Sunday, February 20, 2011

Water Marbling Tutorial

Today I had the pleasure of doing an amazing girl's nails. Her name is Crystal and she's a cutie patootie. She came over to get her nails done and when I asked her what she wanted, she said, "Something difficult." Now, when I think of difficult, I immediately think "water marbling." That is tough stuff. Let's just say Crystal was all about it.

We picked out our colors and got to work. I got out all the supplies:

I began with a coat of China Glaze Strong Adhesion Base Coat. I then taped off the nails so clean-up would be a lot easier (and it really helped).

Next, I added 2 coats of China Glaze's White On White.

Look at those pretty nails! Then, I began dropping nail polish into our water dish filled with room temperature water.

After the polish is in the dish, you have to work very quickly with a toothpick (or other tool of your choice) to create the design you like.

Then, as soon as you have the design you want to use (we used the left side of the design in the dish), you dip a nail right on top of it in the water. Once the nail is submerged, you use your toothpick to clean up the polish in the dish and around the nail by dragging the toothpick through it. Once all the polish is removed from the dish, you can remove your nail and voila, you have a cool nail design!

OK, and I'll admit... we had originally picked out these colors and did NOT like them (for today, anyway). Not only did we not like the first color combo... but we didn't like the whole first hand of color combinations. I counted the polishes we tried and it totaled 14 polishes we used to experiment with. Sheesh. It took a LOT longer than it should have because we just couldn't find a color combination that we liked.

We ended up going with China Glaze Four Leaf clover and China Glaze Strawberry Fields. Strawberry Fields dispersed so wonderfully in the water and it made for a super-fun water marbled mani. We topped each nail with China Glaze Fairy Dust, just for the extra glitz, and then finished it off with one coat of OPI RapiDry Top Coat.

It turned out so fun! It was a beautiful mani that looked so nice on her long nails! Here's our favorite nail out of all 10... the thumb:

Ta-Da! We were finished. And now, I'll be completely honest. With all of the trial-and-error of this mani, the messed-up nails that I made, the bottle of polish that I spilled all over the counter (Oops!), and just chit-chatting, this took about 2 and 1/2 hours. That's wayyyyy longer than I would ever normally spend on my own nails and wayyyyy longer than I had the patience for (it normally doesn't take that long, I promise... it should usually take 45-60 minutes). You can ask Crystal, I was a tad miffed in the end. But it was fun for a girl's day. I hope Crystal loves her new mani, and I hope you liked my first tutorial! Maybe I'll try a video one next time :)

p.s. If you live in the Boise area and want a super-fun custom mani by Annelise, email me or call me and we can get together!

*These polishes were each purchased by me at Sally Beauty Supply or Trade Secret.


  1. I can't imagine spending such a long time for a manicure and at the same time I understand that you had so much fun with it!
    The result is very beautiful, thank you for sharing your tips and tricks with us!

  2. Thanks Annelise! I had a great time and I LOVE my nails. Can't wait to come over again and try another design! :)

  3. That color combination is really great, I love the look with the added glitter too :)
    Nice work,
    Xx. S

  4. This turned out AWESOME and 2 1/2 hours is worth it for all the fun I bet you both had.

  5. The glitter coat is a really nice touch. I can't wait to work up the nerve to try this out!

  6. That's awesome! I've only done water marbling once upon a session before, but I need to get back into it. I guess I just have a hard time accepting that not every nail will be symmetrical!! haha

  7. certainly give 150% effort when doing a manicure!! Your customers must adore you. I love the final color combination :0)

  8. GingerKitty - You're so cute. I don't have customers... this is just for fun :) But THANK YOU... you make me feel so profesh!

  9. WOW! These came out so great! I can't wait to try my hand at water marbling!

  10. I attempted this today. It definitely takes a lot of time and practice to get it right so I will try again tomorrow! (And most likely the next day) But while I was struggling, I googled "Water marbling issues" to find a way to resolve the issue where the paint stays in place and doesn't disburse.(or sinks to the bottom!) Adding a couple drops of nail polish remover to the bowl and stirring it up REALLY helped before I did each nail. I wanted to make sure everyone knew that to save a little stress! :-)


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