patterns, which’ll be different on every nail. If you don’t get enough silver down on the first try, just tap a little more top coat on blank areas and do it again. Once you’ve done all your nails, just add another layer of clear quick-dry and you’re done!

Interestingly, just like with the perfectly chrome-smooth mirror nail powder, topping this stuff with any “normal” nail polish or top coat will turn its surface from mirror chrome to kinda crinkly-foily. It is POSSIBLE that you could avoid this the same way you do with mirror powder — by first doing one or two top coat layers of a clear water-based sealer, and THEN a “normal” top coat. I didn’t try it this time, because the water-based stuff, while effective on mirror powder, does take quite a while to fully dry, and isn’t very durable on its own.

I LOVE THIS. Next week, we’ll be working with paper clips and a three-hole punch! (Not really.) (But maybe!)

Have you ever stuck weird office shit on your nails, Y/N. Discuss.