This is a much easier and less messy alternative to water marbling (for me anyway). I know that a lot of people are excellent at water marbling and do some freaking brilliant creations, but I just hate doing it! I am SO hit and miss with it, and it frustrates me after all the prep work (white base coat, taped up nails, water, polish in place, etc) that I really don't know for sure until I pull my finger out whether I've got a winner or not, and more often than not I end up taking it off as it looks AWFUL. Or I do a great one and then dink it before it's dry.
So this method is much better for me, as you are more in control of the results before it ends up on your nail. So, to begin, you will need:
- Polishes that you want to use for the marbling. Personally, I think sticking to three colours is a good idea, and make sure they aren't too similar, so there will be contrast of colours on your manicure. For the purpose of this tutorial I grabbed the nearest to hand, so we have two of the new Barry M Gellys; Lychee (nude) and Dragon (pink), and Blueberry Ice Cream (blue).
- Pins/needle for dragging the design; if you don't have pins, a cocktail stick will do, I just think pins are slightly better for this
- A plastic sandwich bag, you want the slightly thicker type that will lie flat. I bought a pack of 50 at the supermarket for about £2.
- Nail File
So, once you've got all your bits together, you want to start with the lightest colour out of the three (in this case Lychee) and paint the polish onto the plastic sandwich bag. Put this on fairly thickly so that it won't dry out too quickly, and cover a surface area that equates to the area of nail you want to cover, plus a bit extra.
Next, get your second colour. Blob on the polish onto the area you've painted. This doesn't need to be done neatly, literally just cover the area with some thick blobs of polish.
Take your third colour and repeat the process, but this time, try and blob the polish inside the blobs (apologies, I can't think of a better word than blob. bloblobloblobloblob.).
Continue this process a couple more times until you've got a good amount of polish distributed on your original base colour.
Next, we are going to create the patterns. Get hold of your pin, and drag this through the polish. I find it works best when you start in the centre of a circle, and drag outwards, but there's no hard and fast rule. The main thing to remember here is don't over work it, and try and drag through the polish in straight clean lines. If you start swirling the pin round, your just going to end up with a big splodgy mess.
If your pin starts getting too much polish on it, clean it off. Speed is generally of the essence in this process as the longer you take, the more chance that the polish will start to dry out, and it won't drag through properly if this is the case.
Once you've finished creating the pattern, you need to leave everything where it is for at least an hour, maybe two (dependant on how much polish you've used), for the polish to dry out enough on the sandwich bag. Now, if you think, "well, I'll do the pattern the day before"; you can, but when the polish is touch dry on the sandwich bag, I'd suggest putting it into another sandwich bag and sealing that to stop it from drying out completely. It's important for this to work properly that the polish is dry, but not completely dried out. If it is completely dried out, it won't peel off the plastic properly (more likely flake and snap) and won't stick to your nails properly.
So, here's the finished pattern.
Now, some areas look better than others; this is fine as you can just pick and choose what parts of the pattern you want to use on your nails. This is why it is important to make sure you do a little bit too much.
Once you've let the polish dry out sufficiently, cut the section out of the sandwich bag. Then carefully cut out small sections using the areas of the pattern that you like the most, that will fit onto your nails. Don't worry too much about the length of the sections (we will deal with that later), just make sure they are of a correct width, and that you cut the base end curved to match the base of your nail.
So, applying the water marble to your nails. First off, make sure you've painted your nails a base colour, so that the water marble has something to stick to. It's best to make sure this colour is the lighted colour you've used for the water marble, so I've painted my nails with Lychee as the base. This needs to be dry, but not completely dry, as the water marble does grip slightly better to tackier nails.
Take your first piece, and carefully peel away the plastic backing. At this point, if the polish is stretching or not coming off the plastic easily; it's not dry enough. Give it some more time. Otherwise, use tweezers to help you pull off the plastic backing.
Then position the water marble over your nail, be careful not to place it on your nail until you are happy with the positioning.
Once you are happy, press it down, and carefully smooth it down from your nail base to tip. If you do this too quickly you may get ridges, so take care when pressing it down.
So, once it's smoothed down, you can see it's starting to take shape.
Next, get your nail file, and file downwards. Don't go up and down, just downwards; one direction. This will trim the excess off your nail and will also seal it to the edges.
Voila! I actually think this looks pretty cool on it's own as an accent nail.
Now; continue the same process for the rest of your nails. Once you've finished, apply top coat, and there you have it, dry water marble nails done! You can also use the water marble to just cover sections of your nails, or just a line down the centre, whatever you fancy. Also, afterwards it can look pretty cool to add some polka dots to the pattern also.
I hope this tutorial is helpful! And if you do have a go please let me know how it goes; and post your pictures to my facebook page; www.facebook.com/nuthinbutanailthing.