Behind the Scenes: Feeding the Hunger (May 2012 Cover Nails Step-by-Step)

Terri Silacci creates flame patterned nails inspired by Tthe Hunger Games for NAILS' May 2012 cover. Here's the step-by-step.

<p>Photography by Vu Ong</p>

Terri Silacci first came across our radar last year when she did a set of real snakeskin-encased nails for Vogue magazine. After that, snakeskin nails — and Terri — were featured in practically every beauty magazine and on TV shows including The Today Show and E! News. After a whirlwind year of press this 17-year veteran nail artist is just starting to hit her stride. She’s happiest when she’s creating new designs and techniques and she’s lucky to have clients who allow her to experiment — and showcase her talent — on their nails.

“The Vogue feature definitely changed my life,” says Terri. “I pinch myself every day and I’m so humbled by the experience. I just keep creating. I eat, sleep, and dream about what’s going to be the next thing. I always want to be outside of the box.”

Her clients at Nail Candy Lounge, her booth rental salon located within Euphoria Lounge in Monterey, Calif., expect her to try fun designs out on them. And they come in from all over for her now-world-famous snakeskin look (for which she charges $300 for the real snakeskin pedi or $150 for the synthetic version). With the high demand on her services, she’s hoping to bring in another nail tech to work with her and cover for her when she’s traveling.

<p>Editor Hannah Lee and Monterey, Calif.-based nail tech Terri Silacci first met earlier this year at ISSE Long Beach. That&rsquo;s when we started talking about flame nails.</p>

In response to someone who once told her she’d get bored doing nails, she says: “Never. When you allow yourself to love a thing passionately, you’ll never get bored.” Right now she’s creating (often in her home-based art studio) and hoping to inspire nail techs the world over.

Her motto, “Inspire and be inspired; invent and reinvent.”

For this month’s cover, we were inspired by a set of flame nails Terri showed us at the Long Beach show. She was actually inspired by Prada’s latest shoe collection with racing flames shooting off the heels. But we urged her to take the flames in another direction — pop culture phenomenon “The Hunger Games” heroine (and skilled hunter) Katniss Everdeen is described in the book as having flame nails. So we created an archery scene with beautifully distressed gold flame nails.  

How to creat custom-carved flame nail tips:

1.  First draw flames onto nail tips.

2. Use nippers to cut out shapes.

3. Finish the detail work of the flames with an electric file.

4. This is what your custom nail tips will look like before application.

Here's how you can do these nails:

1.    Prep the nails and apply OPI GelColor base coat. Cure.

2.    Apply OPI GelCoor in Black Onyx. Cure and remove tacky layer and shine.

3.    After carving your custom flames into nail tips, glue them onto each nail.

4.    Blend the tips and apply a thin layer of clear soak-off gel (Terri used Bellissima prima clear builder gel) to the entire nail and custome flame tips. Cure.

5.    Apply gold leafing onto the tacky layer. Lightly buff over the gold leafing to expose some of the black for a distressed look.

6.    Seal the nails with a gel top coat.

Step-by-step photography by Kimberly Pham

You Might Also Like:

Our Behind the Scenes video on this technique:

The Hunger Games-inspired Nail Art


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