An Epic Fail – Calling All Water Marbling Whizzes!


If there’s one thing I will never master, it’s water marbling. I just cannot do it for the life of me. It’s something that frustrates me so much every time that I very rarely have the inclination to practice it. I was looking back through some very old blog posts a while ago, and saw that it had been over a year since the last time I tried water marbling. There’s also a couple of posts with my very first attempts from 2009, but I’m not down with posting the links because they are embarrassing. Haha, if you’re that determined to have a laugh at my fail, the posts are still up if you fancy browsing for them yourself!

Anyway, being the glutton for punishment that I am, I decided to give it another shot. NOPE, still crap at it! It’s silly really, I know it’s one of those techniques that will come with practice but I just seem to think that I’ll try it one day and it’ll just be perfect. No such luck, of course!

This is the first time I’d tried it over a white base – I thought that might make it easier, but in fact I think it was even trickier than I remembered it. The white base is very unforgiving! I tried several different colour combinations to see what worked, and surprisingly the first finger I did (the index finger) came out the best. I actually think that one looks pretty good, but the others are shoddy.

I just can’t figure out how to make a good pattern, and I always get smooshy patches and stringy bits and air bubbles in it and all sorts. It makes me so MAD! The middle finger was especially crappy, I mean what the hell is that?

So, I need the help of those geniuses who’ve mastered the technique. The biggest problem I had this time was the polishes not spreading right in the water. I’d apply the first drop to the water and it would spread just fine, but then by the second or third drop it just wasn’t spreading at all, it would just stay as a tiny little bead in the middle of the polish rings. Is that something to do with the temperature of the water, do you think? I was using water at room temperature, but does it work better with warm water, or cold water?

Please, if you have any tips that might help me get even just a fraction better at this, don’t hesitate to comment below! I will be forever grateful. I would just about kill to be able to marble like Colette of My Simple Little Pleasures. Just frigging look at these will you! *Sigh*

14 thoughts on “An Epic Fail – Calling All Water Marbling Whizzes!

  1. I haven’t done water marbling for such a long time! Will have to give it anther go soon :)

    I found that when I used polishes from the same brand it worked better.

    I also found that I didn’t need to use a white base if I chose colours that are pretty opaque :) xx

  2. I like your marbling!! :D The older one too (I love the colour combination so much!!).

    Thank you for posting this, as I can use help too! I am so bad at it!!! Lol!!

  3. I’ve had a go and just got loads of air bubbles. It was such a mess to do and then clean up that any nails that looked half ok got smudged anyway. I don’t have the patience!
    Your first nail looks great though :)

  4. You will get it! Here are a few tips which I’ve found helpful, for beginning at water-marbling. I’m mostly a whiz now and still use these tips!!:
    - Find 2 polishes, in coordinating colors, that work well together on the water. I use warm tap water & I’ve never had any problems. I do at least 2-4 test bullseyes, seeing how they swirl.
    For me personally, using polishes which spread well but aren’t too thin is the best. For me the thin polishes don’t “hold” the design I make in the water well.
    Before I begin the actual whole 2-hand marble, I test on a nail first- how does my swirled bullseye actually translate to the nail? Do I get bubbles or do my designs not transfer properly? If it isn’t working well, I change one of the polishes, and it won’t be too long before I find a combo that plays nicely together. It can be a bit time consuming just to find the proper duo of polishes sometimes, though!
    I tape my cuticles, too, also use cute oil on them before I apply the tape.
    I myself do my marbling in a shot-glass. I find it easier than a whole damn cup. When I dunk my nail, I make sure to keep it underwater- then I wait with it submerged until the remainder polish on the surface dries- 30-60 sec, then I take a toothpick and gather all the gunk on the surface and dispose of that, THEN take my nail out. By that time my nail has “set” enough that taking it out of the water doesn’t hurt.
    While making my bullseye, I want to remember to fill up the bullseye with polish drops, and never skimp on the number of drops I put in it, so that when I swirl my design, it doesn’t move all over the place or spread & not look so pretty anymore. When I drag my toothpick to marble the bullseye, I don’t start on the edge either, I start probably halfway or 1/3 in.
    I also wait a minute before applying topcoat so it doesn’t blur my design.
    As for base coat, I only use white when I’m marbling with pastels.
    On my nails right now I have a marble with Essie School of Hard Rocks (a lighter grey-teal) and Nicole by OPI Khloe Had a Little Lam-Lam (deep green-based peacock-teal), and I used Sally Hansen Eel Skin (pale grey) as a base- I could have used the Essie as well :)

    Please don’t hesitate to email me if you need more help! I love water-marbling since I got the hang of it, and I wouldn’t have without helpful gals.

  5. Oh yes, and as for the last thing you mentioned- the 2nd drop of polish not spreading- I use warm-water and it often helps to work as quickly as possible, too. Many claim bottled/filtered water is best, I use warm tap though and I have no issues with it. It’s not just the water, though, it’s the polishes in my experience. If 2 polishes don’t play well together, I won’t spend the time to try to force them. All my most gorgeous marbles have come from being flexible and finding which ones will spread together & everyhthing…. I have some polishes that will spread & marble perfectly with some but not with others. It’s a finding game- stay flexible!
    How I do my bullseye fast: I have the 2 polish bottles in my left hand while I’m creating it, already open, and drip-drop-drip-drop… then marble with the toothpick in my right hand, quickly set down the bottles and dunk my nail.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>