I’m excited to say, I think I have finally mastered the nail polish marbling technique!
If you’ve never heard of nail polish marbling, it’s a technique that is all over Pinterest. Basically you float nail polish on water and dip things into it to get a marbled effect. I really wanted to create some marbled items, but every time I tried the results were awful. After lots of research, trial and error, I can finally say I know how to marble! And bonus, I created these awesome hexagon fridge magnets in the process. Here’s how you can make your own.
Gather your supplies. You will need:
– white mini mosaic hexagon tiles
– disposable dish or bowl (I used a plastic tray I saved from take out)
– nail polish
– toothpick or wooden skewer
– paper towels
– strong magnets (I used the 1/4″ magnets from Lee Valley Tools)
Start by prepping your work area. I made sure to have paper towel on hand to clean up any spills and also as a clean place to lay my tiles down to dry. Fill your disposable container with water. I tried cold water and hot water, but room temperature seemed to work best. Since my tiles were about an inch in diameter, I kept them attached to their mesh backing so that I could coat more than one at once. If you are doing larger tiles you can separate them and dip them individually.
Now for the fun part. Choose 2- 4 nail polish colours. I had so much fun experimenting with different colour combos. I found I had the best results when I included while nail polish. When you are ready to begin, pour your nail polish onto the surface of the water. Swirl it around gently with a toothpick or skewer. Holding onto one side of your tiles, carefully lay them onto the swirled polish, then lift straight out. This part takes some practice. If you hate how it turned out, don’t stress. Just use some nail polish remover to take the marbling off and try again.
Like I mentioned earlier, it took me a lot of trial and error to get marbling I was happy with. So here are some of the mistakes I made initially.
1) I discovered that if my water was too cold, the nail polish dried quickly on the surface of the water. It’s best to use room temperature water.
2) I tried to sprinkle and drip the nail polish onto the surface, but it was never enough. It would quickly spread and dry on the surface and when I tried to swirl or dip anything, it would end up a clumpy mess. Pouring the nail polish straight from the bottle is the best way to get enough sitting on the surface of the water, and keeps it from drying too fast.
3) Scooping or pushing my tiles through the water was disastrous. The nail polish just clumped to itself and left an awful texture on the tiles. I found placing the tiles directly onto the nail polish and lifting straight out worked the best.
In between colours, you can “clean” the surface of your water by swirling a toothpick or skewer around and gathering all the paint. I used the same water for 6 different marbling attempts.
Once you are happy with your marbled tiles, let them dry really well or overnight. Peel them off their mesh backing and use Gorilla glue to stick strong magnets onto the back. Don’t want to make fridge magnets? You can also try gluing them onto brass push pins for your cork board! Remember to let the glue dry really well before using them.
I’m so happy with the way my magnets turned out, and now that I have mastered the marbling process, I may be a little addicted. I might be making coasters next from larger tiles, or embellishing the outsides of coffee mugs.