Behind the Scenes: Owl Nails Taking Flight

by Erika Kotite | May 1, 2016

It’s been a whirlwind year for Winnie Huang. This month’s cover tech, and oh, the winner of NAILS Next Top Nail Artist for Season Three, hasn’t had much time for sleep or anything else since last summer.

Winnie Huang’s bird-embellished nail design is inspired by Tippi Hedren. “Tippi is fierce and fashionable, and that’s what I wanted these nails to be,” Huang says.

Winnie Huang’s bird-embellished nail design is inspired by Tippi Hedren. “Tippi is fierce and fashionable, and that’s what I wanted these nails to be,” Huang says.

Huang and her two other co-finalists Celina Rydén and Sarah Elmaz, faced a final challenge that comprised four different sets of nails. One of them was to depict Tippi Hedren, in honor of the BCL | CND Tippi Hedren Scholarship Fund, on a set of nails. Huang’s design, replete with soaring birds and an intricate sculpted owls, captured Hedren’s famous role in “The Birds” as well as her own unique voice as an artist who doesn’t always try to color within the lines.

“I loved that set when I did it for the challenge, so I was delighted to do it again,” Huang says. “The cover shoot was a very emotional experience because it’s been one of my top goals. Seeing everything come together gave me goosebumps.”

Here’s how you can get this month’s cover look:

1. Sculpt nails to the desired length using stiletto forms. File nails to the desired shape using an electric file.

2. Refine the shape of the pinky. Sculpt a diamond shape at the tip of the free edge, followed by an elongated diamond shape. Build and refine shapes as needed.

3. Apply gold metallic polish over the entire nail surface. Apply feather pieces individually at the base of the nail; secure using gel. Cure once placement is complete.

4. Embellish as needed, using various shapes and sizes of Swarovski crystals and metal studs.

5. Using a wet consistency, apply various colored and glitter acrylic to create a color blending effect.

6. Apply foil glue and tack holographic foil onto surface of the remaining nails.

7. Apply loosely curled wires onto the tip of the nail. Secure the wires using acrylic.

8. Apply gel to secure a feather over the base of the wires. Cure once the feather is placed.

9. Adhere birds sculpted with acrylic to wires using resin.

10. Apply owls and leaves sculpted out of acrylic.  Add details to the owls using acrylic paint.

11. Sculpt flower petals individually using colored acrylic; apply onto the nail and finish with embellishment.

Photography by Stacy Golden

Photography by Stacy Golden

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