Saturday, September 15, 2012

30 Day Challenge Day 15-Delicate Print. Water Marble and Tutorial

Hi guys, so tonight I have a gorgeous water marble for you.  Now normally I am pretty happy with my mani's.  This one I am thrilled with.  Please don't think I am being cocky, because I am not.  Everything just worked out really well with this one.  The polishes played nice and they spread just like mama wanted them to.  I hope you like it as much as I do.  Since I love you all so much, I will do a little tutorial after the pics since a lot of people have asked for one, and I'm just sweet like that...



Pretty huh?  It's delicate which is exactly what I was going for but it's still super fun!  I used Milani A Rose My Lady and OPI My Boyfriend Scales Walls.  I was on the fence with the Milani.  Old lady mauve or super awesome pretty mauve.  Yeah, super awesome pretty mauve.  The OPI polish I almost didn't get because I looked at it thinking I had plenty of white polish.  This is anything but a typical white polish.  It looks as if someone put one little drop of grey in a white polish, shook it up and out popped this baby.  I am IN LOVE with this color.  I always feel like white is so harsh, and this is just what I was needing.  It's white with the edge taken off, if that makes any sense.  Everyone needs this polish.  I bought 2 backups and they will most certainly get used. 

Ok, tutorial time...

Now this is going to be very detailed.  It's not because I think you all lick the bus windows, it's because I think it will help. I have seen tutorials in the past where they give you the basics but leave out very important details that are vital to success especially if you have tried previously and failed or are attempting something for the first time. So please don't take this as an insult.
Secondly, this is how I marble...that's not to say it's the best way but it's the best way I know.  I hope this helps you guys....
What you will need:
A cup...I'll give more details on this later.
2-5 Polishes...I recommend 2-3 to start.  Any more than 5...Godspeed.
1-2 bottles of ROOM TEMP water
Tape or vaseline/chapstick.  More on this later.
Small brush for cleaning cuticles
Small pair of scissors, I use the kind that come with an eyebrow grooming set.  But any small ones will work.
Tweezers or cuticle clippers.  Again, more on this in a bit.
Thick topcoat.  You all know I love me some Seche Vite.
Now for the fun stuff...
This is what my area looks like right now, don't laugh...I love my nail table and she loves me back!
  • Fill your cup a little more than half way with your bottled water.  I use an old won ton soup container but anything relatively small will work.  Don't use anything you are worried about getting dirty.  In other words, leave grandma's china alone. Set aside while you prep nails.  I find that this helps the water if it's not quite room temp.  Every little bit helps!
  • Paint your nails with 2 coats of white polish or something very similiar.  Some people like to use the lightest color out of the polishes they are marbling with. I don't recommend this because your marble will not be as bright.  Using white or something very close to white helps the design to look nice and bright, no matter what colors you are using for your design.
You don't have to worry about clean up now, we will do that after we marble.
  • Take one piece of tape and wrap it around your finger under the cuticle.  I left this one up at the edge so you could see how I applied it.
  • Put your second piece of tape the opposite way starting on one side of the nail and going up and around the inside. Some people like to use vaseline or chapstick.  I like tape but it's up to you.  I only use chapstick if I am using a color I know stains.  Tape is nice because you can see where it is and you know what area is covered.  With Vaseline or Chapstick, you are kind of blindly hoping you covered the whole finger tip. Again, your call.


Again I left it up so you could see how I did it.
Open all of your polishes now.  Make sure you have them close to your cup but still have room to work.  I have knocked many bottles over with a finger stuck in water.  Not fun!
  • Make sure your polishes are somewhat full.  If you are working with polish that is less than half way full, you will spend half of your time tilting the bottle and believe me it is a real PITA.
  • Drip 1 or 2 drops of polish into the center of your cup.  You want to be very close to the surface of the water but not touching it. If you are too far away the polish will drop to the bottom of your cup. I usually use 2 drops per color unless I am using white or a very dark color.  They will hog the design if you use too much and your finished product will be 90% of your white/dark and 10% of your other colors.

This probably wasn't the best photo to use.  Usually you will have many more circles of color.  My pink polish was being greedy and taking up all the room.  This is just something you have to figure out with trial and error depending on how well the polishes spread for you.  A normal marble would be about 10-15 circles of different colors.
  • Once you have reached the center of your bullseye take a toothpick and GENTLY begin to make designs in your bullseye.  I start at the outer edge and work inward, but a lot of people start at the center and work out toward the edges of the cup. Either way is fine, depending on the look you are going for.  I find it easier to make the flower petal design when you start at the outer edge and pull in toward the center.

  • Find a spot in the design that you like.  Dip your finger into that area.  You want to do it somewhat fast but not like a crazy person.  If you do it too slow you will mess up the design.  You want to do it fast enough that your finger glides into the water without really making any "waves".  Again, this is trial and error.

  • Don't touch the edges or the bottom of the cup.  BE CAREFUL! Doing the ring finger is the hardest one for me.  You can see how I have my other fingers out over the cup.  Get into a comfortable position.  If you touch any part of the cup with that nail you will be cursing and starting over. 
  • Take a q-tip and while blowing gently on the remaining polish on the surface of the water, gather up whatever is left polish wise.  Make sure you get everything because whatever is left in the water is going to end up on your nail when you pull it out.  I spin the q-tip like a crazy woman, it helps to get it up in one giant swipe.
  • Pull your finger gently and slowly out of the water once you are sure no polish is remaining on the surface.  There may be tiny bits you can't get out...just make sure they aren't in the area where you are pulling out your finger.  I always swish the water gently with a toothpick or q-tip right in front of where I am pulling out just to be sure there is no polish waiting to destroy my pretty design.

This is what you will have when you are done.
  • Take your scissors and cut, again GENTLY, the long area of tape on the inside of your finger.  If you applied your tape correctly, the whole upper backside of your finger will be covered with tape.  Once this is cut, take your cuticle clippers or tweezers and take your tape off.
  • Clean up your cuticles with acetone or nail polish remover and a small brush.  I use a tiny eyeliner brush.
  • Wait at least 5-10 minutes before top coating.  I usually do my entire hand before I even begin to think about top coat.  You WILL smudge your design if you do it too soon.

And here is our finished product...

I really hope this helped you guys out.  I know marbling can be really tricky.  But once you get it, it's so much fun!  If there are any things you are unsure of leave me a comment and I will do my best to answer it for you.  Again, I am no pro, I just love marbling and the above method is what works for me.
Finally....check out the other lovely ladies participating in the Dodgeball Without Breaking a Nail World Championship, um 30 Day Challenge.





  1. You know what? It never occurred to me to remove the polish from the water BEFORE I pulled out my nail. No wonder it always looks like a damn mess. I think I am actually going to give water marbling another try because of this. I hope that little tip changes my water marbling life. Thank you for that!! Your water marbles always look pretty and this one is especially delicate and lovely. "lovely" is the best word I can think of to explain it. I love it.

  2. Well I love YOU N2!! I hope it does help u. See, it's the little things!! Try it again!! That's a big step u were missing. Pics please!! Xo

  3. Thank you for the tutorial, babe!

  4. What a great tutorial and your marbling is beautiful!! Think I may need to give the water marbling a whirl :D

  5. Bah! Great tutorial, I've never gotten a great water marble. I love the pink and white!

    <3 sammi

  6. Your water marbling skills are amazing!
    I've nominated you for a Liebster Award! See my post here:

  7. Awesome tutorial, I may actually work up the nerve to try this now! Thanks! One question, when you did your finger into the cup, do you lay the nail flat on top of the design or do you actually, like, dip your whole fingertip into the water? Does that make sense?

    1. I just saw this honey-I'm sorry! I dip the entire finger down into the water. You have to have it below the surface for when u clean up the excess polish off surface. Dip at an angle just slightly and down into the water about an inch or so. Good luck!!

  8. Wow, great tutorial! Thanks so much for the hard work. A great help for day 4 of the Lazy 15 as I've never done a water marble before =)

    Just to let you know the tab-link on your home page didn't work for me, seems the : is missing between http and //.

  9. Hi Nicole!
    I'm a new follower and LOVE your blog!
    I couldn't find a way to send you a private message, so I type here (and you can delete this comment). I noticed that the links to water marble tutorial, dotting tutorial and stash don't work (at least for me). The problem is that all of them start with http// (or https//) when it should be http:// (https://) or you can omit the http and both slash symbols all together, in case you decide to change the links.
    Have a great day!