For this week’s Last Chance Design Lab challenge sponsored by CND, new Last Chance champion Lavette Cephus takes on newly eliminated Simone Gilbert. The two will battle it out one-on-one to see who has a chance of staying in the competition. CND’s Jan Arnold will select her favorite look next Friday and you’ll find out who will remain for at least one more week.


All Last Chance challenges are done on a single nail tip. They are also asked to describe their looks. There are no other elements to this battle.


This week’s Last Chance challenge is loosely related to Gel II’s Hot and Cold challenge.


Week 10: Monochromatic: On a single nail tip, create a monochromatic nail. You must use all mediums on a single tip (liquid and powder, gel, gel-polish, embellishments, 3-D sculpt). Remember, monochromatic means any shade of one color and one color only.


Here are the looks they created:


Lavette_last chance-LR

Lavette Cephus

Initializing: Nail Art… Monochromatic: Engaged… TOP 3: FINALIZED!


TIME TO GO TECH! For my theme, I was inspired by the competition and the use of technology throughout it. This artwork is powered by my hand painted “MOTHERboard” nail tip! In the middle of my MOTHERboard I painted a cross to represent faith, which has been my personal power source throughout this entire competition. The tablet connected to the MOTHERboard is power driven by faith. Morphing from the tablet is my emerging hand reaching for the Next Top Nail Artist Trophy! Now I am ready to take this competition from my tablet to California to stand as a Top 3 Finalist!


From computer to California — digital to reality to stand.


Green is my favorite color and the color of growth! I loved being able to work with all shades and mediums of green, from matte to metallic!


MOTHERboard — a nail tip handpainted dark green with acrylic paint and nail polish, wire from twist-tie, caviar beads, and green rhinestones


Tablet — made of acrylic and builder gel, illuminated with an LED light and 3-volt battery


Digital Hand — molded with clay and sculpted with builder gel, painted with polish and acrylic paints


NTNA2014 Trophy — sculpted with builder gel


Simone_last chance2-LR

Simone Gilbert

Being given the responsibility of choosing our own topic of design for this monochromatic challenge, I decided to share something about myself that not many people know and express it on a nail. Most are already aware that I am a former travel agent, but when the company I worked for made my position redundant after closing its doors in the aftermath of 9/11, I found myself doubting my career choice. With no travel jobs available and so many out of work, I decided it was time to go back to school and start a new career.


Growing up, I was close with my grandparents. My Nan loved craft and if I wasn’t creating something fun with her, I would be right by my Pa’s side in the garden on their farm. My Pa was a little eccentric and used to collect old and unique pots, kettles and buckets to plant flower seedlings in. My grandparents also owned and operated a garden supply yard in Melbourne’s inner suburbs where my Dad and uncles worked. A huge part of my teen years were spent helping out on Saturdays in the garden yard for extra pocket money or gardening with my Pa, or at home with my Dad. It is something I have always enjoyed.


With all of this in mind, I decided to enroll in a landscape gardening and design course. Just before the enrollment papers were due for submission, I had my nails done for the very first time and it got me rethinking my decision. I chose instead, to enroll in beauty school and become a nail tech. Nails won over the dirt and creepy crawlies, and I’ve gotta say I couldn’t be happier with my choice!


For my landscape garden, I chose to use grey as my single color. By choosing grey, I could achieve metallic style finishes and work with anything ranging from dark charcoal to soft grey.


I created an old blue gum wood post and rail fence, inspired by the one my dad hand build at our family home, with the nail tip used as the center post. I etched into colored acrylic to carve out the wood grain. I then set about making the tap fitting (spigot) garden sculpture using acrylic and coating it with metallic grey color gel. I sculpted my watering can, bucket and cracked porcelain tea pot from gel and embellished the watering can and bucket with nail foil to get a grey metallic sheen. Then I finished them with gel-polish, lightly buffing to achieve a matte finish.


I created a few different types of flowers using a variety of products such as charcoal and deep grey roses using acrylic, dahlia’s in light grey using gel with petals attached one by one and some daisies also created from gel and embellished with a single Swarovski crystal. The daisy stems are simply uncoated wire to give them a colder contrast against the pretty daisies and shiny porcelain.


I used some fine fishing line and coated it with gel, allowed the gel to pull apart and form small beads and then cured. This created the floral sprays in the flower pots.


I tied it all together with the enormous tap sculpture, which has water and flowers flowing from it. The water was created from gel-polish and the water puddle is made of gel. For the finishing touch, I added a charcoal spider, spinning a web on the post and rail fence.


I had so much fun creating this piece of art that I think it may just be my favorite of the competition. I only wish I had made a video to document how I created some of these intricate pieces.




Congratulations to Lavette Cephus for winning this week’s Last Chance Design Lab challenge. Reigning champ Lavette went up against Simone Gilbert to create a monochromatic design on a single nail tip. They were required to use a variety of materials and only shades of a single color. CND’s Jan Arnold chose the winner.


Jan said, “Lavette is so focused on the prize, clear and true to herself, and talented in all the mediums. Her base nail is beautifully done, utilizing various shades of green into metallic green. Even the hand and torch are nice and smooth, which is hard with sculpting products on rounded lines. The story she told was clear and positive. Again, she proves to be an inspiration in the competition.”


About Simone, Jan said, “Simone is an amazing artist and she excelled in this year’s NTNA competition! Her sense of design, attention to detail, precision art, and unique perspective in every challenge was a pleasure to witness. This week was very difficult and I am very sorry to see Simone leave us. She is a true winner and a great artist!”


This means Lavette will move on to our official Top 3 and will be competing against Danielle Costantino and Lexi Martone for the title of NAILS Next Top Nail Artist 2014-1015.


Check back on December 1 to follow along with their final challenge.