Water marbling...... Well, let me say that I am the queen of suck when it comes to doing this with regular polish. So, if you are like me and gave up on the idea of water marbling, give it another try with the gel polish. It's much easier, and if you mess up you just wipe it off and start over!
Personally I like to do this over a completed manicure. That way, if I mess up and/or hate the way it came out I can easily wipe it off and try again without ruining what's underneath. I've done it this way and it came out fine and wore as well as any other manicure. I usually just do this as an accent nail or two. Another advantage to doing it over a complete manicure - it can spice up a mani you are getting bored with.
In addition to your regular nail supplies you need a small cup with some room temp water (I use bottle water because I live on a well and our water sucks, LOL), lots of extra paper towels handy, and some toothpicks or manicure sticks.
Since I like to do this over a completed manicure, I recommend doing a start-to finish manicure. I do like having a base color, as some areas of the water marble may be sheer and color would show through a little bit, so use something complementary. Alternatively you could do just base and topcoat with no color in between, or do just one layer of color instead of two.
Water marble nails:
- Open all your bottles of gel polish you are using and line them up around your cup in the order you want to drop them into the water.
- Drop the color into the water
- The first drop will spread out the most, and will almost disappear onto the water surface because it's so thin
- The next drops wont' spread as much, and you may have to shake the cup gently to get them to spread a little
- Hold your brush close to the water and just let the drops fall. You don't want to touch the brush to the water as you can contaminate your polish then. You also don't want to let the drops fall from too high above the cup, or they will just sink right to the bottom and not spread out
- I usually do 2-3 rounds of my colors
- Make your design
- Take a toothpick, manicure stick, dotting tool or whatever you want to use, and make your design. You can carve out from the outside in toward a center point, in from the center toward the outiside, etc. Whatever you want to do!
- Dip 1-2 fingers at a time, depending on the size of the cup you are using and your design.
- You want to dip them in with our nail plate parallel to the top of the water and the design, as much as possible
- try to do this in one smooth motion into the cup
- With your fingers still in the water, clean up all the excess polish on the surface of the water with a toothpick, manicure stick, etc.
- It's going to form a gloopy mess on the stick
- This is why you need plenty of paper towels handy to set this messy stuff on top of! :)
- Clean up your fingers
- I use a paper towel to wipe off the bulk of the mess on my fingers
- You can then take a manicure stick and clean up around the cuticle and sidewalls
- wipe a cotton pad or ball with alcohol over your fingers to remove any remaining gel before you cure.
- Cure for 2 minutes in a UV lamp
- Apply Top it off, cap free edge, cure 2 minutes
The Peekaboo glitter nails:
This is something you can do as a complete manicure when you are first doing it, or something you can do as an add on over a previous glitter mani when you get bored with it (is it even really possible to get bored with a glitter mani? LOL).
I've also done this to make a french with glitter tips. Instead of adding glitter only at the tip, I will do the whole nail as glitter, then add a color and carve out the smile line. It makes a much smoother and cleaner smile line than when I try to just add a tip of glitter. The whole manicure ends up being smoother as well when done this way. And you can carve out whatever you like as a design, leaving the glitter "peeking" out from under the color.
- Start out with your basic glitter manicure: base coat, 1-2 coats of color and then glitter scrubbed into the tacky layer
- Now you can proceed one of two ways
- Apply top it off and put your color over it, carve design, cure and topcoat again
- Simply apply color over the glitter instead of top it off first, carve design, cure color coat, and then apply top it off and cure
- Either way you want to do this, when you apply your color coat, just make it a nice, thin layer
- Take a small brush dampened slightly with alcohol and carve your design out of the color
- You can also use a toothpick, corner of a manicure stick, dotting tool, etc.
- You may want to flash cure each nail for a few seconds as you go.
- If you let it alone too long the nice crisp line will start to blur a little sometimes
- If you have very small/narrow areas you carved out, the gel polish will try to self-level those right back together.
- When you are done carving your design, cure in the UV light 2 minutes
- Add top it off, cap free edge, cure 2 minutes.
One of my best water marbles:
The colors just all worked so nicely together, and it looked great over the holo-y background because in the sheer areas you could see the blue holo underneath.