I’ve been totally obsessed with marble nail designs lately. I’ve pinned at least seven hundred and seventy two pictures of them on Pinterest. Here’s the thing though… let’s be real, the “water marble” technique where you put a bunch of colors in water and then swirl them with a toothpick doesn’t look like marble, it looks like the ugly psychedelic T-shirts I used to wear to school dances in the 90s. I had a brown, crushed velvet, cropped one that I seriously had no business wearing, so it’s not a look I want to relive on my nails.
Then there is the technique where you float some polish on the water and spray it with hairspray and then dunk your nail in, and those look great in pictures but I have tried many many times and it always looks like it belongs on one of those Pinterest fail blogs. Moral of the story was I needed to try to make this marble nail art without water.
After some searching, I finally found a few that were hand painted that looks really awesome, and they didn’t seem so hard. The best technique was actually from a nail art blog called ladycrappo. Hers was based on pottery and had some gold in it and generally it’s a bit different than what I was looking for but the technique was moving in the right direction… and it was SO pretty so I figure it was a good jumping off point. I had to tweak her technique a little because I definitely don’t share her delicate touch, and I wanted it to look more like marble than the beautiful pottery she based hers on. I also left out the gold for that same reason, but here is how it went down.
First make sure you have all of your supplies and your makeup sponge is torn up into a bunch of small pieces.
You can change out any of the colors you want to get your own look, but I will link the ones I used as well.
I put down two coats of a base color first. The color I chose was a very weird taupe color from Sephora. Depending on the light it can look cream, beige, grey, white or almost pale pink. Totally weird but I figured it would make a good base for a stone look.
Here is where I tweaked it to make it easier for me. Before I began sponging the first grey on, I dipped the sponge in the tiniest bit of nail polish remover. I found that if I went right in with the grey it was easy to make it too strong and big right away. With the remover it gives it a bit of a more diffused look and adds another element of texture as well.
Then I repeated the process with the same color, but on a dry sponge. Since I didn’t have as much ground to cover and I could just dab a tiny bit on for definition it was much easier.
Once I had that down, I took a fresh piece of sponge with even less grey dabbed on it, but this time I used the second grey shade that’s a bit darker and warmer in tone. Using two grey colors adds some dimension and will help the effect look more like an actual stone. If you look at a stone it has a few different shades co-mingled in there, know what I mean?
Now comes the fun part.
Take a black nail art pen or any black polish on a nail art brush, and create the veins of color for the marble. This part is a little tricky and I had to practice a few times before I nailed it, but here are a few tips to help:
That’s how I’ve been doing my marble nails without water. Hopefully that helps if you haven’t had any luck with the various water tricks. What good is a trick if it’s harder than doing it the long way? Maybe I just screwed it up to watery version, who knows…but this way looks super cool so weee! Yay!