Here's a little update on what I've done at school.
The latest things we have learned is called "inlays" or "encapsulating".
This can be done with UV gel or acrylic.
The trick is to work with very thin layers & creating a base, color, an item to be encapsulated, and then a clear layer over the top to seal it in.
You can encapsulate almost anything: glitter, confetti, lace, googly eyes, candy wrappers, feathers, etc.!
Here are some encapsulations or inlays I've done on classmates.
This encapsulated glitter was done with UV gel and a brush.
UV gel is a bit different than gel polish, it's VERY sticky and can be a lot messier!
Here are some acrylic inlays, done on the end of a French tip and some fades as well.
4 different glitters, acrylic polka dots, heart & star confetti and marblized acrylic!
Here's another view of the acrylic.. and some palm trees in the back haha (so difficult to get a good photo of these nails!)