For the second Last Chance Design Lab challenge of Season 9, Ella Sandblom and Ewa Borkowska are going head-to-head to see who will be staying in the competition.

CND’s Jan Arnold will select her favorite look.

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

CND Last Chance #2: Blast From the Past

The past can sometimes be just as inspiring as the future. For this challenge, we want to see a hand painted image using black and white ONLY. This image must be from a past event, such as an old family photograph, historical portrait, or an old black and white movie. Include an image of your inspiration along with your nail tip so we can see what you’re referencing.

Here are their entries:


For this challenge I had to create something that I hardly ever do, which is hand painting a realistic portrait on a nail. I don’t really know why I never do it, since I have enjoyed drawing and painting portraits for most of my life, but I’ve always done it on paper. I guess I separate those two artforms in my head, since I am pretty categorical by nature.

I chose a historical portrait that I think is so beautiful, The girl with the pearl earring. This portrait to me is like the Mona Lisa, there is something so mystical and effectful over her face expression. Her eyes and whole expression are so soft, and you’re left just wondering what is going on where the picture takes place, what is she thinking? I get very inspired with portraits like this, and chose to recreate it for my hand painted nail.

I created this nail using ‘cream puff’ and ‘blackpool’ from CND. I started out by painting the whole nail black, and then created the white as the base. Then I gradually built the depth in the face with a little bit of black at a time. The hardest part to recreate was by far the eyes, since they are so soft and mystical, and to create that on the small surface of the nails and making them realistic was a big challenge. This was definitely another hard challenge, but I loved that it pushed me to do something I almost never do otherwise, and I definitely want to practice doing this technique more in the future!


Hand painting is my favorite thing ever! My actor of choice is Antony Hopkins. He became one of my favorite since I watched The Hunchback of Notre Dame from 1982. I just love this history, not only from Disney adaptations, but also from movies and original history. Hopkins performance was so brilliant, that I remembered a movie for a long time – and still i like to watch it.

My second favorite role is that from Westworld, where he proved, that hes improving his trade with age. He is one of those actors, who continue to be better and better. I find that impressive, since I want to improve my art. Thats why I chose to paint him as old actor – full of experience, calmness and dignity.

For the micropaiting I use paint gels, because they are thick enough to provide me with very narrow and precise lines. Doing those lines is no easy task, so I use thickest brush available and work with short, focused moves. Steady hand is something, that comes with paiting, so I train a lot 🙂

I hope that You will like my work as much as I like Antony Hopkins

And the winner is…Ewa!

Here is what Jan Arnold had to say about Ewa’s nail:

“Your Anthony Hopkins is so real to life, and especially this week, the week of the Oscars, it was well timed.  His lines, expression and shadowing are all magnificent. Congratulations!”

This means that Ewa will go head-to-head with the finalist eliminated in Challenge #4, to be determined Friday! Congrats Ewa!