Tag Archives: water marble

#31DC2013 – Water Marble (catch up)

Don’t worry, I’m not going to spam you with all the catch-up I’ve got ūüėČ I’ll spread it out over the next week!

So here are my water marble nails, that I didn’t post yesterday since I fell asleep early. I know a lot of people don’t like to do water marble nail art, because it’s so messy. Actually, I kind of love it because it’s so messy! And recently, I found some masking fluid (basically liquid latex) in a local craft store. It seemed pretty non-toxic (it’s made for kids) and more sturdy than PVA glue, so I grabbed some, and used that to mask my cuticles. It works so well! But, well if you follow my Instagram, you’ll see that I got a bit carried away, and basically marbled my whole hand…. Never mind, it came out great after clean up!

31DC2013 - Water Marble Continue reading

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Nail Art – Glittery Tips & Water Marbles

Recently my little sister has been so kind as to offer her¬†services¬†to test/critic some pre-painted tips for me – she’s so good to me !

My mum says she’d like to do some test runs too, but as she has a busy (and artistic) lifestyle, the long tips I send to my sister are no use to her. So I’ve glittered up a couple of short sets for her. These are very simple, but took ages¬†:


While I was at it, I decided to water-marble a set of long tips for my sister. I used China GlazeLinger and For Audrey :

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Picture Tutorial – (Dry) Water Marbling

Well, I think it’s about time I did a tutorial ! I’m sorry that this has been so long coming, work has been really crazy, and I wanted to take the time to get this right =o)

I prefer the ‘dry’ water marble technique, as opposed to a ‘wet’ water marble, where you tape around your nail and put your nail (or several nails, if you’re not scared of making a mess) directly into the marbled polish.

A ‘dry’ water marble means that you transfer the pattern onto a sheet of film (I use high quality sandwich bags cut into pieces) and let it dry. I prefer this method as I find it less messy and wasteful, but it does take longer, as you’re allowing for drying time.

This tutorial includes 2 videos, I did the more complex pattern first, but a simpler pattern is also here, to show you the different possibilities.

Both marbles are just with two colours Рboth Barry M РI used Grey and Red, so that you can see the contrast easily.

Not all polishes will marble, more about that in a dedicated post !

You will need the following :


  • Spring Water – this provides more reliable results than tap water, which varies not only from region to region but also from day to day. I recommend you go with room-temperature water
  • a¬†Small Dish¬†– I use a dish that is about 12cm/5 inches across. Too small, and you’ll find it fiddly, but a large dish will need more polish. I find that my dish is just the right size because it allows spreading space whilst still containing the polish quite well
  • you’re best off keeping your¬†Nail Polishes to hand, too !
  • Cotton Pads – I highly recommend the non-fluffy kind that you can get in professional stockists. Failing that, any cotton pads will do
  • A¬†Dotting Tool¬†– the finer the tip, the better. A needle could be used, but I guess it is shorter. I have heard of people using toothpicks, but personally I find the rough surface can ‘catch’ and make a mess
  • Cotton buds – very handy for clearing up !

I will post the videos¬†separately¬† as I don’t want to overload anyone with bad bandwidth or on a mobile device… But¬†I’m not pretending that I’m any good at videos – especially one-handed!

1. Fill your dish two-thirds with water. Unscrew the polish bottle tops, as you will need to work fast !

2.Pop a drip of your first colour into the water :


3. Then your second colour, right into the centre of the first (which should be spreading across the surface of the water :

4. As I’m only using two colours, I’ve gone back to the first colour. Up to you if you want to keep adding colours or go for a simpler look !

5. … And so on…

In this tutorial you can see that I have added a lot of drops of the colours. This means that the pattern will be more complex, the ‘stripes’ won’t be as wide. It also means that the polish will be slightly thicker on the surface of the water and won’t dry as fast, which is easier for tutorials. My second video is a version with less ‘hoops’ to the¬†bulls-eye¬†pattern. You can see that the effect is a little different, but this can also be really stunning!

6. When you have added enough drops to the water, you can grab your dotting tool/toothpick/needle – quickly, but without knocking everything over! Drag it through the pattern, without touching the first few circles around the edge (which will have dried – you may see them wrinkle slightly as you disturb the surface of the water – that’s¬† how you know which ones not to touch). I like to start in the middle of the pattern and work towards the edge :

7. Wipe clean (that bit is important !) and keep going with the dotting tool/needle/toothpick until you have created something that you like. Don’t get too crazy with it, or you will end up mixing all of the colours, and you could have done that without the bowl of water !

This is where dry water marbling gets a little different. With a classic water marble, you tape up your cuticles and dip your (or your client’s) finger (or several fingers, if you dare !) into the pattern to transfer it onto the nail. As you can imagine, that can be a bit messy! The dry version will also allow you to place the pattern more easily, and to avoid using parts of the pattern that are messier, whereas the classic water marble can be more hit-and-miss (especially at first!)

8. For a dry water marble, take a piece of sandwich bag (or something similar) and gently dip it into the water to pick up the design. Some sandwich bags have a tendency to curl, so you might want to slide a piece of card or plastic in them (or tape them to pieces of laminate, for example), to avoid making a mess).

9. Like me, you may get a few surface bubbles :

10. You can dab these off gently with a cotton bud, but in my experience only the biggest ones will show up when the nail is dried.

11. Leave your pattern to dry. It should be completely dry, not the slightest bit tacky.

You can prepare these sheets and keep them for a few days, but I have found that they can go flaky if kept too long, so you might want to keep them in a Ziploc bag.

Then, when you are ready to transfer it to your nail, you can either paint your nail with your base colour and transfer the paint from the water marble onto the tacky surface, or – I have learned – it can be better to transfer it as if it were a foil. Of course, if you don’t have foil glue to hand, the wet nail polish strategy will probably be fine.

Happy marbling!

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Water Marble – Video 1

My first video/tutorial for this blog – water marbling with 2 Barry M Nail Paints (Grey and Red).

This is the ‘complex’ water marble that I used for my picture tutorial. A ‘simpler’ version is in another post – submitted on the same day – so that you can see a slightly different effect.

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Worth the Effort?

This is an idea I’ve been wanting try for a while… Marbled French tips.

A while ago, I decided to prepare a few marble sheets, using the dry water marble technique (not to be confused with the dry marble technique!). I have since discovered that, rather than using nail varnish to transfer the design, foil glue is much easier to work with.

This is the result :


This is a white Attitude varnish with E.L.F. mango madness and hot pink. The base colour is Stargazer and it’s all been sealed with a quick dry topcoat.

Sorry about the photo background, I’m on the train to work!

The thing is, although a dry water marble is a lot less messy than a wet one, the smile line is kind of messy, and I ended up with dry bits of varnish floating about everywhere. My other hand is a real nightmare! I could only do 2-3 nails at a time without going mad.

Although a dry water marble is a bit more hard-wearing than a regular foil, overworking a topcoat drags the design about horribly.

So, very time-consuming, and I don’t find the effect all that stunning – was it worth it?

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