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Urgh, I Hate Water Marbling

I hate water marbling, mostly because I'm intensely jelly of all those out there that manage to make these amazing manis that I just can't seem to reproduce.  Every time I try, my polish just doesn't spread out.  If it does, after two or three drops, it stops spreading and I get sad.  I've tried different polish brands, different temperature waters, bottled water, seemingly everything with no consistent results.  I combed through some more videos and tutorials and noticed that some people used just OPI polishes with good results, so I tried that.  

To start, I applied two coats of Orly Dayglow, my current favourite white.  Then, after taping off my fingers, I got to work with four different OPI polishes.  I filled a small plastic cup with room temperature water and got to work.  I found the best way to do it was to get an almost-ready-to-drip drop of polish and dab it in the water, then repeating as quickly as possible.  I found though that after five drops, it stopped spreading.  Does anyone know how to fix this?  Anyway, if I made sure the centre spread out, I could get workable nails.  

The Verdict: Eh, I don't love these.  If they were all like my index finger, then maybe I'd be ok but as they are as a whole, I know I can do better.  I WILL DEFEAT YOU, WATER MARBLING.

If you have any tips, I'd love to hear them :)


  1. Your index finger looks so cool. You did a great job. Water marble drives me crazy

  2. It is really unpredictable! Did you try distilled water yet?

  3. Oh my god I FEEL YOUR PAIN!!!!!!!!!!! Every time I try to marble I end up disgruntled and thinking I'm just no good at this polish business :P Same problem: the polish doesn't spread on the water. If you find a way to fix this, PLEASE LET US KNOW!!!!

    Sorry for the caps, I'm just really emotional about this! Haha.

  4. I've yet to get this damn process right myself, but I understand that the temperature of the water and of the polish can have a lot to do with how it spreads and sets.

    One day I'll be patient enough to science it to death, then I'll post on my blog the exact conditions you need!

  5. I like it! Looks kinda lightning-stormy to me. I'm scared to try water marbling :p and don't have the right polishes for it, all cheapies for me.

  6. Are you using the same cup for everything? I've had great success with it, but I buy those tiny 1 oz plastic shot cups (they come in packs of like 100 at the party or dollar store) and use a different one for each finger. it is time consuming, but it's worth it.

    1. I used one of those Solo red cups with the top cut off. I filled it with plastic wrap to make it a bit smaller but I might just have to try a shot glass. That is the one thing I haven't tried! Thanks for the suggestion :)

  7. I LOVE how your pinky finger came out!

  8. Make sure you don't have a fan on in the room, or anything blowing on the water while you work. That turned out to be the reason why my polish wasn't spreading. (and I discovered it was the culprit after much cursing & flailing!) also, cheapie polishes can work just fine... I've used Sinful Colors with great success before. I hope this helps!

  9. I attempted it once too & gave up quickly lol... I give mad props to anyone who has the patience :)

  10. Use a toothpick to help the polish spread in the cup. I let the polish drop into the water and then create the design I want with a toothpick. Just drag the polish with it.

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  12. I always test the polish first and adjust polishes as they need to have the same consistency and a similar formula. For example a jelly and satin polish won't work too well together. I also use room temperature filtered water and shot glasses. Take a look at, it has a bunch of good videos and is where I learned how to marble.


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