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Joys of Water Marbling


So, you’ve probably seen these super fast water marble nails videos on YouTube and Instagram where, to the accompaniment of some loud, happy music, nail polishes are dropped into water. They spread effortlessly into beautiful circles and then a pattern is easily drawn with them and transferred within mere seconds onto the nails. Ta-da! It’s a lie. All of it.

You want to know why we play loud, happy music in the back ground?

To drown out our swearing and loud sobs when the nail polishes don’t spread in the water, or the perfect flower pattern you have created in the water has turned into one humongous zit sized water bubble on your nail. I wonder if holo top coat would hide that zit…?

The most common question I am asked on my water marble videos? “What is the watery stuff you’re using?”

Well, the watery stuff is…ummm water. But not just any water. Oh no! The very best water for marbling needs to be papal blessed, taken from the foot of the most ancient mountain in timbucku at first dawn on the 32nd day of the thirteenth month.

If that particular water is out of stock, however, room temperature bottled water is my second choice of poison. In fact, I became somewhat addicted to a specific bottled water that I got imported from the heart of the French Pyrenees. And then, it was out of stock…in utter desperation I was forced to use water from….. my bathroom!

Well, I never created a more beautiful water marble in my life! The negative of this bathroom water discovery is I can now never move house. My bathroom tap apparently possesses THE MAGIC. And no, you cannot come and live with me. Unless you bring gin. And nail polish.

So, your magic water is in your cup, but not all nail polishes like swimming. And when you finally find one that does, don’t be too quick to sink to your knees and thank the water marble gods, because maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but one day, this particular polish will develop a sudden phobia of all things water.

You will confidently drop a blob of it in your cup and there the blob will sit. Smirking at you. It’s no good acting like you’re the Nail Polish Whisperer and cooing sweet nothings at it. If the blob has decided that on Wednesdays it doesn’t feel like water marbling, it just won’t.

Water Marble Nails

Water marbling is messy.  Very quickly your room will resemble a botched crime scene, albeit in rainbow colours. You may be attempting to decorate just one nail but the swirly watery polish will somehow manage to decorate your entire hand and even your arm if you’re an especially chaotic marbler, like me.

So, you’re going to need heavy duty protection. That white nail polish you see bloggers painting around their cuticles? That’s liquid nail tape. It smells like rotten eggs but it’s worth it, for the oh so satisfying peel afterwards. Remember peeling PVA glue off your hands at school? Yeah well it’s way better than that. No nasty teacher telling you that you can’t paint your entire body with it. Actually, I’m so messy that a total body latex protective suit sounds like a very good idea. Oh my gosh, the peel off factor would be AMAZING! *frantically googles where to buy a peel off latex bodysuit*

If you take up watermarbling be prepared to lose hours, possibly days of your life. Does alien abduction really exist or have people just been watermarbling? It is daylight when I start, with soooo much excitement, all my polishes lined up, my room temperature magical marbling water from Fairyland at the ready, visions of rainbow flowers dancing in my head….aaaaand then five hours of tantrums later, I look up from my watermarbling cup and it’s suddenly the middle of the night! Was I meant to go to work today at some point? I might just phone in and say I got distracted by some little grey men….

Water Marbling Nails

So, if you are reading this, looking to support a loved one who wants to start watermarbling, here are a few helpful guidelines:

All sharp implements should be removed from their reach: they may become violent after the 10th failed attempt. Advise neighbours to stay inside and turn up their TVs so they can’t hear the swearing. Be on hand with a box of tissues, chocolate and that emergency bottle of gin when they finally emerge several hours later, tear-stained, still with naked nails but otherwise completely covered head to toe in nail polish.

Basic Water Marbling Tips

  1. Use newer polishes that are not too thick. Cremes and holos marble better than glitters and flakies. Just don’t use your favourite most expensive polishes. You will waste close to a litre of polish to get one perfect pattern on one nail…
  2. Use room temperature water in a small cup.
  3. Make sure there is no drought or air conditioning that could dry out the polishes in the water too quickly.
  4. Anchor the outer ring of the marble to the edges of the cup before drawing the design with a needle or water marble tool.
  5. Lower your nail at a 45° angle onto the part of the pattern you want. Clear away the excess polish in the water with a cotton bud, before removing your nail slowly to avoid water bubbles forming.
  6. Don’t attempt water marbling near a white carpet. Unless you don’t like your white carpet anymore.
  7. Keep your cat’s nose away from the water marble, unless your cat has specifically requested a rainbow coloured nose.
  8. If the water marble looks bad shove a holo top coat over it. Cleverly applied it can hide bubbles, dents, smears, cat hair, a total lack of any water marbling skill…

And here’s one that went according to plan. Thank you water marble gods, fairyland water and Picture Polish.

Water Marble Nails

A little more about your Picture Polish Writer…

Claire lives on the beautiful southwest coast of England, on a constant but currently fruitless search for Ross Poldark. She is also an aspiring writer and supermodel. She suspects she is more likely to succeed in becoming a writer. While awaiting the global stardom that will surely come, she has made it her selfless mission to acquire all the Picture Polishes ever made. She may soon have to buy another house in which to store them.

Check out Claire’s Instagram Clairestelle8 for her mix of amazing nail art and humor.

Thanks for the rainbows Claire.  The Girls xox