Wednesday, July 13, 2011

A Water Marble Tutorial... kind of.

As I type, I am waiting for my mini tripod to arrive.  I want to film a Water Marble tutorial, but I will need that tripod in order to do it, so I figured why not try to photograph it?  Easier said, than done... especially when I decide to try it on one of the hottest days of the summer!  I do my nails outside when I can, because I live with three Asthmatics.  The smell can get overpowering, even for myself.  So, without further adieu,  here is how I do a water marble.

I always start off by painting my nails in either one of the colors I intend to include in my marbling design, or I paint them white.  I usually do this the night before I intend to marble. You can do it minutes prior, too.    White allows the colors to POP!  And don't forget:  Always use a Bonder (I swear by Orly Rubberized Bonder) and/or a base coat (OPI Nail Envy line is fab).

The first thing I do is gather everything I need:

Polishes, Scotch tape for taping fingers, Q-tips for removing polish on top of water, a small dotting tool for dragging through polish and a cup of filtered, room-temp water.  Keep some paper towels handy as well for cleaning off your dragging tool.

The next thing I do is to loosen the brushes on the polishes I intend to use.  Then I prep my fingers with Scotch tape.  I do one at a time... you can tape one entire hand.  I've done it both ways, and I like one at a time.  I first put a strip on the side of my nail as close to it as possible.  DO NOT let the tape touch the nail as the polish will adhere to the tape and not to your nail.  Pull the tape tightly around the underside of your nail and again as close to the other side of your nail as you can.  Then take another strip and place it on top of your digit, right over the cuticle.  I then smoosh the pieces under my digit together.  Now, we are ready to make our bulls-eye.

Begin by using two drops of the first color.  Then alternate as you wish.  For this mani, I am using only two colors:  Sinful Colors in White On White and OPI Over The Taupe.  Put as many 'rings' or dots as you wish but remember, the more concentric circles, or the larger your 'bulls-eye,' the murkier the marble.
Because it was so hot out when I did this, the polishes had a tendency to bubble in the water. When you have enough circles, it's time to start designing... and that requires a sharp tool.  I've tried using orange sticks, but they are simply too fat.  I either use a very fine dotting tool (shown here), or my favorite: A turkey trussing needle.  For this design, I started by inserting my dotting tool into the center of the 'bulls-eye' -  do not just dip in;  all you need to do is to just break the surface of the lacquer.  Gently pull the tool away from you and touch the inside of the cup with your dotting tool. *** Clean off your tool after each drag.  This is LAW.  Otherwise, you can possibly ruin the design. ***  Then go back to the center and then pull toward you:
Then insert your tool at the top of the design and drag across the polish.  Come back and repeat, over and over until you have the design in the far right corner of the above photo.

Now, we are ready to DUNK!  But before you take that plunge, look at the design.  Turn your cup and find a spot that you like.  Depending on where you place your nail, the design will either be straight across your nail, or vertical.  Diagonal is always fun and that is my favorite.  Position the cup so you can comfortably place your fingernail into the polish.  You want to make sure you are placing the surface of your nail into the polish in one fluid motion. (Try not to exceed where the tape on your finger ends, or you'll have marbled skin!) DO NOT STOP.   Now, keeping your nail still, grab your Q-tip and carefully begin removing the excess polish from the surface of the water.  You sometimes have to reach around behind your submerged finger, but get as much off as you possibly can;  if you don't, that remaining 'scum' will adhere to your nail as you remove it - EW!
It's hard to see, but my nail is just under the surface of the water on an angle.  The tape keeps the polish off of your skin! 
Once you have removed the excess polish from the water, slowly begin pulling your finger out of the water.  If you happen to notice an air bubble on your nail, use your dotting tool while your nail is still submerged and try to pop it.  If you can't, don't worry.  It'll just be an interesting addition to your design... and you can design over it later - that's the next blog!

Now you can see why I tape my skin!  Still, the tape can't cover all of your skin - note the areas of marbled skin next to the nail.

After you get used to doing water marbles, you'll find that the adherence is a lot stronger than it looks!  Sometimes when you remove your nail, the marble will be too 'muddy' or it just looks like a hot mess.  Simply do another bulls-eye!  Keep the tape on, make your design and dunk your wet nail again!  Amazing, but it works!

Now I personally have a system that I stick to:  I leave the tape on the finger I just dunked and tape my next finger and dunk... and when I remove that finger from the water, the polish on the previous nail has dried enough to safely remove it without doing serious damage to the design should the tape touch it.  ALWAYS use tweezers (sorry, forgot to include them in my set up photo) to remove tape.

When you have completed your nails, you will still have some clean up as you will have some skin marbled where the tape did not cover.  I let stay on.  I put one coat of Seche Vite on all of my nails and let them dry for a half hour.  Then I use an orange stick dipped into polish remover and clean up my cuticles, the skin with polish and the area just above my cuticle on my skin.  I think manicures look really good if there is a bare space next to the cuticle.  That's just me.

A shower will remove anything your orange stick missed.  Sometimes, if I am not in any hurry, I skip the remover and just shower and the polish on my skin is gone with no effort.  Then I can do the detail clean-up

So, there you have it.  Later today, I will show you a few more tricks, including how to disguise a messy water marble, and how to avoid doing what I discussed earlier...  Remember 'Less is more?"  I broke that rule.  That's coming up next!

Thanks for reading, and remember:

Stay Polished!

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