Tuesday, July 8, 2014

How to Marble with Nail Polish

Now that our moving date looms just overhead, we're trying our best to hang out with relatives and friends before we leave.  Last week we had an epic craft/play date with cousins.  It was a TON of fun! Chuck loved playing cars with his older cousin and I had a blast crafting with my niece.  She recently received a bunch of nail polishes for her birthday, so I thought it would be an excellent time to try marbling paper with nail polish!

How to Marble With Nail Polish

how to marble with nail polish

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Um.  Yeah.  Aren't the results AMAZING?  And they're made just using nail polish and water! We had fun choosing colors, swirling them around, and creating these lovely, colorful works of gorgeous art.  Wanna see how we made them?  Keep on reading!

Materials Needed to Marble with Nail Polish

*Some nail polishes gave us better marbling effects than others.  Read below to see what we found.

DIY Marbling with Nail Polish

pour nail polish into a pan of water and swirl around

1.  Cover your work area.  Make sure you work in a well ventilated room.  (This was REALLY important because the nail polish fumes were fairly strong.  I developed a bit of a headache afterwards.)

2.  Pour your room temperature water into your pan.  Make sure that the water is deep enough to submerge your item.  (We just used a disposable baking pan because we were just marbling watercolor paper.)  Warm water also seemed to work better than cold.

3.  Optional:  Put on disposable gloves so that the nail polish won't stain your hands.  Or, you can always use nail polish remover to clean your hands later.

4.  Now comes the fun part.  Choose nail polish colors that would go well together.   Open your bottles.

5.  Do these next steps quickly to get the best results.

  • Quickly pour your colors into the water starting from lighter colors to darker colors.  
    • Note:  We tried several different types of nail polish.  Sparkly polishes just didn't work.  They stayed clumped together in the water.  Our new Sephora nail polishes seemed to work the best, providing vibrant colors that spread around nicely in the water.  An older jar of Essie nail polish also just remained clumped in the water.  I'm not sure why we got these results, but I'm guessing that it had something to do with how old the nail polishes were and how quickly they dried.  The newer bottles of non-sparkly nail polish seemed to work the best.  
  • Take your toothpick and quickly swirl the colors around.

quickly dip your paper in and out of the water

6.  Use your popsicle stick to remove any excess nail polish that's floating around in your water.  

And if you should get results like this: 

marbling with nail polish DIY

Or this:

marbling with nail polish  (how to, DIY)

7.   Place your DIY masterpieces and place them on scrap paper to dry.  Then you'll have your very own collection of lovely marbled papers.

Which one is your favorite?  I had a tough time deciding.

how to marble with nail polish

*Happy Sigh*  I was so worried that this project would turn out to be a dud, because I had previously tried marbling with nail polish and gotten horrible results.  Everything was goppy looking.  But looking back I think it's because I was using pretty old nail polish.  We used very new bottles of Sephora nail polishes and got some really vibrant results.  The best part about this project is that my niece really enjoyed herself too.  I don't normally craft with older children, so I was glad that we both had fun.  She ended up wanting to keep all the pieces of paper, which made me feel very happy.

More Marbled Crafts

Check out these fun marbling projects below:

Or, if you're looking for other fun projects for elementary girls, here are some of my faves below:


  1. Try a couple of drops of nail polish remover in the bottles of older polish to thin it out.

    1. Oh! I just saw your comment now! Sorry I missed it. Yes! I wouldn't have thought of that... but that might work too. I'll give it a try next time! Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

  2. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  3. Nail polish remover helps a lot, as no matter I did, the polish dried so quickly that I couldn't do anything.

    1. Good tip. Aw bummer! Yeah, my first time trying this out I had really bad results. But I think it's because I was using old nail polish.

  4. do you need to use watercolor paper or can it be regular?

    1. regular paper probably would work, but something heavier would be better since you are dunking it in water

  5. It really doesn't work with normal paper so don't try it

  6. Speaking of crafting with someone older… These papers are so gorgeous that my daughter and I want to make them, and she's 21! I think they would make beautiful papers for collage.

  7. We are going to do this on white wall tiles. I saw something about how it looked amazing on white rocks, but, I think I want my nieces to make something nice for their mommy and daddy. I think we will add felt on the bottom, so maybe they will be coasters. Their mommy and daddy will be having their 10th wedding anniversary soon and I think it would be fun to do that while I am watching them that weekend. Thank you for having an amazing idea! <3

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