Mani time has become a weekly ritual for me. It’s a time for me to put my feet up, catch up on the latest episode of The Bachelorette (anyone?) and soak in the quiet while the littles are in bed for the night. I always like to joke that when the house is messy, my hair has been in a bun for 3+ days, and I’m still in my PJs at 4:00PM… that at least my nails are lookin’ good. 😉
Today I’m SO excited to teach you how to do this gorgeous, sherbet-inspired, water marble technique for your next mani night. This one requires a little patience and a little more time than usual, but the results are stunning and so impressive! I’m also going to sneak in some great pro tips so that your water marble turns out beautifully since marbling can get a little technical.
-distilled water (make sure it’s room temperature, very important!)
-medium sized glass or bowl
-handful of Q-tips
-pointed tool (I used a kabob stick, but you could also use a toothpick or a needle.)
-small, stiff makeup brush
-3-5 bottles of nail lacquer (avoid glitters; cream colors tend to work best)
Step One: Paint your nails with a white base and make sure you let it dry completely. I used the color Snow White by Zoya. This will really help the marbling look vibrant! A quick pro tip on my polish selection – I suggest nail lacquers over polishes. They seem to work much better with this technique. I personally love using the Zoya polishes because not only are they great for marbling, but they are also 5-free – a great, more natural choice!!
Step Two: Tape off your fingernail. I usually suggest just doing one finger at a time. I think three pieces of tape typically work best. One to go around the bottom of your nail and one to go on each side of your nail. This doesn’t have to be perfect, just get it as close as you can to the outline of your nail. It definitely helps make the clean up process easier!
Step Three: Pour your room temperature, distilled water into a medium sized glass or bowl. The water can really affect how your polish spreads, so make sure you pay extra attention to this step. Some people have luck with just a bottle of room temperature water too!
Step Four: To make this step easier, I like to line up my polishes and take the caps off so they are easy to get to when I need them. It’s important to be semi-quick with this step so that the polish doesn’t dry on the surface of your water too quickly. To get the sherbet color scheme, I used the colors, Snow White, Blu, Tiana, Kitridge and Darcy. Starting with the white, hold the brush very close to the surface of the water letting a droplet fall in. (If you let the droplet fall from too high of a distance, it will just sink to the bottom of your glass.) You should notice that it spreads pretty quickly. Switching between colors, continue to add more drops of polish until you create a bullseye. The more drops you do, the more marbled your polish will look. I suggest somewhere between 6-12 drops. The reason I suggest avoiding glitters or polishes that are too thick is because they tend to have a difficult time spreading correctly in the water, making it more difficult to get your bullseye.
To achieve my marbled look, I added a drop of white between every few colors. Since my white base won’t come through, I wanted to make sure there was still some white in this particular look. The beauty of this project is that you have creative freedom to vary your color order. Each nail will turn out differently and perfectly imperfect. 🙂
Step Five: With your pointed tool, start on one of the outer colors and draw lines into the center to create your marbled design. This is the really fun part! Again, you want to be quick with this step so that your polish doesn’t completely dry before you get a chance to apply it to your fingernail. 🙂 Another pro tip, don’t start with your pointed tool on the outer most ring of your bullseye since it’s likely already dry. I usually start with the second most outer ring and go toward the center.
Step Six: With your taped off finger, lay your nail onto the part of the marbled design you want at a 45 degree angle until your finger is about halfway emerged into the water. Remember, where you lay your finger on the design is what will end up on your nail, so pick your favorite part of your marbled art!
Step Seven: With your finger still in the water, grab a Q-tip. You’ll want to get as much of the excess polish off the surface of the water before taking your finger out so it doesn’t mess up your design. I like to carefully blow on the surface of the water to dry the polish and swirl the Q-tip in the water to get the extra polish out. The same swirly motion you would use to get cotton candy on a stick! 😉 Once you have most of the polish off the surface, carefully pull your finger out of the water. Ta-da!!
Step Eight: Carefully remove the tape from your finger to reveal your beautiful marbled design! Now it’s time to clean up your nail to get the excess polish off and give it a clean, fresh look. I love using small, stiff makeup brushes to clean up my polish. You can easily pick up a great one at the drugstore. Just make sure it’s small enough and stiff enough to really be precise around your nail. Dip your brush in the remover and work carefully around your cuticle to clean everything up. This is really the trick to making it look fancy and professional!
Step Nine: Don’t skip this step! Grab a good topcoat and polish up your marbled nail. This really helps smooth out any bumps or imperfections and also keeps your marbled art lasting longer! Using a topcoat can really extend the life of your manicure and help prevent chips. You don’t have to wait until your polish is completely dry before applying your top coat. Pro tip, swipe a little top coat on the top edges of your nail to really seal it in and help prevent early chipping.
Repeat these steps for each nail that you want to marble! You can choose just to do a few accent nails, which looks completely lovely OR you can go for the showstopper and get marble crazy!
I just adore how each nail looks different and how beautiful and professional they look! There are endless patterns and color schemes you can try too! This just might be the perfect DIY mani for your next girls’ night?! I think yes! 🙂 Lots of love, Sav.
Credits//Author and Photography: Savannah Wallace. Photos edited with A Beautiful Mess actions.