I’m always looking for easy but effective crafts. Anything that doesn’t require lots of time or effort is a tick in my book. Especially if it’s easy for children to do as well. I’d spotted a simple nail polish marbling technique using nail polish and decided I’d give it a go.
As with many crafts I try, this wasn’t totally successful on all items I tried to marble, but with a bit of practice (and extra hands to help), it would be a good technique for lots of different items.
With the only items needed for this marbling technique being nail polish, water, a container and the item to be marbled, it’s easily accessible. If potentially a little messy and needing lots of water changes.
It’s such a simple method – just have a container of water, tip nail polish in then dip your item to marble.
I decided to try marbling a Christmas bauble. It’s a great way of upcycling plain baubles, although matt colours are probably better. Bigger baubles are easier than small ones; I’d recommend holding the bauble clasp with something and dipping it, rather than holding it with your fingers and trying not to dip those in the water.
The nail polish does go more solid once it hits the water so you need to move quickly. The water also ends up a bit scummy on the surface (I’m not sure if that’s just the polish I used or in general), so if you’re doing more than one item, or a large one that needs several dips, you might need to change the water regularly.
You can use one colour which can look really impactful, or add a couple of colours. If using more than one colour, you’ve 2 alternative options. Either have someone pour in both colours at once while you dip (or vice versa), or do one colour and let it dry, then add another on top.
It’s all about experimenting with more or less colour. Sometimes I found the water and nail polish came up a bit bubbly but it could be the surface I’m trying to marble. Just trial and error to see what works. Just don’t do what I did and touch the ‘watery bobbles’ after marbling because you’ll end up with finger prints ruining it.
From trying the technique out on a few items, the smaller items worked better. I used white, and silver baubles, but you could use items with a dark base and opt for a bright nail polish. Egg cups, mugs and glasses, and baubles worked well. A small photo frame was just a bit too big because I had to keep dipping with a new lot of polish each time so it was a bit inconsistent. Check out below for how to do nail polish marbling.
Nail Polish Marbling
How to marble items using nail polish
- 1-2 nail polishes
- item you want to marble Try white or pale items like small mug, egg cup, bauble
Put water into the container. It will get a bit scummy so an old ice cream container is probably better than your best casserole dish.
Pour in some nail polish into the water, then quickly dip your item into the nail polish swirl. You need to move fast.
Let item dry, ideally without touching the nail polish. It will dry quickly.
If you need to swirl again on a larger item, or add another colour, repeat. Watch the water isn't too 'scummy' as it'll ruin the next dip.
The height of water will depend on the size of the item being marbled.
You can part dip, roll on the surface or other techniques. It just needs a bit of practice.
The water will get a kind of scum layer on it from the polish, so if you’re marbling a few things, you’ll need to regularly change the water.