Wednesday, March 14, 2012

I've Lost My Marbles!

Marbled Finger Nail Polish
     Em here, so we got an email from Ashley about fingernail polish marbling, we did it a few times in beauty school back in the day, and we'll there is a reason that everyone isn't wearing it. It.Is.Messy. The look itself is great, and can make for a fun fashion statement, however, it is messy, time consuming, and takes some practice. So here we are to break it down.

The Original Pin

Curtesy of Tumblr

The Pinstrosity

   We didn't quite get a full explanation of what happened here, but seeing as I have had these EXACT results I think I can explain what happened what went down...this is the general tutorial you will find on Pinterest...

     Looks simple enough is what you are thinking, well I can tell you this RIGHT NOW, this gal had HELP, Help I tell you, HELP! This is not a one person job, and they left out one VERY important supply, scotch tape. For this little project you will need a small dish filled with water, the different colored polish you like, and a safety pin, a pencil or something to create your marbled effect, a top and base coat and something like an orange wood stick to clean up the nails and nail polish remover.

Create your marbled affect by dripping one drop at a time of the different polish in your dish of water, the smaller the dish the better...drip the drops just like shown in the picture above, one inside another, in any shape, pattern, or various colors.

Then using your pointed object (pin, pen, pencil, orange wood stick what have you) drag through the water starting at the center and working your way out creating your marbled-ness.

 Then start by doing a base coat of polish on your nails because it makes the polish go on easier.

 Next doing one finger at a time(then dipping it in the marbled water) tape all around the nail, creating a tape "border" so that when you dip the finger, the extra polish comes off easy when you peel the tape off.

Next dip the finger by placing the nail bed parallel to the water so that it just grazes the top of the water. Take the nail out, slowly and with the tip of the finger raising from a 90 degree angle (with the water), to a 45 degree angle, pointing away from you(like you are shooing someone away).

 Let the polish settle just enough so that it becomes slightly tacky, then peel the tape off gently. This should allow for easy cleanup with your orange wood stick dipped in nail polish remover.

You should have an awesome marbled affect-ed-ness with little mess, and the tape should make ALL the difference. Another pointer is to use actual nail polish because it tends to be the right consistency to stick to the nail, rather than acrylic paint which usually ends up being too runny.

All in all you COULD do this by yourself ( coo dos (spelling?) to you ) but it would prove much easier if you had a friend to help you with the taping, and cleaning, seeing as most people aren't ambidextrous.

Try this out for yourself and let us know how it goes, from my experience it usually takes a few tries before it turns out, but once you get in the groove it becomes much easier. Happy Marbling!



  1. Another tip for doing this is to coat your fingers in a thin layer of vaseline, it makes the clean up very easy. I haven't tried marbling yet, but I do this for my DIY manicures all the time!

  2. I have don't this several times! I take a q-tip dipped in polish remover to remove the extra. And you have to remember to use a very light color as your base coat (white works best). I love the look and always get lots of compliments!!

  3. I did manage to do this with relative success, but you're right, it is very very hard.

  4. iv done this plenty of times. if the picture doesnt help, look up marble nails on youtube. there is a very good tutorial!

  5. I tried this after I saw it on Pinterest, the Youtube videos do help but DO NOT use Styrofoam cups. The nail polish somehow eats the cup away and you're left with water and polish spilled everywhere...

    1. Yikes!
      Plastic cups have worked great for me(traditional red plastic party cups work awesome) and I can just throw them away when finished, rather than cleaning up a nice glass.

  6. I've done this a few times, and it worked really good. I just want to say make sure you have all the fingers you want to marble, ready and taped. The nail polish dries quickly, so go fast. OH! And sparkly colors dont really work.

  7. Did the pin tell you to use FILTERED water? You have to use filtered water for this to work well, tap has too many mineral deposits in it.

    1. Water type has never mattered for me. Drinking fountain, public sink, home sink, bottled water, it all worked. The type of cup I used was a much bigger game-changer

  8. Instead of tape or Vaseline we used a cheap chap stick around the nail on our fingers, so the remover soaked q-tip wiped it off easily and none of the hassle of tape or Vaseline... makes it easy to do by yourself.
    -Amy W.

  9. I have done this before by myself and it worked really well. I did my base coat first, got my water set up. It is important to use room temperature water and I didn't have any problems using normal tap water. If the water is too warm or cool, the polish either dries too quickly or doesn't dry correctly. Next I taped the fingers on one hand. I basically taped to my middle knuckle because I discovered it made the clean up easier at the end. Then I got the polish set up in the cup. I stuck my finger on the design flat and pushed the nail under the water. Then you need to blow on the polish to dry what is left on the surface. I used a toothpick to twirl around the excess polish on the water and then pulled my finger out. I added more polish to my cup and did my entire hand, let the polish set for a few more minutes, and then I pulled the tape off. I then repeated with my other hand.

    1. I have done this many many times and for those of you reading, these tips are the best, along with the vaseline and chapstick ones.

    2. Water temp and type of water never mattered to me. Drinking fountain, public sink, home sink, bottled water.... Freezing cold or lukewarm.
      It's always been the type of cup and type of polish that changed how it turned out.

    3. Room temp water gives you more time before the polish sets up.
      Avoid cool drafts, a group of us did this and the girl sitting under the a/c vent had a lot of trouble with it.
      Don't forget to clean off the toothpick or pin you use to make the patterns, wipe it off every time. Dragging from the outer edge worked better for us than out from the center but it depends on the pattern you go for. Start or stop inside the last ring of polish, and work fast.
      If you have a bigger cup you can dip multiple nails at one time.
      As said above, while nail is submerged use a Q-tip or something to gather up the extra polish from the surface of the water. If you twirl a Q-tip in the water and get all of the extra there is MUCH less on your fingers to clean up.

  10. By the way the word you were looking for is "kudos". Kudos to you for this site!

  11. I've done this several times with much success . . . even with tap water. It seems to work better for me when the water is slightly warm. Also, I've noticed that certain brands of nail polish work better than others and some "don't play well" with others.

  12. an easier way is to use Vaseline on your finger and then the pain wipes right off your skin with a paper towel after dipping each finger. Just rub Vaseline around the skin then dip, make sure to get bottom of finger too.

  13. A few more tips:

    1. Make sure your base coat for the marble is totally and completely dry before dipping. I suggest doing it the day before to make sure it is solid.

    2. Certain brands of polish work better than others so test a few on top of water to see if they sink or float before committing to a design. OPI doesn't seem to work so well while Zoya seems to work really well.

  14. I think this looks really cool. I found a great video on that has full directions and shows you how to do the manicure (it even includes taping off your nail).

    The link is:

  15. Been there, had the mess! It looked so easy on pinterest. The pin I found didn't say anything about taping off the finger. What a mess. I also found you should not use metallic looking polish. Stick with opaque.

  16. I have tried this many MANY times and my nail polish will NOT spread out. It just stays in a little drop. I use filtered water at room temp and everything! I use the walmart ICE brand.(only brand i like) Do I need to go out and buy 8$ a bottle nail polish? I have been asking around for months and no one has an answer. thanks :3

    1. Haha no need for 8 dollar polish.
      My polish never costs more than 1.20$
      Some polish is thicker than others, some spreads easier. I've never been able to find a correlation between brands and types of colors. I just pick out my favorite colors, test them out in water, and play with the ones that work.
      If you've had a polish for a while, it may be a little drier, denser than new polish.
      I have some Walmart ICE brand, and have the opposite problem - it spreads too fast and thin, and becomes nearly clear.
      Expand your range of nail polish types.

  17. I haven't tried this (yet) but here's another tip I got from various You Tube tutorials. Not all the nail polishes work for water marbling. Basically, you will need a nail polish that, when dropped on the water surface, will spread nicely and fast. No spreading, no good. You only waste a drop of nail polish anyway, so no harm in trying I guess. As I said, I haven't tried this myself yet; but I thought I'd suggest anyway. I think that probably the pinstrosity in the photo was given by a "wrong" brand/color of polish; that didn't spread on the water and hence didn't stick to the nail... not sure, though.
    Good luck!

  18. I don't do my nails often, so when I do, I use this method. I use scotch tape, but have also used q-tips to spread vaseline on the flesh so I don't get paint all over the place. I've done this a lot and checked several sites to see what polishes work best and we all agree the best polish is the sparkly type (with tiny glitter or shimmer effect in them, not just plain color), they spread in the water better and don't glob onto the stick. It took me about an hour to try it the first time (I did it myself) and now I can do both hands in about 30 min or less. I also did this with my mom and found having two people much more hassle than 1. Good Luck and keep trying!

  19. I absolutely love water marbling. This is my favorite form of nail art. While it may be time consuming, it's still worth the look. I've always gotten tons of compliments on my nails.

  20. I do this on my own all the time... Chapstick on my fingertips around the nails prevents nasty fingers, and anything that gets elsewhere (and it will) can be removed with nail polish remover.
    The polish should be fairly opaque on its own - One or two coats and your nail is totally done.
    The water hasn't mattered for me - Public restroom, drinking fountain, my house sink, bottled water, they all work.
    It's the polish that has either glooped together or not.
    Some kinds just dont work, so you have to move on, even if the color is amazing.
    Others spread too thin, and need a few drops at a time to get the ring the right size.
    For the 'mixing' around of the polish to get the swirls, I use a mechanical pencil, with the lead clicked out about a half inch.
    Polish WILL dry on top of the water, so you have to drop it all in and put your fingers into it, within about a minute. If you use a fairly wide mug, you can fit all four fingers in at a time, and you only have to dip three times (Twice for each hand's fingers, then once more for both thumbs)
    If you let the polish sit too long, it'll dry and won't stick right, or will get goopy.
    Also, I get the polish to stick to my nails better by pressing my nails flat against the surface, then pressing down until they're submerged. I leave my fingers in the water for about five seconds before taking them out - it helps the polish cling.

    So yeah.

    Slick up your fingers (Avoid the nails!!!) with Chapstick
    Have some time to test out polishes for spreading-ness
    Be quick about dropping the polish in
    And quick to put your fingertips in.
    Let them dry completely BEFORE trying to remove any mess-ups.

    It takes a bit of practice, but super-cheap polishes work just as well as expensive ones - They're also less painful to screw up with.

  21. I had trouble with the tape trapping water bubbles under the polish. I found it easier to just clean up with a q-tip and remover. I also found that not all nail polish floated some sunk to the bottom, something in the water surface changes after the first couple times that makes it easier, make sure your water is not too cold, and you want to work quickly.

  22. If you coat your finger (avoiding the nail) in school glue your able to peel the extra polish off your finger


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