If you're new to the polish game and you haven't seen water marbling yet, just do a search on YouTube and you'll find loads of how-to vids to watch. I highly recommend vids dones by Colette of My Simple Little Pleasures. She makes water marbling look so easy and her designs are amazing. The marble I'm going to attempt is one I saw on her channel - Bright Water Marble Accent Nail Art.
I did some testing with the colors I had originally chosen but the pink and the orange were so close that it was hard to see the difference between the two. So I chose a darker, brighter pink.
The orange is Sun Kissed, the darker pink is Eva, So Bright, the lighter pink (and the one I won't be using) is Coral Reef, and the yellow is Pull Over. Below is the testing I did. All are with the lighter pink except for the one just to the left of the false nail that doesn't appear to have any marbling whatsoever.
I used a squishy stamper to pull the designs out of the water and onto the plate. Got the idea from an Instagram by Adventures in Acetone. She used a stamper to put water marble on her daughters toenails. Just another way of doing a marble look that doesn't require dipping your fingers in any water.
Ok, let's get started. The tools used are: tape (for taping around the nail to minimize cleanup); a 5 oz. paper cup - this just works best for me but you'll see some people using glass bowls that work pretty well for them; something to draw with - I used toothpicks but you can use anything with a small or pointed tip that will draw through the polish without breaking the design; paper towel or lots of tissue; room temperature, filtered water (this one is very important); nail polish; Q-tips, brush and acetone for clean up; lots of patience.
I also kept a bottle of clear nail polish at hand to help clean the water between dippings. Also, shake the polish bottles well and open them so that it's easier to do the dropping. Watch, though, that the polish isn't running off the brush. That will definitely ruin your planned design. The yellow was the main culprit for that in my case. I just kept a close eye on it before I pulled the brush completely out of the bottle.
The process is as follows: first, place tape on the skin around the nail to keep mess to a minimum but make sure the tape does not cover any part of the nail. I tried to take a picture of that but it came out too blurry. Colette has a good tutorial on nail taping on her channel, which is where I learned to do it.
Then drop colors into the water, one drop at a time, to make a bullseye. Forgot to take a picture of that part, sorry.
A brief word about water - I used room temperature, filtered water but some people have luck with tap water or bottled water or even distilled water. Some people even recommend heating the water. Don't know about that but I do know that cold water just will not work. You can experiment to see what water works best for you.
I then drew the design in the polish. Since the first rings will be mostly dry, you want to start drawing a few rings down from there. For the basic flower design, draw from the outside in, alternating opposite sides to keep the design straight, dip the tool into the water at the center then wipe it clean before you draw the next line.
This is what I drew for the left thumb. I dipped my thumb right into the middle of this, which gave me some narrow petals and lots of lines. But dipping in the very center is not necessary. You can dip anywhere you like the pattern best. The other three nails were dipped mainly at the sides where the petals were more full.
Be as quick as you possibly can so that the polish doesn't dry before you get the chance to dip your nails. Then dip in the nails - too hard to take a pic of this so...
Since I wanted control over what went on my accent nails, I dipped them individually but you can dip more than one - as many as your cup or bowl or whatever you've used will hold. Which means you can dip the entire hand at one time but make sure you're using a large enough vessel. Also, dipping all at once, you can't control what goes on the nail but it would be a good way to get some really random designs.
Before pulling your fingers out of the water, make sure to clean up as much of the excess polish on the surface as possible. Anything left on the surface might decide to stick to your design and you don't want that.
Once the surface is as clear as you can make it, slowly pull your fingers out and you should see the design that was in the water should now be on your nails. Still, what you see on the nail might different a bit from what you saw in the cup. This is what I ended up with.
Messy, right? But remember, there's tape in that there mess and once it's gone....
Thus the reason for tape. To remove the tape, I used a pair of scissors to carefully cut up the back so the tape could be removed in one piece without messing up the nail. I used a pair of tweezers to accomplish that so that I didn't mess anything else up in the process.
One hint, though, that I really wish I had thought of before I ever got started polishing. Get the tape bits already to go before any polish goes on the nails or you might mess up the ones you don't intend to tape.
Ok, after cleanup and some top coat, this is what my manicure looks like.
I ended up with some weirdness on my right thumb that turned out to be air bubbles that popped when I put on the top coat. That's why there's 'holes' in part of the design.
And the aftermath.
Don't worry if your first attempt turns out less than you expected. My very first water marble turned out like this.
Yeah. This was before I got a smart phone and an app I could actually focus but you can still see the design. It didn't turn out that badly, I guess, but it definitely wasn't what I had in mind on some of the nails. I don't remember the dipping sequence but I know I didn't do all nails at the same time. I think I did this with 2 or 3 dips per hand.
Thus ends my second attempt at water marbling. I am going to try some more throughout this month and eventually will do an entire manicure as water marble.
Gonna go admire my handiwork now. If you try this at home, let me know how yours turns out. You can post pics on the Ten Penny Nails Facebook page if you wish.
As always, thanks for reading and stay tuned.