Superficial snack: rainbow water-marbled nails

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Rainbow nails are the shit, whether you're matching a full-on rainbow wedding or just want to sneak in a little funky touch. Twitter user @exceedingly sent us this video tutorial on how to create that water-marbled nails look. And of course, you can do this with any color combination!

Full disclosure: this looks pretty advanced. Try it a few times well before the wedding to make sure you've got the technique down. Or just take the photos to your manicurists and see if they can tackle it for you. If all else fails, rainbow glitter nail polish or nail bling to the rescue.

Anyone doing fancy pants nails for the wedding? Let us know in the comments.

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Comments on Superficial snack: rainbow water-marbled nails

  1. So I tried do the rainbow nails, it was not easy but after a few tries got it to work. One tutorial did have a great hint: the higher quality polishes do in fact work better for this. However, I got it to work with polish from Hot Topic so you don’t have to go too high class.

    As for my nails, just going with (hopefully) gray tips.

  2. Well, I’m married already, but this is AWESOME. I may have to stop biting my nails. :/

  3. OMG that is mind meltingly awesome! Nail polish in water??? Who knew?? Must try… I have 2 little girls I could practice on too

  4. My sister and I discovered this awhile back and we made a mess of the nail polish before we figured out the right way to do this! It defiantly takes some practice before it looks good like the video.

    The way I did them for a semi-formal event was I bought the french nail guide tape from Sally’s and I tye-dyed the tips. It looked really cool.

    Also, crackle nail polish over it would look sweet!

  5. I. DIE.

    nancy is gonna hate me when i come in with this video! may not be the look i go for on my wedding day, but i do love me some crazy paint jobs on my acrylics…

  6. You can also cheap out and use scotch tape instead of buying fench manicure tape. I’m thinking of a french manicure with turquoise tips.

  7. I don’t think this is mentioned in the tutorial, but people often comment on other, similar tutes that it’s best to use filtered water. I’m not 100% sure why, but I can say that I tried to do this with my parents super chlorinated tap water and had absolutely no luck.

    • Mixing any kind of paint with water generally works better with distiller or filtered water. Tap water generally has a lot of minerals and debris that can get caught in, and gunk up your paint.

      Hope this tip helps. 😀

  8. Tried it…it’s super cool when you get it to work, but can be incredibly frustrating.
    Certain polishes work well and others don’t (I did not find that expensive polish worked better, some of them actually sunk).
    Don’t take too long dripping polish into the water or it starts to set/dry and doesn’t swirl.

    Don’t forget to wrap your finger in scotch tape…very messy to try to clean up your fingers without the tape.

    • What worked be for me polish wise was a thin polish. My older polishes that are of a thick consistency did not well.

      I’ll second the use of scotch tape.

      I have a thin polish that is glow in the dark that I hope to try out soon.

  9. User review: is easier than it looks and I don’t have a very steady hand. It’s my signature look to do one ring finger and one thumb differently from the other nails so this was perfect. I used 2 colors and used the lighter orange color as a base coat instead. The first drop of polish spreads to make a membrane-like surface across the water then I used 2 cranberry and 1 orange drops.
    Tip: just as you are ready to dip in you have to split that membrane or the whole big surface area of the membrane will come up and wrap around your nail right where you are trying to get the polish on. I wound up with a big wrinkled mess. The mixture lasts for just seconds I was not able to “double dip”. It turned out rather nicely, I say.

  10. It looks nice when it works. You need to use good nail polish and the nail polish and water need to be the same temperature. It does take a few tries to figure out what you’re doing.

  11. Congratulations! Once again you have managed to make my heart explode with OMGness. Must give this a try.

  12. Wow! This is amazing! I love the color of the nails. They look so pretty. After watching the video,I wish I make a heart rainbow nail.

  13. I keep my nail polish in the fridge: what does this mean in relationship to water temperature, does anyone know?

  14. I have spent hours trying to get this to work, but with cheap nail polish it doesn’t but with the more expensive ones work. BUT also insted of tap use patrolleum (sp?) jelly. Put it all around your finger and it works great. It comes right off.

  15. Instead of tape, try painting a layer of Elmer’s glue around your nails down to the first knuckle and let dry before dipping. After polish drys it peels off with the extra polish on skin and requires little to no clean/touch up. Got it first try, they look amazing!

  16. I have fat fingers, so I don’t do fingernails. Anybody think of a way to make this work on toes?

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