Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Water Marble: Tutorial, Tips and Tricks

Today's post is all about water marbling. This was the first nail art I ever tried and I will be honest. I sucked at it. It took me a few months to even want to attempt it again. Since then I have learned quite a few things about water marbling that I thought I would share since I've gotten a lot of questions about it lately. These are all going to be things I've picked up from others and things I've learned along the way. I hope this will help answer some of the questions I've gotten. Warning: This is going to be as detailed as I can get it with quite a few pictures. This will be a 2 part blog post. Part 2 will be all about water marble designs. Look for that over the next week or so.

My Supplies:
Acetone-For cleanup
Old nail polish remover lid- For cleanup, used for the acetone
White Polish- Any that you are comfortable with
Paper cup- It does not have to be paper, thats just what I use
Cuticle Stick- For the marble process
Toothpick- For cleaning up the polish in your cup
Tape- To help with cleanup
Polish Remover- For close up cleaning afterwards
Cotton Balls- For cleanup that your tape does not prevent

You don't have to use the same supplies that I use. Use whatever works best for you. This is just what works for me. Everyone is different.

Bottled Water VS Tap Water

When I first started I thought a lot of my problem was the type of water I was using. I had seen everywhere that you must use bottled or filter water. NOT TRUE. Don't let anyone tell you that you cant use tap water. Two things I will point out however. One, bottled water does work better but IS NOT needed. Also, if you decide to use tap water, fill your cup the night before and just let it sit out.

 Polishes Used are all Pure Ice: Show Stopper, Black out and Drive me crazy
Here you can see the difference. The picture on the left is using bottled water. No there is no color difference when using bottled water vs tap water, my twins just thought it would be funny to make shadows as mom was taking pictures and I was to hot to argue or retake the 2nd picture. Lol gotta love 7 year olds. The picture on the right is using tap water that has sat overnight. Sorry about the messiness. I've used this cup several times. You can see that the picture on the left (bottled) spreads to the edge of the cup while the picture on the right (tap) does not. No big deal. Take your cuticle stick at the edge of your design and drag a little to the edge of the cup. I get the same results when using both bottled and tap water.


Typically it does not matter what polish brand you use for water marbling. I've used the cheaper brands from L.A. Colors to more expensive brands like OPI. Any brand that I have used has worked. There are different types of polishes that will not work but I will get to that further down. Below I will show you how polish spreads with 4 different brands of polish. Click image to see polishes used.

The top left hand picture looks different because in some designs it requires drawing from the center to one side and from the center to the other side. That will be more discussed in Part 2 of this post.

Some polish types (not brands) WILL NOT work for marbling such as glitters and mattes. If you can prove me wrong on this please feel free to. I have gotten neither one of these types to work and would love to see it, if possible. Below is a picture showing how well, or not well matte polish spreads. Shimmer polishes may or may not work. I've had some that do and some that don't.
Sorry for the ugliness of this picture. They are actually very pretty polishes, by themselves that is. As you can see the first few rings spread very well, but as we get to the center of it, it stops. I think this has to do with how fast a matte polish dries but I could be wrong. An alternative to marbling with mattes would be after finishing you marbled nails, use a matte top coat. Problem solved, except not being able to use the matte color itself.

Long nails VS short nails

You do not need long nails to water marble nor do you need short nails. Below I will show you a comparison between the two. The long nails version is on an acrylic nail that I glued to a toothpick. The short nail version is on my own nails.

Darn, time to take a break. I thought I had all my images prepared and apparently I dont have these two pictures combined. Now I could have just continued on with the post and you would have never known that this happened, but what fun would that be. So how about you take a short break with me right after you finish reading this paragraph. As long as you come back and finish reading. Lol. We are almost done.

As you can see you get a little more of the design on a longer nail but you can still achieve pretty close to the same look on shorter nails. For this design I used the Wet N Wild Polished above in the spreading section of this post. Click the image to get a better look.

For this one, which was actually my favorite of the bunch, I used all L.A. Colors polishes. Again refer to the spreading part of this post for polishes used. I love this color combination so much that I left them sitting out to use them again.
This design is using the Sinful colors polishes listed above. If you scroll back up to the spreading section you will see there is a shimmer polish in the very center of the bulls eye of this one. That polish does not show up in this design which is why I excluded the name.
For the last design I used OPI and Nicole by OPI. These polishes work great however I dont own many of them, so the colors I used didn't show very well. You can see the colors I used above.

Tips and Tricks

  • When taping my fingers to help with cleanup, I wait to tape them until I have my design ready. Right before I dip my finger is when I put the tape on because with the specific tape that I use, once its on for a few minutes as soon as it hits the water my tape seems to gum up on me when I remove it. This may not be true for all tape as this is the only tape I've used so far. Unless you are dipping multiple fingers at once then I would tape before you make your design.
  • After you dip you finger and clean the polish off the surface of the water, give your finger a little shake, without hitting the side of the cup. This will remove MOST water bubbles.
  • I've had a lot of success using Pure Ice nail polish, however, as stated above any polish that I've tried has worked. During the making of this post I actually tried Wet N Wild for the first time in marbling and it works pretty good too. My favorite to use so far has been Pure Ice.
  • I forgot to mention above that the purpose of the white polish listed in my supplies is to use as a base to make your colors more bold.
  • Another thing not mention. I do not use my cuticle stick to clean up the surface because I want to keep that stick as clean as possible to get the best lines. You don't want to gunk up your design stick and have big thick lines in your design. Which is why I use a tooth pick for cleanup.
Water marbling will take some practice and some failures. I wish I would have kept pictures from when I started to share with you here, but I got so frustrated with it that they were all deleted.

Please feel free to share any of you water marbling pictures with me on my Facebook page, Polished By Audison 

I would love to see any and all. The good, the bad and the ugly. Hehe. Also if you have any question feel free to contact me on my Facebook page above.

I will be making a 2nd part to this post as stated at the beginning of this. It will focus mainly on water marble designs, since there are probably more than I've even tried. I will also add anything there that may have been forgotten here or asked about in the time between this post and the next.

Thanks for sticking with me and I hope this helps even just one person. I've spent about 5 hours on just the marbling and taking pictures and I've now spent almost 3 hours on editing pictures and typing all this up. Enjoy.

1 comment:

  1. I just use regular scotch tape and I've never had the gumming issue you mentioned. I wouldn't personally want to wait to tape them because I'd worry about the polish drying on the water surface before I could get my finger in. Great post though!