I use both Konad brand (the original, as far as I know) and Bundle Monster. There are other companies out there making image plates for stamping, but these are the only two brands I have used.
|Two plates from the second Bundle Monster set. There are|
French tip designs, full nail designs and smaller designs.
|The back of the Bundle Monster plates have a paper coating|
in set two, but not in set one. This makes the edges of set one
rather sharp, so you have to be careful not to scratch the plates.
Konad plates are sold individually, and are quite a bit more expensive - generally $6.99 each. However, the full nail designs are large enough for most people (they still don't completely cover my thumbs, but are fine for all my other fingers). There is some overlap in designs between Bundle Monster and Konad, but in my opinion, the Konad designs are somewhat more refined. The Konad plates each come in their own little plastic sleeve and do not have protective plastic coating. I spent about 10 minutes trying to get the non-existent coating off my first Konad plate!
|A Konad plate in its sleeve. The backs have|
a paper coating similar to the second
Bundle Monster set.
I order all my Konad plates and other supplies from WowSoCool. These folks ship really fast and offer free shipping on orders of $20 or more! Not too hard to do - three images plates in your basket and you're there! And you'll want more than three! You can also usually find a coupon code via retailmenot.com and other similar websites, so you can save a little.
To do the stamping you will also need a scraper and a stamper. You'll see these on the Amazon link and under Accessories on the WowSoCool website. I like the double-ended stamper, but I also have the smaller, one-sided stamper that I use if I'm stamping with a dark pink or red polish, because they don't show up on the pink side of the double-ended stamper! I have a couple of scrapers as well, but I usually use an old credit card (well, actually, my expired Art Institute of Chicago membership card!). The credit cards are a lot easier to clean up than the metal scraper, and some people worry that the metal will scratch the surface of the image plate, although I myself have never had this happen.
|The double-sided stamper and scraper.|
|Another view of the stamper, showing the rubbery tip.|
And finally, the polishes. Some tutorials and websites will tell you that you need to have the Konad Special Polishes in order to do the stamping, but that's really not true. You just need a polish that is very pigmented and opaque. Chrome and metallic polishes also work really well. The only special polish I have is white, because other whites I have really aren't opaque enough. The special polish is quite a bit thicker than a normal polish; you wouldn't use it to paint your nails.
I won't do a tutorial here, because it's already been done a million times. But here are some links to show you how it works. WowSoCool has a nice demo page, but you have to scroll down to see the pictures. Also, it says demo video, but it is really a story board. YouTube has a bajillion videos and tutorials. Here's one I like so that you can see the process in under three minutes; if you want to see more, just enter Konad in the search box. You'll be amazed!
If you're reading this blog, you already know that I'm pretty crazy about stamping my nails! For me, it's like a little art project that I get to enjoy for a day or two, and then I get to make a new one! There is kind of a learning curve, but it doesn't take long to get the hang of it, and once you have, you can stamp all your nails in under 10 minutes! (And I'm including clean-up in that 10 minutes!)
Hope this information is useful!