Ulta. This is set 02 Have Fun! I'm not absolutely sure, but I think there may be different sets/plates available.
e.metro. I just noticed they no longer have any items for sale, but I got these last November, and they must have sold out since. Anyway, I like them, and there are many images that I have used already. They're not super high quality, as there were scratches and blemishes on almost every plate, but that hasn't affected the stamping yet. I had no problems with the seller either, they were very accommodating, and sent the plates I requested, within the timeframe they quoted. Also, for what it's worth, there was a stamper and plastic scraper included with this set. I prefer the plastic scraper, because the Essence scraper is metal, and the plates were getting scratched with every pass.
Last, but not least, here are my official Konad plates. I got these at OC Nail Art, at the end of the coupon codes happy times. I just wish I could have gotten on that bandwagon sooner, when I (kind of) had $$. Oh, well, at least I have these! As you can see, I mostly went for the full nail image plates, because it seemed to fill the gaps left by my fauxnad plates. I'll miss the coupon codes, but I would still order from Kathleen any time with confidence, because the service is top notch!
This is how I store my plates. I got this photo wallet at WalMart, and the plates fit pretty well. It will hold up to 40 plates. Also, both scrapers fit in the back pocket.So, that's my stamping stash. Now that I have the pics, I will try to remember the individual plates whenever I post a stamping.
I've picked up a few learnings/tips, too, and this seems like a good place to share. Hope these help some fellow n00bs!
- I only use pure acetone for cleaning plates and accessories. I tried acetone-based remover and it just made a mess and didn't dry like the pure stuff does.
- I use a cotton swab for cleaning during the process, then, when I'm all done, I finish cleaning up with a cotton pad for maximum coverage.
- I try to line up the plate so the image is how I want it on the nail, making the transfer quick and easy.
- I like to stamp over a clear topcoat, since you can then clean a messed-up image right off the nail, with a cotton swab dipped in acetone. The topcoat acts as a buffer, so you won't ruin the base polish underneath.
- I use a folded paper towel underneath the plate, so when I pull the scraper across, it just goes off the edge of the plate onto the paper towel.
- You don't have to cover the entire image on the plate with polish, because the scraper will pull the polish across and fill in any gaps. I usually cover about half the image, and that's plenty. It not only saves a little polish, but it's less messy in the end, too, as there's less excess on your scraper and paper towel.
- For those who wonder, I don't own a single Konad special polish. I'm sure they're great, but they aren't necessary. Any polish that can be opaque in 1-2 coats is a candidate, or for subtle stamping, it doesn't have to be opaque. All I can say is: Experiment!
- Regarding topcoat causing the images to streak/run: I've used several topcoats now over stamping, and I've had success with this technique: make sure your image is completely dry, and use more topcoat than you normally would, with as few passes as possible. Really load the brush, and very lightly pass over your nail, so that the brush doesn't even touch the nail, just the bead of topcoat does.
- The plates are smaller than you might expect. My storage wallet is made for wallet-sized photos, like school pictures, and the plates are smaller than that lengthwise, but about the same widthwise. All of my plates are roughly 2¼" across (or just under 6cm metric).
- Get creative! I love layering colors and images, and it always looks fantastic when I do. I still have trouble lining up single images, so layering helps to mask that issue.