Thursday, December 11, 2014

Lesson Lockdown: How To Create Watermarble Nail Art Like A Pro!

Yo stamp champs,

Welcome back to the classroom!  This post is for a lovely lady Cheryl who just wants to watermarble her little heart out, and I want to help her achieve her goal.  Ok so here's the deal - many many ladies hate watermarble nail art.  They groan, cry, and throw up their hands in defeat when they even see the word.  In fact you could say in the 31 day nail art challenge the watermarble has driven some women to the depths of despair.  Well I say despair no longer because it really isn't that bad.  In fact with the right polishes and the right attitude I'd say it's downright FUN! And as you know recently I have been doing more and more watermarbles because like a language the skills of successfully creating watermarbles gets rusty if you don't use them regularly. So here we go....

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1.  The first step to success is to know your water.

Personally I used to watermarble in filtered water all the time then I kind of realized, as a scientist, filtered water is not that different from tap water when it comes to the components and most filters won't eliminate certain things from your water without special processing.  In other words unless you live in an area where you have hard water I really don't see the point in filtering your water for the art.

2.  Room temperature damn it!

This is probably the most important factor in determining your success in watermarbling.  Not hot. Not cold.  But room temperature water.  Here's how I do it especially in the winter.  I let the water run on warm for a bit.  I don't trust that the water sitting in the pipes won't come out first so I want the fresh stuff.  Once I fill my cup I let it sit. Usually around 20-30 minutes by which point it has hit room temperature.  Yay! Now I'm ready to do this darn thing!

3. Test your polishes!

This is probably the 2nd most important step is creating a successful watermarble.  I believe I've said it on my Instagram account multiple times, if you don't test to make sure your polishes spread in the water you're gonna have a BAD TIME.  Every single polish you use needs to be tested for spreadability in the water.  Some brands such as Essie and China Glaze tend to be more friendly toward watermarbling and others less so (Orly).  You can try adding a bit of polish thinner to you polish in order to facilitate the process, but you can only do so much.  If the polish isn't going to marble usually no amount of polish thinner will help you out.

Troubleshooting Tip #1 - First drop doesn't spread all the way out.

Not a problem! Simply take a wooden stick or q-tip and drag it around the edge of the cup.  The polish will spread out and follow, but don't forget to be quick!

4.  Set up everything so that you are ready to marble!

It's all in the prep darlings!  That means loosen up the tops to your polishes so that they are ready to go.  Line them up in the order of the colors you are using.  Have q-tips and wooden sticks ready by the wayside as well as your needle for creating the pattern.  Have some paper towel ready for cleanup as well.

5.  Put down a base color to prepare for the watermarble and tape off your nails or put on liquid palisade or liquid vinyl or Vaseline or whatever just get your nails ready for dipping.

This is clearly self explanatory.  I mean you are trying to ease the process of your clean up.

6.  Build your bullet and create your pattern.

You can always use Youtube or Google as a means finding a pattern if you don't already have one in mind.  There's lots to choose from but if you are new to watermarbling I'd keep it simple. I put a recent tutorial from my Instagram up but remember there are LOTS of ways to create a watermarble pattern you just have to look around :)

Troubleshooting Tip #2 - My pattern gets all messed up when I drag the needle through.

Clean up your needle! When you start to see goop wipe it off on the paper towel.  Remember you want to keep you lines thin and in order to do that you need to keep your needle clean.

7.  You need to be Speedy Gonzales.

Just like when you stamp your nails and speed is pretty important the same applies to watermarble nail art.  The polish starts drying from the outer ring inward and the slower you move the more the polish will dry.  So move your butt!

Troubleshooting Tip #3 - My whole pattern gets ruined as soon as I begin to drag.

Your outer ring is likely dried.  Avoid it and start dragging into your design 2 or 3 rings out from the first outer ring.  This will help trust me!

8.  Find your perfect pattern and dip your nails.

Once you find the spot that will look great line up your nails and dip them into the water.  Nails downward darlings and nice and slow.

9. Use a q-tip to clean up any extraneous polish floating on the surface.

Um also self explanatory.  You can blow on the water to speed up the clean up.

10.  Remove your nails (uh from the water).

Slowly withdraw your fingers from the water and flick them once out to remove excess water droplets.  You can also use the edge of a paper towel.

11.  Clean up and topcoat and there you have it!

Perfect watermarble nails. Who'd a thunk it?

So I hope this helped some of you out there struggling with this.  Everyone is different and eventually you will find what works for you as long as you don't quit.  Remember it will be worth the frustration when you finally get it right especially the first time.


  1. Thanks for a great post! I really want to go home and do some marbling now :)

  2. You're welcome and please do! Let me know how it comes out :)


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