Marbling: A How-To Tutorial


If you are a crazy hoarder lady like me, you probably have a bucket of nail polishes lying around the house. No? Y’all didn’t used to compulsively buy new nail polish every time you were at Target?

No? Just me? Cool.

Well, most of us have at least a few polishes lying around that we haven’t used in ages but can’t bring ourselves to throw away. I now have an excellent use for your old polishes: Marbling! And not to worry – I’m not going to try to do marble nail polish. I have tried it in the past and have been wildly unsuccessful. So, not again. And not ever on the internet.

The marbling I’m going to show you how to do is for Art. I suggest you do this outside, because being in a closed room with a bunch of nail polish can be headache inducing and will leave whatever room you’re in smelling like nail polish for days. No one wants that.

Now I’ll be honest: this was harder than I thought it’d be. Getting the water to the perfect mixing temperature was not a thing I ever figured out, so mine turned out much more Pollock-y than originally planned, but they still look frakking cool.



  1. A plastic container (something you don’t care about because you’re getting nail polish alllll up in it)
  2. Warm water
  3. Gesso Board, Canvas, or cardstock. (The gesso board was the easiest to handle and easiest to lift out of the nail polish)
  4. 2-5 nail polishes (non quick drying work the best for this – timing is very important with this project)
  5. Gloves – cheap, disposable gloves.
  6. Old Newspaper or Drop Cloth (Just something to set everything out on so your working surface doesn’t get destroyed)
  7. A stick of some sort to mix the polishes (toothpicks work fine, so do popsicle sticks)

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  1. Set everything out within arms reach (as I said in the supplies section, you have to do everything quickly or the nail polish will start to dry and won’t adhere to the paper)
  2. Fill your plastic container with about ½ – 1 inch of warm water
  3. Put on your gloves
  4. Pour in your nail polishes (do this part quickly – maybe even get a friend to help)MarblingArt_NerdsAndNomsense-3
  5. Swirl the nail polishes together until you’re happy with the look of it (if the polish is clumpy try cooling or heating up the water a little more until you can easily swirl the nail polish to your heart’s content. or if you get frustrated and can’t figure out the exact warm water temp just get it looking how you want and move to the next step)MarblingArt_NerdsAndNomsense-6
  6. Place your gesso board in the container pushing gently (don’t submerge it!)MarblingArt_NerdsAndNomsense-4 MarblingArt_NerdsAndNomsense-5
  7. After a few seconds lift the gesso board straight up out of the container
  8. If you missed a spot on the paper, put it back in the container making sure to press down on the spot that got missed by the polish.
  9. Let it dry.MarblingArt_NerdsAndNomsense-8 MarblingArt_NerdsAndNomsense-9
  10. And now, you have ART!


I’m being a bit sneaky and using these as my Mother’s Day gifts for my mom, but they’re great for cards, posters and just general wall art. And it’s a fun project to do with lots of people. You can do House Colors (for Harry Potter), superhero colors, your favorite colors, someone else’s favorite colors, or anything you want!

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As with lots of trendy Pinteresty things, there are lots of tutorials out there for fancier marbling with photographs or even on fabric, but for now I’ll stick to this. I hope your projects turn out well!


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