DIY: Quick & Easy Nail Polish Marbling

Posted on 01 June 2017

What's better than a project that requires supplies you already have at home, takes about two minutes, and looks amazingly gorgeous in the end?

Nothing! Literally nothing is better!

Which is why we're so excited about this tutorial: nail polish marbling! Using regular old nail polish and some water, you can make beautiful marbling on ceramics like planters, mugs, vases, etc. 

The results are insanely cute you guys! Get ready to marble everything in your life, because that's what you're going to want to do. Let's get started!

What You'll Need

What you need to do this project is amazingly simple: just nail polish, water, a disposable container, and whatever you're planning to marble. Plain white ceramic pieces like planters, coffee cups, and vases are perfect for marbling.

Cheap nail polish is just fine, and we found that bright colors work best, as the color will look lighter in the finished piece. Avoid quick-dry nail polish for this project. 

Time To Marble!

To begin, fill a disposable container with warm water. (Be sure to choose a container that's large enough to allow you to dip your piece fully and swirl it around a bit.)

Holding the bottle very close to the surface of the water, pour out a bit of nail polish. You can try using anywhere from a few drops to a small stream of color. (You want to hold the bottle close to the surface of the water to encourage the paint to float on the surface of the water rather than sink to the bottom.)

Next, add a second color of polish if desired. 

At this point, the paint will immediately start to form a skin on top of the water. We found we got best results if we did not touch or disturb the skin at all, but rather move quickly to the next step and start dipping. (In other words, don't try to swirl the polish/skin at this stage to mix the colors -- this will just cause the paint to form a clump and make a mess!)

Now, it's time to dunk! Quickly dip the piece you're dyeing into the liquid, rolling it a bit to coat the surface of your piece. Try to avoid rolling the piece in such a way that the paint doubles back on itself, which can cause the paint to get gloppy. 

Pop the piece back out of the water, and behold the marbled beauty! 

That's all there is to it! To repeat and dye another piece, empty the water container entirely and use fresh water (otherwise you'll end up with random bits of the old paint on your next batch). Before dumping the container of water, you can skim the surface of the water with a paper towel or popsicle stick to pick up any remaining paint from the surface -- your plumbing will thank you.

Allow your piece to dry fully (ideally overnight). We suggest hand-washing any items you make, although you could also coat your finished piece with dishwasher-safe Mod Podge if you want to be able to toss it in the dishwasher.



  • This is one of those projects that sometimes seems like a total fail the first time you try it, then after a little practice, the magic starts to happen. We recommend doing a few practice tries on disposable cups or old mugs before attempting to dye a piece you care about. We swear, after a few tries, the results improve greatly!
  • Avoid using quick-dry nail polish.
  • Choose bold/dark colors of polish -- they will look lighter in the finished piece.
  • Work quickly once you add the polish to the water. It will start to dry and form a skin immediately, so have all your supplies ready and move swiftly!
  • Nail polish is not food-safe, so if you're marbling mugs or other dishware, dip them so that the paint is away from areas where your mouth or food will touch.


Happy marbling! If you try this DIY, we'd love to see what you make -- tag us @brooklyncraftcompany and #brooklyncraftcompany so we can peep on your projects! xo

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