Saturday, April 14, 2012

Water Marble Nails

I recently came across a YouTube "how-to" video on a water marble manicure and thought it looked fascinating. It may not be the newest trend, but I was always skeptical to try it before because it seemed to be very time consuming and overly meticulous. Since my nails aren't very long, I don't like to fool with complicated/detailed manicures because I feel like I can't showcase them properly. The other day my mom decided that we should try our own version of water marbling for fun. If you have time to kill and you want a unique look, I've included a short tutorial so you can try this technique as well!

What you'll need:

  • One skewer or toothpick
  • One glass of room temperature water
  • Clear tape
  • Three bottles (or more) of complementary polish 
  • Tweezers
  • Napkins

We chose to use white nail polish as a background color because it goes with every other shade and it makes the water marbling very noticeable. I would be interested to see what black would look like for a night out, however. :) So first we put two coats of Orly "White Tips" French Manicure. Next, we filled up a glass with room temperature water. Our water is from a well, so it contains many extra minerals -- if you have a filter, it wouldn't hurt to use it. Overly "scummy" or impure water can cause the polish to clump up, and you won't be able to get the swirled patterns. After filling the glass with water, we took regular, clear Scotch tape and put about three tiny strips on each finger. You want to basically frame the outside of each nail, as you are protecting your skin from getting a coat of polish, as well as setting the boundaries for the water marbling. Once you have your nails taped up, you need to be ready to do the next series of steps rather quickly.

We used Revlon #410 "Dreamer", Revlon #250 "Flirt", and Revlon #510 "Sassy". The pastel blue, pink, and green worked well together to achieve a nice spring manicure. There is really no limit to the color combinations you could pick, or even the number of polishes you could use. If you have small nails like mine, I would suggest a maximum of three colors, as beyond that the colors just seem to melt together and make an ugly brown shade. You take the first polish and carefully let one drop fall into the glass of water. Have all of the polishes uncapped so that you can quickly add another drop of the next color directly into the drop of the first. You can add as many drops of each color as you see fit, essentially creating one giant "bullseye". If you wait too long in between each drop, the nail polish will dissipate through the water and vanish, or it will start to create a thick layer on top of the water. If you get a layer, simply take a skewer or toothpaste, collect the polish, and then wipe it off on a napkin. If you try to use this "layer" to paint your nails, you will end up with sticky, gooey globs on your fingers...not the desired look! Once you have added the drops of polish on top of one another, you need to quickly take the skewer and draw patterns in the polish. Try to pull from the inside of the "bullseye" towards the outside of the glass. Some people draw designs, such as flowers...I like a general swirl or spiral because it is fast and looks nice on any nail type. Once you have your pattern "drawn", quickly submerge ONE taped up nail into the center of it. Make sure to angle your nail so that the pattern runs over it and not the tape -- don't just put your finger straight down into the water. Then, before pulling your nail out, collect the excess polish "layer" with your skewer and dab it away on a napkin. Don't bring your nail out of the water until you remove the polish floating on top of the water, or you will end up with a layer of gooey gunk on your nails. All you do is rinse and repeat until all nails have a pattern. The great thing is that if you are unhappy, you can dip the nail in a second time and layer your patterns. Once every nail is done, carefully take a pair of tweezers and pull the tape off. If you taped your fingers well enough, there should be minimal mess to clean up. Any polish that does manage to get on your skin can be removed with nail polish remover/ a cotton swab or scrubbing with soap and water.

I ran into two problems with the water marble technique. The first is that if you try to use water that is NOT room temperature (too hot or too cold), your polish will not "spread" out in the water, but will just automatically clump up. This may sound like it is hard to spot, but if it happens you will not be able to swirl the polish around in the glass with the skewer to make a pattern, so you will notice. If this happens, you can warm the water in the microwave or cool it in the fridge until it is the right temperature. The second problem was the tape. Do NOT use "invisible" tape, or cheap quality tape. The first time I tried this I was left with a sticky mess all over my fingers, as the tape disintegrated when making contact with the water. Also, since it wasn't sticking to my skin very well, it was picking up most of the nail polish and I barely got any patterns on my nails. When you are dropping the nail polish into the glass, be careful with the size of the drop and how fast you "fling" it in -- too quick of a motion or too big of a drop will result in the drop going to the bottom of the glass and "polluting" your container. Also, you do not need to touch the tip of the brush to the water to get the drop to come want to try to avoid this if possible.

This took me about 45 minutes-an hour, mostly because I was new at it. I would not get into this project right before an event... give yourself time to try it out with multiple attempts. It does get pretty frustrating when you can't seem to get the swirly pattern on your nails, but practice makes perfect. I hope to experiment with darker colors another time, but for now I leave you with an April look. :)



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