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Tutorial: Marbled Nail Polish

29 September 2011 56,059 views 15 Comments

by heather

We've been loving the series of fingernail polish tutorials that Megan from Razberriez has been kind enough to share with us.  She's back again today to share another amazing technique that will leave all of your friends in wonder: marbled  nail polish!  Thanks, Megan!

marbled finger nail polish

Water Marbled Nails

by Megan, www.razberriez.com

The Water Marbling technique is a fun nail art project that makes it look like you spent big bucks at the salon, but can actually be achieved at home using inexpensive nail polishes. When you first try this technique I recommend experimenting with different color combinations to find the look that works for you. I have done this to give you an example of how a change of color can really affect the look - each nail pictured here has a different color combination so you can see what I mean.

What you will need to create Marbled Nails:

  • Base Coat (CND Stickey)
  • White nail polish ( Sally Hansen's White on)
  • 2 colors of your choice ( Listed throughout post )
  • Top Coat (Orly Sec n' Dry)
  • Cup full of room  temperature water.
  • Orange wood stick / toothpick
  • Tape
  • Remover and cotton swabs

How to create Marbled Nails:

  1. Apply your base coat and white polish - Start things off by applying one thin coat of your favorite base coat. I used CND Stickey, as it really grabs the polish and prevents staining. After that has dried, take your white polish and apply 2 coats. By doing this, the colors you choose to do the design with, will appear more vibrant.
  2. Prep your nails. Tape off the perimeter of your nails so that the polish wont seep onto your skin. I recommend taping off one nail, doing the design, and then proceeding to do the rest off your nails. It will make the process a lot easier.
  3. Choose your colors - I did a different color combination on each nail, so you could see how you can create lots of looks.
    Pink nail - Sally Hansen's White on and Jordana's Berry Parfait.
    Blue nail - Pure Ice's Calypso and Sally Hansen's Gentle Blossom.
    Purple nail - OPI's Overexposed in South Beach and white.
    Green nail - China Glaze's Starboard and OPI Gargantuan Green Grape
  4. Start dropping! Fill up a plastic cup with room temperature water and get out your orange wood stick/ toothpick. Open 2 nail polishes. Start with one color and drop a drop of polish into the cup. If you did it right, this will spread out really thin and look sheer. Quickly take your next polish and drop that into the center of the color you just dropped. Repeat until it looks like rings.
  5. Work quickly. In order for the next step to work, the nail polish has to be wet. It may take a while to learn how quickly you will have to work.
  6. Swirl and dip! Once you have the right amount of polish in the cup, take a clean toothpick and swirl it in the polish to create a design.  Take your taped off finger and finding a spot you like in the water, quickly lay your finger on it, and then dip it in the water so that your whole nail is submerged. The rest of the nail polish around it should be dry, so for best results, while your nail is still in the water, carefully clean the water by swirling the toothpick in it. The toothpick will collect all of the extra polish. Pull out your nail.
  7. Clean up and remove tape. Peel off all of the tape on your finger and using a cotton swab and remover, clean up the edges.
  8. Top Coat! After allowing your nail to dry for about 4 minutes, apply your favorite top coat and repeat on the rest of your nails.

The Water Marble technique did take a little practice to get the timing right the first few times, but the compliments you will receive on your nails make it totally worth it!

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  • Water Marbling Nail Design | Razberriez said:

    […] You can read the tutorial here. […]

  • Fire said:


    ALWAYS use purified water. You wouldn’t think there’d be enough in tap water to interfere with the polish spreading out, but there is.

    Be careful about “dropping” the polish. If you move too quickly, the polish will sink to the bottom of the cup instead of spreading out. You need to work quickly, but there’s enough time to not fling the polish at the cup from three feet away!

    If you can’t get the polish to drip off the brush, don’t shake it! Bring the brush closer to the water. It will “pull” the polish off.

    NEVER use old polish. You know how it gets thick when it’s old? That won’t work for this, it will muck up the water.

    Even if you follow the instructions you’ll be leaving bits of polish behind on the water, which will hinder the polish spreading out next time. After every 2-3 nails drip polish onto the water, spread to the edges of the cup and let set for 10-15 seconds. Use a toothpick to scoop it up (it will be a thin film) and you’ve got clear water again.

    If you find the dipping-the-nail thing confusing (and some places have really confusing descriptions) you can also put your finger into the water in a clear spot, position it under an area you like, and just lift straight up. It works just as well, though you may have to tape off more of your finger.

  • heather (author) said:

    Thanks for all the helpful tips, Fire!!

  • breanna said:

    great tutorial, and awesome tips Fire!

  • dana said:

    Very, Very Cool!

    Can’t wait to try it!!!

  • Lindsey said:

    I tried to do this but it didn’t work because I had tried it with older nail polish. I tried it again today with new polish and it worked perfectly. I love the way they look

  • Marbled Nails… uh, nailed it? | CraftFail said:

    […] (or just burgers and nails together), Super Mario, or even nail art tutorials like the very popular marbled nails technique. inspiration image: […]

  • ssword4Jesus said:

    Can you tell me what temperature is considered to be room temperature? My house remains on the cold side. I heated water in the microwave and managed to get one nail to work, but the rest would not work properly and we could not make swirls in the polish without picking up all the polish like is done in the last step. It just wanted to stick to the sharpened pencil that we were told to use from another tutorial.
    Thanks for your help.
    GOD Bless

  • heather (author) said:

    @ssword4jesus, I always think of “room temperature” to be about 70-72 degrees F.

  • irinaaa said:

    Instead of trying to do this blind, check out Collete’s YouTube channel (http://www.youtube.com/user/SimpleLittlePleasues). She does an amazing job, talks about different polishes to use, and has basic tips for cleaning and creating marbled looks.

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