Water Marbled Nails – 1st Attempt

Hey! So as promised, here is the documentation of my water marbled nails. I’ve known about the technique for years but have never been terribly interested in trying it. A prompt in my 365 creativity challenge said to “use only water as your medium/inspiration today”. Okay, I used nail polish too, but water was certainly entirely necessary for this “creation”. Perfect occasion to give it a go!

My workspace

Taking the plunge

Exciting first results

Hands done before getting cleaned up (really messy!)

Tape made the process a little bit neater

A day or two later and the cuticles are finally clean!

I love the unique patterns on each nail. Hard to pick a fav!

I got lots of comments about my thumb

Picking the color combo was my favorite part (Essie Bordeaux, China Glaze Awaken, and Zoya Penny)

This was my first time doing it, and I was happy with the results considering some of the horror stories online. I didn’t end up redoing any of the nails, so what you see it truly the first attempt.

I could use some practice making the patterns, but the whole thing was easier and more fun than I was expecting! Has anyone else out there attempted water marbled manis?

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7 Comments

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7 responses to “Water Marbled Nails – 1st Attempt

  1. LOVE IT. this is such a neat idea and they look awesome!

  2. How do you do that design? What is it that you are putting on your nails when you are dipping! I must have instructions I need to try this! looks amazing! Thanks so much for sharing, This is the coolest nail are Ive seen in a while I love how each nail is so different!

  3. Oh, sorry! There are countless tutorials available online, but basically you start with a light base color mani so that the thin layer of polish will show up better, then:
    1) Prep your nails either with tape around the cuticles and finger or with vaseline/cuticle oil so as to avoid polish sticking all over your fingers. (I taped one hand and marbled it, then after it was dry, taped and marbled the second hand.)
    2) Quickly drop a single drop of polish as close as possible to the surface of room temperature water, then drop another color directly in the center of the first drop and so on, for about 6-8 drops.
    3) Once you have a target looking circle of rings, you use a toothpick to lightly drag the colors together (start at the center and drag out). This will create all different cool kinds lines, swirls, stripes, etc. With some practice I’m sure you can get pretty specific results.
    4) Find a part of the design that looks good and then push your nail down through the pattern into the water.
    5) While your finger is still in the water, take a toothpick and drag/twist the excess polish layer off of the top of the water, making sure to clean the entire surface (anything left on top might glop onto your nail as you take your finger out).
    6) Take your finger out of the water and, if you used tape, carefully pull it off.
    7) Repeat with the rest of your nails, then clean up the excess polish on your fingers/cuticles (I scrubbed them carefully while in the shower).
    8) Admire your cool nails!
    It’s most safe to do a single nail/new set of polish rings every time. Once, I managed to get two fingers dunked at the same time and it was okay, but the design wasn’t as great on the second finger. Experiment and maybe it’ll work for you. Also, you have to work quickly because the thin polish layer will dry on the surface quickly, making it hard to pull and design with a toothpick.
    Phew! I think that’s it, for the most part. There are videos of it on YouTube if you want to watch someone do it! Good luck! Post pictures if you do it too. 🙂

  4. Lana

    Wow – nicely done, especially for your first try! Mine did not turn out quite so well, but I’m telling myself that’s because you’re already so practiced with nail art in general. 😉 Also, I found that some brands of polish dried much quicker so I couldn’t make designs in the water. I usually have a difficult time sitting still long enough for my polish to dry so I tend toward quick-dry polishes, but those aren’t very good for this project. A couple nice things about water marbling are that it uses much less polish so that’s economic, plus it dries faster! Anyway, thanks for sharing! Oh, and I just have to say that I like your step #8. =)

  5. Yeah, I’ve read different brands are easier to work with than others. Seems like every combination will yield different results! I used three different brands and had no problems; might have been a fluke. haha. And it’s funny you say this uses less polish, because I’m convinced it uses wayyyy more! There’s no way I would use 6 drops of polish on one nail if doing nails normally. 😉 I think this is a good use of colors you never wear. haha

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