In-Depth Water Marbling Nail Art Tutorial

By | September 5, 2013

Hello beautiful people! Corynn Musser of Mucking Fusser here to share with you an in depth water marbling tutorial as well as some tips and tricks! If you didn’t know already I am a water marbling fanatic, I really can’t get enough of it! There are so many different combinations and designs you can achieve.

So let’s start out with some photo spam of the manicure I did! Out of all the marbling designs I wanted to do a tutorial for what I think is one of the most popular ones, the flower design. I used three of my favorite Zoya creams Mira, Wednesday and Shelby. I usually have great success with the Zoya creams. I once I did a marble with just Mira and Wednesday, also a great combination.


Supplies needed: – Plastic cup filled with room temperature filtered water
– Three orange sticks: one to make the design, one to pick up the excess polish and one to clean around your nail (you could also use toothpicks if you don’t have orange sticks)
– Masking tape
– Q-tips (cotton buds) or cleanup brush with dish of polish remover
– Paper towels
– Your favorite smoothest white and 2-3 different polishes

Prep: To help lessen the chance of nicking your nails rip up the needed amount of tape. For each finger I use two pieces: a small one wrapped around the nail near the base of the cuticle, and another wrapped around the rest of the nail. Lay out some paper towels to work on and so you can wipe off your stick onto them.

Part I

1. Paint your nails with a base of white and let that dry. Tape a piece of masking tape around your nail near the base of the cuticle and then around the rest of your nail.

2. Open all the polishes to be used. Begin dropping a drip of each color one after another.

3. & 4. When dropping these drips you sometimes can gently touch the surface of the water right when the drip is near the end of the brush to help it drop into the water.

5. Keep letting the drips dissipate fully before dripping the next drop.

6. & 7. Some polishes are thicker then others and you only need a few rounds of them. For these Zoya creams I did five full rounds of each color

8. When you have a nice bullseye and the rings stop dissipating as much, you can stop and begin creating your design with an orange stick.

9. Don’t wait to begin making the design. The longer you wait the more the polish dries making it hard to create a design in the water. Place your stick on the outer part of the design.

10. Drag your stick to the middle of the design.

11. From the opposite side drag to the middle.

12. When you get to the middle gently dip the tip of the stick a little further down into the water. This will help clean up your design and make it neat and tight.

13. As shown in the photo, drag from the left side into the middle.

14. Now drag from the right side to the middle of the design.

15. Again dip the stick into the middle to clean up the design some.

16. Now begin dragging in between each petal

Part II

1. Here is what the design looks like when you drag in between one petal.

2. Next drag in between the opposite petal.

3. & 4. Do this same action again for the other two remaining petals

5. You should have a nice even looking flower design at this point in time. If you want big petals you can stop here. For tighter petals keep going.

6. Now you are going to want to keep dragging in between the petals very gently. The design is getting drier and could break apart with a faulty stroke.

7. Keep dragging until you have even tighter petals, similar to step 5, just closer to one another.

8. To dip your finger you may want to turn the cup around as shown from step 7 to 8.

9. Now that you have this nice design, find out where you want to place your nail.

10. With your taped and prepped nail, place it onto the design. Go with the design into the water when you dip it. Submerge your nail in the water.

11. With your cleanup stick, pick up all the excess polish on the surface of the water.

12. When the water surface is clear, slowly bring your nail out of the water.

Note: Sometimes there are bubbles in between where the polish meets the cuticle. If this happens dip your nail back into the water. Hopefully the bubble will pop. If not keep trying to dip it in the water. Sometimes you can bring your nail up and then pop and maneuver it the way you want.

13. Gently take off the masking tape, I have messed up the design countless times when I remove my tape so just be slow and cautious.

14. With a Q-tip dipped in remover, clean up the big spots of polish on the underside of your nail and finger. Then take a cuticle stick and remove some polish from your nails with that.

15. Finally use a fine clean-up brush dipped in remover to clean up the rest of the polish around the cuticle. Let your nails dry for 20 minutes or so and then apply a non shimmering top coat.

I really hope this helps those that would like to try out this technique! If you have any concerns or questions you can contact me directly by emailing me at If you’d like to keep up with my work check out my blog, Instagram and Facebook pages!

Keep an eye out for my “Frequently Asked Questions about Water Marbling” post, coming soon!

Corynn is an American Pre-med student by day and a water marblist by night. She started her nail endeavors back in December of 2012 and cannot get enough of all the incredible polishes to be found. Check her blog out at Mucking Fusser and her Instagram @mucking_fusser.

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