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Nail Art DIY: How To Do Marble Nails

At first glance, marble nail art looks like something you’d need to have professionally done. Not true; this is something really easy to do on your own – not to mention it’s really fun. Anything that allows me to play with different colors and get my hands dirty, I’m in. That said, you don’t have to get your hands dirty to do this. Here’s how to do marble nail art!

Jewelry pictured: Star Signet Ring, Dion Ring, Motif Midi Ring, Dree Eternal Ring, Fairfax Brass Ring, Stone Wrap Bracelet, Mixed Bead Wrap.

diy marble nails

What you need: different colors of nail polish – I recommend 3-5 different colors. I chose a really soft, muted palette because I don’t like when my nails are too bright. You’ll also need a cup – any kind of plastic cup will work, but these little shot-glass sized Solo cups are perfect. Lastly you’ll need some water to put in the cup and a few toothpicks. Be sure to use room temperature water – if it is too cold, the nail polish will harden quickly.

Note: Be sure to do this project over paper towels or a surface you don’t mind getting dirty! It can get a bit messy.

Also, if you prefer to not get your hands dirty (since you will be dipping your fingers in nail polish) you can coat your fingers (not the nails!) with Vaseline first so the polish doesn’t stick to your skin, or you could try putting tape around your fingertips, leaving the nails exposed.  If you just dip your fingers in the polish, like I did, you just need to wait until it dries and then carefully remove it from your skin using nail polish remover and cotton swabs.

diy marble nails

To get marble nails, you simply pour a small amount of polish, one color at a time, into your cup. As you add more colors it will form a bulls-eye shape.

diy marble nails

diy marble nails

Do this as quickly as possible so that the polish doesn’t start to harden in the water. When you’re finished it should look something like this:

diy marble nails

Now use the toothpick and make your design of choice in the water. I simply swirled it around a bit to get the marbled effect.

diy marble nails

Once you’re happy with your design, start dipping your fingers straight into the polish, one by one. The best part about this is if you’re normally not very good at painting your nails (I am not) it won’t matter, because you’re just dipping your nails!

diy marble nails

When you dip your nails in, the polish will stick, leaving you with a pretty marbled polish on your fingernail! I love that each nail is slightly different, as well.

diy marble nails

Once the polish is dry, use nail polish remover and cotton swabs to clean the polish off your skin, and voila! Marble nails.

diy marble nails

Rings pictured: Palmetto Stone Ring, Heart Signet Ring, Sterling Silver Midi Ring.

diy marble nails

diy marble nails

Rings pictured: Star Signet Ring, Dion Ring, Motif Midi Ring, Dree Eternal Ring, Fairfax Brass Ring.

More beauty tips and diy projects from the BLDG 25 Blog!

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Eva -August 28, 2012, 10:05AM

I am going to try this out…really cool. I know my daughter is going to love it!
Thanks Julia!

P.S. I want those rings, lovely!

Eliza -August 28, 2012, 11:27AM

Try coating the skin around your nails in any type of skin lotion and just peel it off when its dry! This is much easier and cleaner than trying to use nail polish remover which isn’t quite as reliable.

Fox + gypsy -August 28, 2012, 1:54PM

Try this method too for marble nails. It works just as well but a little more mess-free!


Johanna -August 28, 2012, 2:46PM

pouring the polish right into the cup is wasteful and it may even sink, just dab it in drop by drop with the brush, it should expand across the surface upon contact with the water

Sherry -August 28, 2012, 3:42PM

Use scotch tape around your fingernail, much cleaner and easier process, and as Johanna said just use a drop of nail polish. Newer nail polish works the best

Keelan -August 28, 2012, 4:32PM

How much water do you put in with the polish?

fp julia -August 28, 2012, 5:10PM

hey guys! thanks for the tips! Keelan – i filled the mini solo cup about 2/3 of the way – i don’t think it will matter how much water you use though! i found that pouring the polish directly in was easiest and fastest – when i tried doing drops with the brush it actually didn’t form into a circular pattern, it sank right to the bottom! it also took much longer which made the polish start to dry. i didn’t pour a lot in just a couple little drops of each, and this was enough to use for one whole hand so definitely did not use much polish if you’re worried about wasting it!

Fallon -August 28, 2012, 10:55PM

My roomate and I both noticed this, it totally looks like there’s a person on your middle finger nail! Look close at the picture of your hand towards the left of the nail!

LAURIE -August 30, 2012, 9:18AM


fp julia -August 30, 2012, 9:53AM

Laurie – yes! vaseline works or you could wrap your fingers with tape leaving only the nail exposed!

pixie -September 2, 2012, 12:12AM

damn fallon- i see it too! :o

Aliya -September 25, 2012, 4:49PM

I don’t recomende trying this. Every time I do it is a complete fail

emma -December 27, 2012, 10:30AM

you did not evendo it properly

Miranda -January 20, 2013, 12:16PM

Im going too try this today with my sister seems cool !

Tiffany -January 29, 2013, 3:30PM

Using filtered water makes a big difference when doing Marbling. Tap water messes with the quality of polish is what I have discovered. So much fun!!! Ive gotten a lot of compliments every time I marble my nails. ALSO using cuticle oil around the skin makes the polish come right off if you get it on your skin.

Preetygirl0202 -June 17, 2013, 2:54PM

It was an epic fail my roommate and I both got lumps on our nail when we put our nails in I had to use 2 whole bottles of remover!!

ashley -March 6, 2014, 9:18AM

hi there is it tap water?

ashley -March 6, 2014, 9:20AM

Is it tap water?

Hillary -July 1, 2014, 11:22AM

This is sooooooo hard . You can’t use crappy nail polish .

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johanna -August 11, 2015, 8:33PM

it so cool yall should try it

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