Manus x Machina: Flowers (Part 3)


The Season 4 finale is based on the 2016 Met Ball theme and art exhibit Manus x Machina. We asked our Top 3 to utilize both handmade and machine-made processes to make high-fashion nail art. The third set is inspired by flowers.


Nails were to be done on 10 nail tips (any size). In terms of nail supplies, contestants were allowed to use any items necessary as well as unconventional materials. Each artist also had to submit a Nail Art Gallery tutorial  and Pinterest board of their process. CND’s Jan Arnold then critiqued each set.

Here are the looks they created:

Jonny Pham

I was drawn to the intricacy from a number of the designers, in particular, those from Marc Jacobs, Raf Simons,  and Karl Lagerfeld. With an eye for intricacy, I am always pulled towards detailing, particularly elements such as layering, cuts and shaping, and colors. Flowers, whilst delicate and feminine, also provide strong emotions in romance,  and are almost always pleasing to the eyes. For the Manus component of this challenge, I decided to create the flower petals using several techniques such as gel, plastic, and foils among others. I also wanted to introduce a new color to my portfolio. Red is regarded as rich and opulent and is a known power color. I also continued to incorporate nude, gold, and black to tie in with my previous challenge(s), to add to my created Manus x Machina Nails Collection. For the Machina component of this challenge, I felt the urge to introduce different jewelry wires and metal pins, as well as continuing my link to Swarovski crystals to make my collection cohesive. I hope this challenge shows another side of my creativity and versatility. I hope you all enjoy this challenge as much as I did when I was creating it.

Click here to see Jonny’s Pinterest board.

Click here to see a tutorial for Jonny’s nails. 

Jan’s Feedback: This is your all-time best and most creative work. I love all the interesting cut-outs on the base nails, especially the high shine black thorns. The handmade and richly colored flower petals create dynamic dimension on these beautifully designed works of refined art. The machine-made elements were manipulated artistically and worked seamlessly into the overall architecture of the set.  We saw the many facets of your magnificent talent this week!


Liina Leino

We were asked to create a set inspired by flowers in fashion. We had to include hand and machine-made elements and the set was to be made on 10 individual nail tips. I love the contrast of different colors on top of a white or black background on fabrics, so I got to continue on my color theme from the previous challenges (folded nails, Fifty Shades of Lace). I used machine-made artificial flowers on my set for the Machina part of the set and hand made everything else. I painted flowers inspired by the designs of Ted Baker. I made similar flowers using acrylics and brought the set together with the artificial flowers.

Click here to see Liina’s Pinterest board. 

Click here to see a tutorial for Liina’s nails. 

Jan’s Feedback: This lovely set of colorful nails showed us a different side to your artistic personality.  They are beautiful, restrained, and even wearable. Your precision continues to elevate and the payoff is in the sophistication of the set. I was most excited about the poppies in the design, but then discovered they were artificial. I was so hoping you had created a gel-fabric and sewed these poppies yourself, that would have been the over-the-top-element we needed this week. Not sure this set pushed the boundaries of your ambition or creativity. This is the time to push it harder! Go Girl!



Tracey Lee

I loved the ideas that were sent through to us for inspiration. I was able to start my creation process through the layering of petals from the Marc Jacobs design and the chrome inspiration from the Kaikoku Floating Dress design. From there I wanted to take it in a slightly different direction. I want the readers to remember that not everything is what it seems. I want them to see that each item has several possibilities, so in doing that I have created a Steampunk-Recycled Floral Bouquet for your viewing pleasure.

I have chosen to work with the chrome pigments once again, however in slightly different shades this time in order to enhance the Steampunk design. I have used golds, bronzes, greens, and small amounts of fuchsia to create the final piece. These colors are also complimented in the unconventional items that I added in the design – nuts, cogs, metal wiring, coils etc.

In terms of creating different flowers, I was inspired by some ideas on Pinterest. The user on Pinterest was creating daisies with paper, and by using gel strips in a similar way I was able to create a flower of my own. I want to encourage the readers to play around with the various characteristics of each product and see where it can take you. The recycling element came in when I could use a beer can and turn that into a rustic rose through some cutting and bending. In this design I worked with LED Gel, Gel Paste, color gels, and acrylics to create the various structures of the backgrounds and flowers. I am hoping that this design allows you a second glance at any item you may want to throw away and see the endless possibilities it may create. Happy hunting!

Click here to see Tracey’s Pinterest board. 

Click here to see a tutorial for Tracey’s nails. 

Jan’s Feedback: First, let me say, I have never seen ambition like yours. Every tiny details is magnificent and thoroughly worked out artistically and mechanically. You have a such a beautiful balance of left (analytical) and right (creative) brain in your work. Also, thank you for listening to my comments about reducing your copy. With that said, I nitpick. On step 3, I would have liked to see a separation between the base nail direction and the embellishment direction. There were so many visual references and until I read the copy, I didn’t get the full story. Your work this week was inspiring. Keep up the excellence!

Voting for the final sets of nails will take place here in March.