Nail Polish Marbling: Sweet Success or Horrific Mess?

turquoise marble nails agate

turquoise marble nails agate


turquoise marble nails agate

Turquoise marble nails are popping up everywhere. To the DIY manicurist, the tutorials appear to be easy. I thought I would try it, with the colours inspired by a pair of turquoise agate bookends.

You can find more detailed directions online (check out my Pinterest board for some ideas here), but here is a condensed version:  First, do a base coat and two layers of turquoise. Then, place one drop of blue polish on the surface of some water and spray it with hairspray once or twice to make the drop stringy. Dunk your nail in and voilà, instant marbling!  Seal with a top coat and you’re done. Easy, right?

Well…unless you are a nail polish mermaid you’re not going to get it right the first few times. Don’t even bother with the base coat and turquoise until you’ve practiced the marbling, because you’re not going to like the way it looks and you’ll have to start over.

I experimented a little with hairspray and found that pump bottle hairspray worked the best.  The trick is to drop the polish gently onto the surface of the water and then to spray it from far enough away–you don’t want the hairspray to push the polish underwater, which would make the drop clump together rather than get stringy. You may need a few mists before you get the look you want, and if you don’t like it than remove it from the water and try again.  I could do two nails before there was too much hairspray on the surface and had to refresh the water.

Now, I didn’t bother taping my skin, I just dunked my whole finger. That was a mistake. Horrific mess!!  There’s something about blue nail polish that makes it incredibly staining and it was a lot of effort to get it off. Next time I will definitely tape!

Once I got the hang of it, DIY nail marbling was indeed easy and it looks pretty cool, so I’d call this a success!  I think I will buy some black and gold polish and try the turquoise stone look next, then maybe grey and white, and then mint green…

Turquoise polish: “For Audrey” by China Glaze

Blue polish: “Mesmerize” by Essie

Agate Bookends: I got mine at Home Sense but I did a quick search and found a similar pair at SaraReynoldsJewelry and Mitchell Gold and Bob Williams

Engagement Ring: Tacori

Camera: Olympus O-MD E-M10 Mark II with 14-42mm IIR lens


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