The Top Coat: DIY Nail Art Inspired by the CFDA Awards and Swarovski

Welcome to our new nail art column–the Top Coat! Every week we’ll be doing a step-by-step nail art tutorial. We’ve already told you the essentials yo
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Welcome to our new nail art column–the Top Coat! Every week we’ll be doing a step-by-step nail art tutorial. We’ve already told you the essentials yo
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Welcome to our new nail art column–the Top Coat! Every week we’ll be doing a step-by-step nail art tutorial. We’ve already told you the essentials you need for a good nail art kit, so gather your tools and try our next project.

In anticipation of the upcoming 2012 Council of Fashion Designers of America Fashion Awards, we’re saluting their longtime partner and underwriter Swarovski with a super luxe, blinging crystal manicure. We were inspired by the Swarovski spring 2012 jewelry ads featuring a pre-brunette Jessica Stam looking glowy and sparkly. Want to go for the glam? Ready, set, sparkle! Here’s how to do it.

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Tools of the Trade: Sephora Collection 3-in-1 Perfecting Base Coat, $6 at Sephora.com

Sally Hansen Complete Salon Manicure Nail Polish in Choco-Latte, $5.99 at Drugstore.com

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Step One: First Base After applying your base coat, polish your nails a pretty, fleshy pink hue. Allow two minutes for drying time.

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Tools of the Trade: Rhinestones Picker, $1.50 at 123NailSupply.com

Cheeky Nail Art Rhinestone Wheel, $4.99 at Amazon.com

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Step 2: A Precious Perimeter While your polish is still wet, create a diamond halo effect on your thumb, middle, and pinky finger by outlining the nail in rhinestones. (There’s no need for glue—the flat backside of the rhinestones will adhere directly to the damp nail polish.) Use a rhinestone picker to help you swiftly move through the picking-up-and-placing process.

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Tools of the Trade: Love & Beauty Confetti Disco Nail Polish in Silver, $2.80 at Forever 21

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Step 3: Bling It On Next, paint your accent fingernails (the ring and forefinger) a kaleidoscopic silvery shade. Immediately cover your entire ring and forefinger with rhinestones. The more the merrier—if a few spaces are leftover, that’s fine. The glittery polish picks up the slack.

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Tools of the Trade: Milani Nail Treatment Glossé Top Coat, $4.49 at Drugstore.com

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Step 4: Shine Squared Give your glitzy tips one last glossy kick with a high shine topcoat.