A shade of the dramatic, where different is all there is.

The Art of Nail Marbling

I hope everyone had a very Merry Christmas!  And if you don’t celebrate Christmas than I hope you had a very merry whatever you celebrate.  🙂

About a week before Christmas my fiance was blindsided by his best man and a groomsman and whisked away to Vegas for a surprise bachelor party.  He thought they were going to Mt. Tremblant in Quebec for a fun, but simple get away.  He had an hour to repack his bag and they were off to the airport.  Pretty amazing of them!  And I couldn’t have been happier for him.  Having known about this all along, I made plans to head to Montreal and stay with the Best Man’s girlfriend.  It’s only a two hour drive from Ottawa, so I grabbed a girlfriend of my own and we were off to have a girls weekend.  For any guys reading this….no, we didn’t strip down and have a pillow fight in our underwear.  We did our nails, we went shopping, played with makeup, went out to a movie and we hung around playing Super Mario Bros.  (all fully dressed)

I brought my nail kit and the four of us girls marbled our nails.  Even though this technique is all over the internet and I mean ALL OVER, there are still people that haven’t heard of it or seen it before.

Nail Polish Collection

So needless to say the four of us girls had a lot of fun, made a mess and ended up with beautiful nails in the process.  Let me show you how to venture into the world of nail marbling.

  • First, you want to select 2-4 different nail polishes that you want to use.  Depending on your selections, it might be wise to paint your nails with a white base to get the lighter colours to really show.  But if you have selected all dark colours, this step isn’t necessary.First step of Nail Marbling
  • Then, you will want to tape your fingers with scotch tape (not covering your nail) about one third of the way down.  This will allow you to take off the tape once you have dunked your fingers and very little cleanup will be required.  You can also use vaseline on your finger (again, not covering your nail) and wipe this off afterwards for a similar result.  I find both methods equally messy though, so this comes down to personal preference.
  • Cut the bottom off of a water bottle to use as a disposable cup.  Fill with cool water.
  • Shake your colours well and loosen all of the caps.  Make sure you have toothpicks nearby and lay down some paper towel or newspaper in the area you are going to work.
  • Begin by dropping in one drop of nail polish into the centre of the water.  (Do not drop from too high otherwise it will sink as a ball right to the bottom)
  • Inside that circle, drop in the next colour, and the next, and the next.  Repeat until you have several rings of colour.

Nail marblingNail marbling

  • Then you want to take a toothpick and starting at the second ring from the outside, drag inwards.  Repeat around the circle, creating whatever design you like.
Nail marbling designNail marbling design
  • Now, either using a taped or vaseline covered finger, you are going to dunk it in the water.   You want to be specific about where you dunk it.  Your nail will show with the specific pattern you press it into.  You can even do two fingers at once if your pattern allows for it.
  • Hold your finger in the water and using your other hand and the toothpick you want to swirl the toothpick in the water picking up the rest of the skinned nail polish (if you don’t do this, when you pull out your finger the skin might fall on top of your nail ruining it).

Nail Marbling

  • Once the area around your finger(s) is clean, pull your finger(s) out of the water.  (Both of the other girls  used vaseline, in the third picture you can see that I used tape)
  • Nail MarblingNail MarblingNail Marbling
  • Then you simply remove the tape/wipe off the vaseline.  You will likely need to do some cleanup around the nails (and knuckles if you dunked in past the tape/vaseline).  I recommend using Q-Tips with nail polish remover for this.
  • Nail Marbling

Nail Marbling

  • A look at the finished product:
Nail Marbling

Nail Marbling

Nail Marbling

Tips to Keep in Mind

  1. Don’t expect to have this go perfectly the first time, it takes practice.  Expect to redo a couple of fingers.
  2. Try different temperatures of water if you are having a hard time getting the colours to expand into the large circles (generally you will want to make your water colder).
  3. If some colours just aren’t expanding, try swapping one of them out for a different choice.  I’ve found that some just don’t want to work in the water.  (If you are wanting to use very bright or neon colours, make sure your water is very cold – if it is too warm, they will dry too quickly and won’t work at all.)  I’ve had the most success with rich metallic colours.
  4. Let nails sit for a long time before applying a top coat.  And when you go to apply the top coat, apply minimally with very little pressure otherwise it will cause the colours and lines in your pattern to bleed.
  5. Your nails should last 4-5 days before they begin to start chipping.

Now get out there, have some fun, grab a girlfriend and try this at home!  Prepare yourself for compliments, everywhere you go people will be wondering how you did your nails and if you had them airbrushed.  Enjoy!!



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16 responses

  1. Oh whoa, this is way nice! I heard about it a while ago and I have watched some tutorials, but I’m just too lazy to give it a go lol. It must be nice to have girlfriends who are also into makeup/nail art! I don’t really have any lol

    December 27, 2011 at 1:38 pm

    • Sunny, you have everyone on here who follows your blog! I would love to see some pictures!!!!

      December 27, 2011 at 1:55 pm

  2. Samira

    I have already see this video on youtube, but now I’ll try!! 🙂

    December 27, 2011 at 2:37 pm

  3. I have been watching nail marbling youtube vids and haven’t properly tried it out yet 🙂 I should now! Thanks for visiting my blog 🙂


    December 27, 2011 at 2:40 pm

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  6. kassia

    that is amazing!

    January 6, 2012 at 2:54 am

  7. Glad you liked the post ladies! I would love to see your nail marbling creations!!

    January 6, 2012 at 12:51 pm

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