Friday, November 22, 2013

Nimbus Nail Art using Couture Soak Off Gel

Purchased by Me

Hello lovely readers.  If you follow The Nailasaurus, you are likely familiar with her awesome nail art technique called Nimbus Nail Art.  If you don't follow her, now is a great time to start!  Her creativity is amazing.  Her Nimbus style has spread like wildfire throughout the DIY nail art community, and it's easy to see why.  I was asked by a reader if this style can be done with soak off gel.  I honestly didn't have an answer, but I'm always up for a challenge so I came home and tried it out.  Great news!  With a slight, gel-friendly modification, the Nimbus CAN be done with soak off gel! And I'm going to show you how, but first you should follow that link above and review her tutorial as much of it is the same with gel.  It should open in a new window, so you can easily come back to see the modified technique.

Ok, now that you've read The Nailasaurus's tutorial, here's all you need to know to modify it for gel. 

What you'll need (in addition to your usual SOG supplies:
  • White soak off gel or other light colored SOG
  • A paint pallet, piece of foil, or other surface for mixing
  • Cotton swabs
  • Isopropyl Alcohol (or your gel cleanser)
  • A pair of tweezers
  • Your chosen colors
First things first, apply your base color.  I did three coats of Ooh La La French as my base.  Do not top coat yet.
Excuse my dry skin and cuticles.  I didn't moisturize before taking the picture to avoid causing lifting from the oils.

Now, place a generous drop of your first color on your pallet.  I'm using Couture Spa Day.

Add a drop or two of alcohol.  I added two for this size drop of polish, but start with one and see if you need more.  You can always add more alcohol, but you can't take it out. ;)

Choose a cotton swab with tight fibers to reduce the amount of cotton that might transfer to your nails.  Dip the cotton swab in alcohol so it is nice and wet, then mix the drop of gel with the drop of alcohol on your pallet.  It should become watery, almost like watercolors.

Using the cotton swab, dab a few times on the side of your pallet.  As the alcohol evaporates, it should leave a nice halo (or nimbus).  Add more polish or alcohol if needed to reach the right consistency.

Once you've reached the consistency you want, dab the color onto your nails.  Note, you'll want to work fast as the alcohol will evaporate quickly.  Dab all of the nails on one hand (or four fingers if you use a four finger lamp).  Be sure to clean up any excess that gets on your skin, and check for cotton fibers.  If you see any, remove them with your tweezers.  Then cure as usual.

Repeat this process with your other colors.  I chose to do only two colors for this tutorial.  My second color is Couture Off The Shoulder.  Once you have completed and cured the additional colors, finish off with your top coat and you're done. Unless, of course, you're like me and can't resist the urge to stamp almost every mani!  This was the perfect base for this reverse image from MoYou London XL Pro Collection 13.  I stamped with Konad Black. 

If you try this modified version of the Nimbus for soak off gel, please share your results with me by linking to your picture in the comments here, tagging me on instagram or pinterest, or sharing to my facebook page.  I would love to see it!  And a huge thank you to The Nailasaurus for this incredibly fun and easy nail art technique. 



  1. Fabulous effect. And great recommendation to Like her FB page. Thanks Michele.

  2. wow! it's beautiful... Love the manicure :)

  3. Nice! This reminds me of the tecnique where too coat is dropped on wet sog.

    1. It is a similar look to the snakeskin effect, but this allows for multiple colors while keeping the gel thin on the nail. The only negative to this method is the cotton can transfer to the nail, but I don't know what other tool could be used to get the same effect.

  4. Fantastic!! I was wondering how that effect might work with gels. Thanks for testing it out for us!


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