I'm going to show you the Bundle Monster's version of silicone mat. It's called Lotus Mat. It can be really helpful to those of us, who like to decorate our nails. It's power lies on the fact that it's made of silicone, so we can peel off the dried nail polish off of it like no big deal.
It's 15.7 in (40cm) long and 11.75 in (29,5cm) wide, so it's quite a big size to work with. On the pictures below you can kind of see the size compared to my hand, stamping plate or polish. It's a little bit transparent, milky white and matte. On the upper corners there are 5-5 nail shapes (one is rounded and the other is square), and at the right bottom there is a ruler (in cm). There is also a bigger lotus design on it, which is really helpful because of it's black petals, so we can see light and white patterns better over the black base. It comes in a sleek box, where you can store your mat if it's not in use, don't worry it's not going to be rumple. But of course if you have a little nail desk where you work on your nails, you can leave this mat there and it's going to protect your desk from dripping nail polish too.
It's really easy to clean: you can peel off the bigger (and dried) nail polish patches, and for smaller spots you can use a cotton pad soaked in nail polish remover or pure acetone. The acetone is not going to be affect the black patterns on the mat, and even when I tried to lightly scratch them with my nails, it stayed intact.
On the box you can see 3 main field of use: stamp, swatch and create, so in this post I'm poing to demonstrate all 3.
Let's see the swatch first. In my mind this means that you can try out different nail polish combinations side-by-side, or you can try glitter toppers over different bases, so you don't have to risk using a terrible choice of combination on your nails.
I think it's obvious, but I will say it anyways: you can use the entire mat surface to paint on. You don't have to use only the nail forms, they are quite big anyways. I'm a true #lazygirl, so I probably will start stamping and swatching in the top, and gonna keep doing it until I reach the bottom, and fill in any clean surface, so after a couple of weeks of use I'm going to clean the whole thing in one go.
A lot more practical use of this mat is to create stamping decals. I always do this (seriously, all the stamping nail designs that you saw on this blog was created as a decal :D ), because I'm terrible at stamping directly on my nails. Up to now I did my decals like this: I left the pattern on the stamping head, colored it in, covered it with clear polish, then peeled it off. Well, I don't have 10 stamping heads, so creating a full mani was really time-consuming. Now, with the Lotus Mat I can create as many decals as I want. There will be a pictorial for the whole decal-making-process below, and I also gonna share my tips and tricks, so if you're interested, keep reading. (btw. I hope it will be understandable, my english is not that good, but if something is not clear, just ask in the comments and I will try to explain it better)
So, I picked up the pattern with the stamping head, and stamped on the mat as many times as I want. Ater that I colored in the pattern and left it to dry a little bit. After that I painted on a THIN layer of topcoat, so I can peel of the pattern after it dried. Now, my first trick is that you have to make a thin decal. It's not going to be good if you use a thick coat of topcoat, it's not gonna lay on your nails easily later on. My other tip is not to wait hours for your decal to dry. With a good topcoat (I use Sally Hansen Double Duty for decals) you only have to wait 5-10 minutes. If you wait too long, your decal will be too dry, it's going to be stiff and it's even going to be break. If you somehow left your decals too long to dry, don't worry, just paint another thin layer of topcoat over it, and wait 5-10 minutes and it's going to be flexible again.
Btw. this process can be done in a different way: first paint a thin layer of topcoat over the mat, wait until it dries (5 mins), stamp on the topcoat and then peel it off. (you don't need another coat of topcoat!)
When you start peel off the decal (use a not too sharp tool, like orange stick or tweezers to loosen up the edges) and the decal is hard to remove or it's stretches, then it's not dry enough. Just leave it to dry another 1-2 minutes.
After all the decals are peeled off, paint a thin layer of clear topcoat (or your second coat of basecolor) on your nails, wait a little bit (don't put your decals in the freshly applied nail polish, the decal might will slip and slide), and place your decal on the middle of your nails. I have a strong C curve, so I always start to press the decal in the middle of my nails, and then slowly press it down in the sides. Don't use any tools for this, you might will injure the decal, just use your fingers. The decal should be flexible and thin, so using your fingers is the right way!
I put on the decals on 5 nails, and then start to cut off the excess with a small scissor, so this way I leave them some time to dry. Cut as close to your nails as you can, and try not to use a nail file on the nail tips, just cut there too, and then use a clean-up brush (with acetone or nail polish remover on it) to clean up and kind of "melt" the edges of the decal with the basecolor. And this is where my english knowledge leaves me :D This part is really hard to describe (even in hungarian :D ). You have to use enough acetone to melt the edges, also use your acetoned brush to press down (and melt) the decal on the nail tips. I can't really describe this part better, but I hope if you try it out, my words will make sense :D Another tip: I have curved nails, so my decals often rumple in the sides. I use a clean-up brush with acetone on it, lightly press it onto the rumpled area, so the acetone can melt and smooth the area out. It's not always a solution, but sometimes it can save a design. Also, sometimes it's enough to use a coat of topcoat, and it's going to smooth it out.
For this nail art I used Lunaria and La Paulée from Il Était Un Vernis, Mundo de Unas Black stamping polish and Born Pretty Store QA92 stamping plate.
For the "create" part, I made a blobbicure, but you can create any kinds of pattern, design you want. Technically, you can make ALL of the nail techniques on the mat, and they are going to be on point! Everything will be in the middle and parallel. If you like freehand nail art like me, but you can't paint with your non dominant hand: well, problem solved! Make your freehand nail art into a decal, and now both of your hands can have the same, detailed and pretty pattern. When you use acrylic paint, paint a clear (or colored) base on the mat first, so you can peel off the pattern easily.
But now let's go back to my blobbicure. This mat is especially great for using it to create blobbicures. I have a strong C curve (yeah, I still have it :D I know, 3rd time I mention it in this post :D ), so I couldn't make blobbicures right into my nails, because the blobs would run down in the sides of my nails. This was my second time creating blobbicure ever, so I had some fails. Remember, we want a thin layer, and when creating blobbicures you also have to keep this in mind! I used ILNP Ski Lodge and Clockwork. I painted on a thin layer of Ski Lodge, then right after it I created the blobs with Clockwork. I didn't used a topcoat over it, but you can totally use if you like. Waited around 10 minutes, then peeled it off. I used 2 coats of Ski Lodge on my nails, and I used the second coat as a sticky base for the decals (remember not to put the decals right after you painted your nails, wait around 10-20 sec). On my ring finger I used Clockwork as a base, and Ski Lodge for the blobs.
I hope you liked this demonstration and review of the Lotus Mat, if you want to buy it, you can find it at bundlemonster.com, direct link HERE. One piece is $13.99, but there is a 2pcs set, for only $23.99.
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I hope this awfully long post was somewhat helpful, and I hope I could provide some useful tips. And also, sorry for my bad english, if there's any questions, I'm happy to answer them in the comment section :) Also, I want to know what you think about these silicone mats, have you tried any of them?