How to make a marble effect nail polish: 15 steps (with pictures)

How to make a marble effect nail polish: 15 steps (with pictures)
How to make a marble effect nail polish: 15 steps (with pictures)

While it's not the fastest way to renew yourself when it comes to nail polish, nor the least messy, giving them a marbled effect is very creative and fun. Learn how to perfect this technique by reading this tutorial.


Part 1 of 2: make marbled water

Create a Marble Nail Effect Using Water Step 1

Step 1. Apply a primer to your nails

Do as usual and first put a protective base on your nails. This base generally ensures that they do not turn yellow and that the varnish lasts longer. Apply two coats of transparent neutral varnish to invigorate your colors. Wait until the first coat is dry before applying the second.

Step 2. Protect your fingers

You'll get them dirty, so make sure you don't put any varnish on them. Cover them with petroleum jelly, white Cleopatra-type liquid glue, scotch tape or cuticle oil. Apply the product you have chosen at least on the first phalanx of each finger as well as under each nail.

Create a Marble Nail Effect Using Water Step 3

Step 3. Obtain a small container

A small paper container or shot glass will do the trick. Keep in mind that it may be permanently stained, so choose a container that you can throw away or reuse each time you handle varnish.

Even though nail polish is poisonous, if you use it in a small amount, it is not dangerous. Instead, use a glass bowl and wash it well after use. Normally, you should be able to use it again without a problem

Create a Marble Nail Effect Using Water Step 4

Step 4. Cover your table with newspaper

The latter will allow you to recover the varnish that will have overflowed, because the effect you are looking for is much messier than a simple varnish application session.

Step 5. Fill your container with room temperature water

It will allow the varnish to hold without it setting too quickly. You may need several tries with cold water or slightly warm water.

  • Only fill it 3/4 to prevent it from overflowing.
  • It is said that filtered water slows down the drying of the varnish by providing more time.
Create a Marble Nail Effect Using Water Step 6

Step 6. Choose your nail polish

You need to choose at least two colors that stand out. Plan a few bottles of different brands, because not all varnishes are suitable for the marbled effect. This effect requires a lot of varnish, so opt for inexpensive varnish.

  • If possible, use rather cool varnish: old varnishes tend to set too quickly.
  • Uncap all your bottles by loosening their caps. So you can quickly go to the next step.

Step 7. Pour a drop of one color into the water

Place the bottle on top of the water until a drop drains into it. This drop should spread to the surface of the water. If it does not and it remains clumped in the center, rotate your container until the drop becomes thinner.

It happens that some varnish leaks. You will then need several tries to get a nice floating circle

Step 8. Repeat the process with other colors

Choose another color, pour a new drop just in the center of the first circle. If you want, you can add more drops or stop there. Up to 12 drops can be used, but usually 3 or 4 are sufficient.

Use your first color for the third drop if you are only using two colors

Step 9. Wiggle the circles with a toothpick

Carefully place the end of a toothpick in the center of the inner circle. Create patterns by moving it around in colors. You should not take too long: you will have to immerse your nail in it before the varnish dries.

  • Draw lines starting from the same point and similar to the rays of the sun if you want to make a simple, but very pretty pattern.
  • Move the toothpick in spirals if you want to give a "dye" effect.

Part 2 of 2: decorate your nails

Step 1. Place your fingernail in the pattern

Slowly immerse it in the pattern. Lay it directly on the surface of the water and leave it there long enough to allow the varnish to stick. The process takes several seconds, sometimes a whole minute, so you may need to try it several times.

Step 2. Remove your fingernail gently

Make sure you don't run your nail through the polish again when you remove it. At this point, the pattern should have transferred to your nail.

Use a toothpick to scrape off any nail polish on your finger. Do this before removing your nail from the pattern

Step 3. Flick your finger to remove any drop of water

If there is too much water, there will be hollows or bubbles on your nail. Pat your finger and absorb the drops using the newspaper.

Step 4. Clean your fingers

Use a cotton swab to wipe off any excess polish around your nail. Your fingers should be easy to clean if you've protected them well beforehand. If you can't get rid of the polish and it sticks to your skin, dip a cotton swab in nail polish remover.

  • Do not remove the tape before the varnish has dried if you have opted for this solution.
  • Just wipe off your nail and start over if you don't like the patterns. It is by training that you will improve.

Step 5. Proceed to the next nail

Prick the water with a toothpick so that the varnish moves towards the walls of your container. This will give you space to start another pattern over. Repeat this process with as many fingernails as desired.

If you still see spots of color on the surface of the water, just add another drop of polish, spread it with a toothpick, let it dry for a few seconds, then remove it. the toothpick. Normally he should have collected the stains

Step 6. Apply a protective coat to your dry nail

Protect the latter with a protective layer to prevent it from flaking and admire your beautiful patterns!


  • If your polish has dried too quickly, use cooler water instead. If it's too runny, go for slightly warmer water.
  • Be bold and opt for complementary colors!
  • The small differences you will spot in the water can turn into big differences later: if your polish does not float, change the type of water you use (tap water, bottled, filtered, etc.).
  • Using this method on the toenails is difficult: the position that must be adopted to immerse them in water is delicate. Instead, opt for three or four strips of different colors and quickly run a toothpick between these strips before they harden to form patterns.

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