Saturday, August 24, 2019

Marble nail art: a tutorial

Marble nail art tutorial pictorial

My first post of 2019 (and in over half a year) and I'm back in a big way - with my first-ever nail art tutorial! I made the quick pictorial above but I think some steps could use extra explaining, so I have a detailed step by step below.

Marble Nail Art Tutorial
Things you need:
  • White polish (Kiara Sky Pure White)
  • Light grey polish (China Glaze Pelican Gray)
  • Medium grey polish - optional (Revlon Sophisticated)
  • Dark grey polish (Lise Watier Tartan Chic)
  • Gold polish (Orly Luxe)
  • Glossy top coat (Seche Vite)
  • Cosmetic sponge
  • Nail polish thinner
  • At least 1 detail art brush (I used 3)

1. Start off by painting your nails a solid white.

Marble Nail Art Tutorial
2. Once your white base is dry, paint on 1 coat of light grey polish. Patchiness/streakiness is encouraged as it helps create depth. I purposely apply the light grey sloppy to look like this.

Marble Nail Art Tutorial
3. Dot white, medium grey, and dark grey polish on to a mat or piece of plastic. I used the torn edge of a makeup sponge to dip and swirl into this mixture and lightly tap on to the nail. You may need to first tap the sponge on to the mat to take off excess polish to get the speckled effect above. Alternatively, you can use a scrunched up piece of plastic wrap instead of a sponge.

Marble Nail Art Tutorial
4. Using the dark grey polish, roughly 'connect' some of the speckles with your detail brush. (Of the 3 brushes, I used the thickest one.) This works great even for people with unsteady hands - I enjoy making very jagged, shaky lines.

Marble Nail Art Tutorial
5. Immediately after drawing your lines, clean your brush off with polish thinner and then use to water down/thin the dark grey lines. I use a dotting/gentle patting motion rather than smooth strokes. I use a combination of patting thinner directly on to the lines and also slightly off-center on the lines. imo convincing marble veining 'stutters' with variations in thickness and darkness, and is not a perfectly solid line throughout.

If the thinner starts to lift your light grey polish to show a little of the white polish underneath, this is totally fine as it adds depth :) You can also dot the thinner on to some of the speckles you didn't connect to soften the look of them.

Optional: go back with a super fine detail brush and add a little more dark grey in the veins you previously watered down

Marble Nail Art Tutorial
6. Dab on white polish, freely mixing or diluting with the thinner as you like. Add the white going in the same general direction as the dark grey (in this case, top left going diagonally to bottom right).

Marble Nail Art Tutorial
7. Moar white. Freely layer the white and medium grey in dabs here and there in combination with polish thinner to get more depth and dimension.

Marble Nail Art Tutorial
8. Using a very fine brush, add a little bit of gold polish sparingly. Usually I draw this right up next to a dark grey vein.

Marble Nail Art Tutorial
9. Seal everything with glossy top coat. A thick, shiny top coat covers all your sins smooths and blends everything together. You're done!

(P.S. credit to Kristin Gardner's easy marble nail tutorial; I tested out a few marble techniques and ended up incorporating her method into the first part of my marble nails. If you find this tutorial has way too many steps, check out her tutorial which is super pretty and straightforward.)

What I love about marble nails is that you can make the marble however you want -- subtle and super blended or bold with dark veining -- and it looks impressive without requiring precision or the ability to draw a straight line. Every marble nail I do is a little bit unique, which is also nice. I did probably the most practicing and experimenting for this look than any other nail art I've done before, so I hope you enjoy the fruits of my efforts :)

  • Can I use polish remover instead of polish thinner? Probably, but I haven't tried it. Also polish remover is not very kind to your brushes and does not remove polish on brushes easily. Thinner is cheap (mine is from Sally Beauty for ~$4) and is handy for when your polishes start getting gloopy and dried out; I've rescued a dried-out bottle that I accidentally put away with the cap loose, using a generous amount of thinner and lots of rolling

  • What about the sharpie method? I actually really love the way sharpie 'blooms' with rubbing alcohol to make a pretty marble. However the watered down sharpie has a purplish tone that imo didn't look good after I layered on with grey polishes

  • Where can I get nail art brushes? Expensive brushes aren't necessary to start out. There are cheap sets available on Amazon, Born Pretty, etc. You can also pick up a cheap brush from Michaels, they'd commonly be labeled as liner brushes (the blue one from the supplies photo above is a 10/0 short liner from Michaels)

Hi there! Thanks for taking the time to read and comment! I do my best to reply to all of them within 1-2 days, especially if there is a question. Please be aware that comments containing links may be edited to remove the links or not approved at all.

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