While many of you may not care whatsoever about nail polish, water marbling has been the number one search query for people winding up on my blog from Google, so there must be some kind of demand!

I water marbled my nails last weekend and took a bunch of pictures so that I could have a go at writing up a tutorial, including some of the tips and tricks I have picked up during my VAST EXPERIENCE (3 times).

Let’s get started.


  • A cup/container you don’t care about. It will get nail polish remnants all over it. I use a sour cream container.
  • Masking tape
  • Scissors
  • Lots of toothpicks
  • Q-Tips
  • Nail polish remover/cotton pads
  • Base coat (optional). I use a base coat because my nails got kinda mushy a while ago. Gross.
  • Top coat (optional). For a top coat I highly recommend Seche Vite. You can put it on when the nail polish is still wet and it dries everything up super fast. Plus it’s really nice and shiny.
  • White nail polish. I use Sally Hansen Xtreme Wear in White On (#300). It is kinda gloopy but it’s good enough that you only need to do one coat, plus it only costs $3.49. I forgot it in the picture so I Photoshopped it in for you guys. I DO NOT recommend Sally Hansen Complete Salon Manicure in Polar Bare (#120) because it is expensive and it’s really thin and sucky.
  • Lots of other colours of nail polish. Up to you how many you choose and what colours. All the Sally Hansen Xtreme Wear ones I have work really well for water marbling, plus like I said they are cheap. When they go on sale next I am going to buy every colour!!! Sally Hansen Complete Salon Manicure colours seem to work well. Sparkly/shimmery nail polishes do NOT work as well, and neither did those Wet n’ Wild ones in the picture that I got for 44 cents. Other than that I haven’t tried anything else. Feel free to let me know what works or doesn’t work for you.


1. Put on your base coat. Optional.

2. Paint your nails white. It is not super important to get perfect coverage, but you want a nice white blank surface so that the relatively thin layers of coloured nail polish show up nice and bright. I do one coat with my Sally Hansen Xtreme Wear White On.

3. Mask the skin around your nails. *This is just the way I do it and it’s not even that great. If you have a better method PLEASE LET ME KNOW* First I put one piece of masking tape from side to side on my finger. Get it as close to the sides of your nail as possible and as tucked up underneath your fingernail as possible. With the shape of my fingers this is not that possible. Then use a second piece of tape to wrap around your finger tightly to secure everything down. Put that strip right up to the base of your fingernail. I usually mask one hand at a time.

4. Time for the fun part!! Fill your container up with water (lukewarm! not too hot, not too cold). Then drip nail polish onto the surface of the water. Once the drop hits the surface of the water it will spread out really quickly. That is what you want. If any of your drips do NOT spread out that means the surface of your water is too dirty and it will not work out. Time to clean it up and/or refresh your cup of water. Anyway back to dripping. I usually drip two drops of the same colour in a row because I like my colours nice and vibrant.

5. After your first colour, drip some more, so you end up with a colourful target-like coating on the top of the water like in the above picture.

6. Use a toothpick to gently swirl the nail polish around until it makes neat patterns. This will take some practice. The area in the green circle above is the kind of swirling that you want–nice and smooth and clean. The area in the red circle is what you DO NOT WANT–the nail polish has bunched up and gone cruddy. This will look ugly on your nails. You also have to work fairly quickly because the longer you wait the more it bunches up. Ah but you are only going to dip your finger in one or two spots so it’s ok if one part gets bunched up, you can still use the other parts!!

Sorry for the next three blurry pictures. I need a third arm.

7. Dip your nails in the exact part of the swirly pattern that you like the most. I struggle to do more than one nail at a time like other people do so I often just do one at a time. I like to approach the water verrrry slowly and precisely with my face really close so I can see that my nail is actually going where I want. Once it’s in though put it right in. DO NOT let your finger come out of the water!! DO NOT let your finger touch the bottom of the container.

8. Wait a minute with your finger submerged in the water for the nail polish on the surface to dry up a bit. Using your other hand pick up all the extra nail polish on the surface of the water with a toothpick.

9. When all the nail polish is picked up, you can take your fingers out of the water! Admire your work!! (Ignore all the nail polish on your skin.)

10. I suggest waiting a minute, THEN gently and very carefully removing the masking tape. Ugh so many times I have messed my nail up in this step, so annoying.

11. I wait another minute or two and then do a quick coating of Seche Vite top coat. Man I love that stuff.

12. Repeat steps 3 to 11 for you other hand!!!!!

13. Later, when the nail polish is totally dry, I start to remove all the nail polish on my skin. You can do this with q-tips or orange sticks and nail polish remover but I am not a big fan of using that drying stuff on my skin so I usually just have a shower. I find that between washing my hair and gently scrubbing at my fingers under the shower-head I am able to get most of the extra polish off.

DONE! Voila!

This process definitely takes some time and practice, especially if you mess a nail up and have to start right from step 1 again, like I do so many times, but I think it’s worth it! I love how interesting each nail can end up, and how smooth and nice it looks. People often comment on my nails when they are like this and think they are stick on nails!

Saturday morning headed out to Michael’s early because they were having an extra 25% off sale in the morning. We got big canvases for super cheap. I thought they were $9.99 for each pack of two, so we got two packs, but then they rang up as only $4.99, and then 25% off of that, so I made the cashier wait while I grabbed another pack! Immediately after we left the store I realized I should have gotten the bigger size, since they were so cheap. I really wish there was such thing as rewind of life.

Anyway, 6 canvases for $11 is pretty good. Now we can do tons of masterpieces. Scott has another video game-y one in mind, and I have a geometric series idea and also a melted crayon thing I saw on Pinterest that looks super cool. It needs a hair dryer though and I don’t have one. Rosemarie???

After Michael’s we went by the old house to pick up our mail and then to the farmers market. We spent too much money a coffee, a korean short rib taco, homemade ginger ale, strawberries, tiny peppers, potatoes, and tomatoes. I wanted to get some plants too, but we need to do a bit of research about what can grow indoors, in the dark.

We came home, and started the squares project. Then I decided we REALLY needed a level to do it so we hoofed it over to Metrotown to pick one up. We also got some Coldstone ice cream with a 50% off coupon. I had a cup with cookie dough, choc chips, caramel and fudge, and Scott had a mint one with brownie, choc chips and fudge. They were both very good, but too large, and neither of us really liked the chocolate chips. If we go back we will definitely share. On the way home we stopped by a girl’s apartment to pick up a desk chair I saw on Craigslist. It’s green and funky. She lived right around the corner so it was super convenient!

Scott made a pizza for dinner with sweet potato and lentils and some other things. He’s gotten quite good at making the crust, but the toppings were too carbolicious.

I just realized I never actually took any pictures of the other paintings I did, at the old apartment. I will, I promise! I only have one more week left of work (WOOHOOOOOOO) and then I will have lots of free time.

Sunday was mostly spent bumming around. We watched some Masterchef, the movie Paul, played Agricola, talked with Rosemarie, and now Scott is out at The Keg with some of his friends. I don’t know what he will get to eat there!

I also did some online shopping. We ordered this antenna thing to pick up free HD channels (bet you didn’t know about that!). Apparently there are 6 free HD channels floating around in Vancouver and all you need is an antenna to pick them up. You can get CBC, Global, CTV and three others that I forget right now. That’s all we need! We also ordered some new jeans for Scott and more of my favourite t-shirts for me. Yay!

So there is this thing floating around the blog world right now called the Pinterest Challenge. A few girls, including them on Young House Love (a blog I read) decided to set a challenge where they actually had to make something that they had pinned on Pinterest. Stop-pinning-start-doing type of idea.

Scott and I just finished a project that I originally saw on Pinterest so it fits the brief! We are thrilled with the way it came out.

This was my inspiration:

Unfortunately there weren’t any instructions, so we struggled a bit at first with getting ours to work but still managed to finish in one day, so that’s pretty good. Here is my tutorial:

Things you need:

  • 12″x12″ scrapbook paper (I needed 66 papers)
  • masking tape
  • some kind of level
  • scissors
  • something to make the gaps uniform (ruler, cardboard strip, etc.)

First thing I did was rip open the pack of paper and lay out the squares in the order I wanted (random) on the ground. I wanted it to be somewhat balanced and definitely not two of the same colour touching each other.

The part I was most concerned about was getting the squares level, because i thought you would be able to tell if it was crooked in real life. We didn’t have a level so I started off just measuring it off the floor and ceiling. Unfortunately it seems nothing in our apartment if square, flat or level, so that was annoying.

A laser level would most definitely be the best tool, but those were too expensive so we just bought a regular long level. Made of plastic… total garbage… will return this week.

I originally planned to have the gaps in between the papers be 1″, but the level itself was 1.25″ and it was a lot easier to just go with that, so we could hold the level against the ceiling/bottom of the papers, make it level, and then trace a line on the bottom edge of the level. Scott held the level and then I squeezed in and drew the line.

Then Scott attached four loops of masking tape on the back.

And then I lined the top edge up with the pencil line, and the right sized gap on the sides. At first I used a ruler that was also 1.25″ wide as a guide, but after the first row I just eyeballed it. And it looks even to me! I erased the pencil as I went along.

I had to cut around the light switch and plugs, which was pretty annoying. Please don’t look too close at them, haha.

All done. I love it! I can’t help but keep seeing that optical illusion with the black blobs in between the corners of the paper. Definitely livens up our otherwise beige apartment!

Add me on Pinterest if you want: http://pinterest.com/jornakat/

Check out my nails!! I am v. proud of myself, hehe.

I used a technique called water marbling. First you do a quick coat of white nail polish, then you mask off as much of your fingertip skin as possible with masking tape. Then you drip drops of nail polish on the surface of the water in a little tub and swirl it around with a toothpick until you see patterns that you like. Then you dunk a few fingers in and the nail polish sticks to your nails like magic. I could only do two at the same time. Then you pick up all the extra nail polish on the water with another toothpick before you take your fingers out. A quick youtube search for water marbling should bring up something useful. I finished off each nail with Seche Vite, which is also magic. Totally totally dry in 5 minutes.

They look even brighter and awesome in real life!

Edited to add: I have done up a water marbling tutorial. Check it out here!!

Last weekend I went over to an internet friends’ house for a ‘Space Shirt Crafternoon’. It was fun and I got to meet a bunch of new people who were all nice so that was really good. It’s funny, my shirt wasn’t working properly while we were making them… it didn’t bleach or absorb dye very well and it was making me quietly angry, but actually when it was all done, I ended up pretty pleased. It’s more subtle and I don’t mind that! Here is a picture I stole from Tanie, I hope she doesn’t mind.

I got another Groupon last week- for a restaurant that makes grilled cheese hamburgers! Haha.

And I’m keeping an eye out for a 10-pass yoga one so I can start that. They come out pretty frequently so hopefully I don’t have to wait too much longer.

I have not been sleeping well all week. It takes me SO long to fall asleep and I’ve been waking up at 3 am and 5 am almost every night. It’s weird because I think I’ve been doing everything right…. eating well with smaller portions, and actually exercising (I’ve started running(!!!)). Too much stress in my life, I think.