How to Put Tape on Your Nails for Marble Nails

Wow your friends with marbled nail art.
... Jupiterimages/Goodshoot/Getty Images

Many nail-art designs require a steady hand -- with just one slipup, your paint job gets ruined. If you're pining for a low-pressure design, try nail marbling. With this technique, you dip your nails directly into the polish, so it's harder to mess up. Marbling makes a mess of your fingers, though, so it pays to protect your skin with tape before beginning. By applying the tape properly, you won't get a drop of polish on your digits.

Fill a small glass with lukewarm water, then add a single drop of clear nail polish. The clear polish helps your colored polishes disperse and prevents them from blending together.

Add one drop of your desired nail-polish color. Wait for the polish to spread out across the surface of the water. Add another drop of a different-colored polish to the center of the first color. Let it spread out in the water. Repeat this for as many colors as you'd like.

Drag a cuticle stick gently through the polish to create your design. The colors should look swirled -- but not blended -- together.

Paint your nails with a light-colored polish, if desired. This gives your marble design a base to adhere to. You might find this useful if you're new to marbling. Wait for your nails to dry fully.

Wrap the skin around your nails with masking tape or clear tape. Tape your fingers from the nail cuticle down to the first knuckle. Cover the side, top and bottom of each fingertip with tape, leaving only the nail exposed.

Dip one fingernail into the polish and hold it there for a few seconds. Lift the nail out and check the design. If the polish didn't stick, dip the nail back in and try again. Repeat this with the rest of your nails.

Allow your nails to dry completely, then carefully peel off the tape. Do not rip the tape off. Doing so may damage your design.

Dip a cotton swab in nail-polish remover if you have any color on your skin. Wipe the polish away, taking care not to smudge your design or remove the color from your nails.

Cover nails with a top coat of clear polish, then let dry. The top coat protects your design from chipping.

  • If you're in a rush, save marbling for another time. This technique takes up to one hour to finish.
  • Any colors work for marbling. Use a rainbow of your favorites, or try different shades of the same color. For example, if you like pink, try colors such as peach, magenta or neon pink together.
  • Once you feel comfortable with this technique, try dipping two fingers at a time into the polish instead of one. This saves you time and you finish faster.

Melissa King began writing in 2001. She spent three years writing for her local newspaper, "The Colt," writing editorials, news stories, product reviews and entertainment pieces. She is also the owner and operator of Howbert Freelance Writing. King holds an Associate of Arts in communications from Tarrant County College.