Friday, 18 May 2012

Nail marbling- my first attempt!

So, recently I stumbled across some videos by Simple Little Pleasures (click here) showing you how to nail marble, and I thought "that looks so simple"! It's such a great creative process where you layer nail varnishes onto the surface of water, swirl it into whatever design you want then dunk your finger into the layer of drying varnish to coat each nail. Sounds easy, right? WRONG. Not if you're me anyway. I can't show you the full finished article as the rest of my fingers still look like I've been painting the walls, but this gives you an idea of the desired effect.
This is not nearly as neat as some as I've seen online, but for a first timer, I think I did ok?! Ok so this is what you need:
An orange stick (manicure stick), a glass or cup you don't mind getting messy, sellotape to protect your fingers around the nail, whichever colours you want to marble. You need to first fill the cup or glass almost to the top with room temperature water. Bottled or filtered water works best to hold the varnish as it has no impurities. Then you carefully drop a single drop of the first colour onto the surface of the water. Now this is the magic bit, the varnish disperses outwards, creating a ring. You next need to put a drop of the next varnish into the centre and let it do the same thing. Keep going, alternating the colours until you have a bullseye effect. Then you take your orange stick and drag it lightly through the nail varnish to either pull through the rings, or just swirl around to create...erm, swirls, which is what I did. Then you position your finger (nail side down) over the pattern you want to capture and literally push your nail into the nail varnish film, dunking it under the water and clearing up the excess with the orange stick.This is the aftermath (this is the second piece of tissue as I covered the first one entirely!).
For the first attempt, I tried using ELF nail varnishes and for some reason they would not spread out like the others did so I would not advise using those! These are the shades I ended up using, and I had a base coat on which was a basic french manicure shade.
You can see just some of my collection in the background, but these are Nails Inc OMP! for Fabulous Magazine, OPI "Houston We Have a Purple", OPI "From A to Z-Urich", 17 "Twighlight Teaser" and Models Own "Lilac Dream". I quite like the idea of not quite matching shades coming together for marbling as it seems to be nicer on the nail. The OPI shades and the Models Own shades seemed to work the best for this nail art as their formulation is nice and creamy but not drying, whereas I found the 17 nail varnish started to dry too quickly, became gloopy and hard to work with. Here's another pic of a fairly neat nail to give you another wee look:
I have to be honest, between taping round your nails to keep the varnish off them, scooping out extra varnish with the stick, and accidentally covering my fingers in varnish, it was a complete faff. But I really quite like the design and feel like I've achieved something!! Have you ever tried to do this, and if so is there something I can do to make it easier? Much love xx


  1. Clever! I think it looks great, especially for a first attempt! Thank you for the you lovely comment on my blog :) x

  2. This is a really great attempt at water marbling! I tried it and I just COULDN'T make it work for the life of me. I think I've watched and read every tutorial on the internet but it just doesn't come out right when I do it :( xxx

  3. Thank you both!! Hmm Pickle what problems are you having? Apparently making sure the water is filtered and room temp is key, and the kind of nail varnishes definitely makes a difference. Sally Hansen polishes are meant to be really good for this xx


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