Monday, July 19, 2010

Water marbling 101

This is for a lovely reader who emailed me to ask how to prevent/get rid of air-bubbles when water marbling. Well, there's no easy one-way-fits-all answer to this, but there are some small habits that I've adopted that work most of the time.
1. Find the right temperature for you water, this is tricky! Play around for a little while, you'll find it. Usually, it's near room temperature, I fill my cup up and leave it out for a little while before starting.
2. Find the perfect polishes. Some don't spread, some create air bubbles, some just aren't pigmented enough. It's not really a brand thing, it's really individual. I've had luck with a lot of Orlys but some SH Xtreme Wears work for me (Mellow Yellow) and some don't (Green With Envy). This is another field that you just really have to play around with.
3. Dip your nail straight in, clear away the residual polish then draw your nail straight out. Angles tend to cause bubbles for me.
4. This is my secret, really what I do to avoid bubbles: I blow on the nail right after taking it out. Please note, this isn't the kind of 'ooh I need this dry quick' blowing, I just give it one sharp breath of air to blow away all of the water sitting on the nail bed. It works for the bigger bubbles.
5. For smaller bubbles on less detailed designs I wait until the nail is 95% dry then I smush the design a little with the pad of my index finger. Once I've done that, I take a little bit of polish the color of the (now flat) bubble and fill it in. This looks very realistic once the top coat has been applied.
6. I breathe in and get over it. This isn't meant to be perfect and nobody but you will notice the smaller bubbles. I promise. It's okay, your design looks awesome! Rock it with confidence.

Now, this is my marble. I took one of the CC French collection light pinks (name doesn't really matter, there were like 3 of them), SH Mellow Yellow (which was my base color), and CC Take Me to Your Chateau and marbled them. The pink added just a hint of peach to the nail and the blue looked awesome. I had a bit of bubbling, but I used my own tips and the mani looks great.


  1. This turned out great! Love the yellow and blue =)

  2. Hey sooooo I'm not really a nail polish expert so forgive me. But. I'm curious. What the hell is water marbling? And how do you do it without getting nail polish all over your hand???

  3. Anonymous, no problem, I don't judge! Please, though, avoid swearing on my blog. I try my best to keep this blog appropriate for people of all ages, so in the future I'd like it if you'd keep the language a minimum. To answer your question, water marbling is simply the art of dripping polishes into a cup of water then swirling them and dipping your nail in. The best way (that I've found) to avoid getting it all over you is to put tape around the edges of your nail (see the picture above).

  4. my nail polish wont spread !!! what do i have to use !!? and when i use the toothpick to make my patterns the nail polish gets stuck ! help !:)

  5. Hey I just found out instead of using tape you can use Vaseline or lip balm its so much easier and it works! :D

  6. My daughter is trying water marbling for the first time, and was having trouble with bubbles. I was Googling for help, but of all the links I tried, your blog was the only one to actually answer the question! Thanks.


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