Tuesday, January 11, 2011

TUTORIAL - Water-Marbling

I did it!
I have made for you, a water-marbling tutorial!
It was a challenge, let me tell you.  With lots of trials and lots of errors, a digital camera sticky-tacked to the top of my coffee-maker, and a living room lamp, I did it!  

Here's the finished nails, and then I'll guide you through it step-by-step!

1)  Gather your supplies and set-up your area.  You'll need :
  • Nail Polish in chosen colors - as many or as few as you like.  It generally works best if they are the same brand, but mixing brands sometimes works, too.  I used Sally Hansen White On, The Real Teal, and Purple Potion and Pure Ice Creme Wild Thing.  
  • Small plastic container for the water - I used a yogurt tub
  • Toothpicks for marbling
  • Masking tape for fingers (that will make more sense later)
  • Plastic store bag (like from Wal-Mart or Dillons)  This means that as you create trash, you just drop in on the plastic and you can roll up the whole mess when you're done.
  • Room-temperature water
  • Q-tip
  • Fingernail polish remover

2) Apply one coat of a light color for the polish to stick to.

3)  Apply masking tape to finger or fingers.  One strip should go along the sides of your finger, around the tip and along the other side.  Another strip should go around your finger just behind the back cuticle of the nail.  See two pix below.


4)  Now the fun begins!  Drip fingernail polish onto the top of the room-temperature water.  As you drip each color on the water, let it spread out before you add the next color.

5) As you add colors, concentric circles.  You can add as many or as few colors as you like.

6)  Next, take on of the toothpicks and carefully, slowly, swirl the polish on the top of the water to form the marbling effect.

7)  Slowly insert taped finger into the water.  See pictures below for how I think it works best - the first photo shows the finger not yet in the water so you can see the angle of entry and the second photo shows the finger tip in the water.  Do NOT pull finger out of water yet!

8)  Leaving finger submerged in the water,  wait until the polish still on the top of the water, then use the toothpick to gather it off the water.  (This is a pretty cool trick!)  But you have to leave the finger in the water.  If you don't then when you bring it up out of the water, the polish still on the top of the water will stick to it as you bring it out, with disastrous results.

9)  After you've scooped out all the extra polish, bring your finger up out of the water and admire the cool marbling on your nail and the tape.  Oooh-Aaah- how do you do it?

9) Carefully remove the tape - watching to make sure you don't smudge your still-wet nail.  This is where using masking tape is great because the exposure to water causes it to lose some of its stickiness, making it easier to take off.

10) Repeat with other fingers.  You can a) tape them one at a time, then add polish one at a time, b) tape them all then polish them one at a time, or c) tape and pain them in groups.  Below I did three fingers all at one time.

Below- before clean-up
You can see my pile of tape and toothpicks

10)  Dip Q-tip in fingernails polish remover and clean-up around places where the tape didn't cover your fingers.  DONE!  And below is the all-clean!  Then you can just scoop up all the tape and toothpicks into the plastic sack and your mess is all clean!

So there it is!  A tutorial for the water-marbling.  I hope you found it helpful.

The color possibilities are endless!  It's easy!   And oh-so-impressive!  

Hope you have fun!
If you try it, comment below - I'd love to hear all about it!


  1. It works very well and my nails are fabulous! THANK YOU!:)

  2. it DID NOT work