By Kathryn M. D’Imperio

Tie dyed nails can be the perfect accent to your outfit any time of year. You can tie dye your nails for a trip to the beach or just for something different to wear to work or school. You can create lovely or funky tie dyed nails using any colors of nail polish that you like. The nail art technique you must use to create a tie dye effect on your nails is called water marbling. You can water marble your nails in the comfort of your home to create lovely hippie style or ultra creative nail art designs.

Pink and green tie dyed water marbled nailsFor a fun and retro tie dye nail art design, choose bright or even fluorescent colors of nail polish for your nails. For my first attempt, I chose bright pink and green nail polish. You can use any colors you like, such as orange, yellow, red, blue, and any color combination at all. Once you decide on your colors, follow the steps below to create swirly or tie dye style manicures.

How to Water Marble Your Nails

water marbled tie dye nail artTo create a tie dye effect on your nails, you will need to try a technique called water marbling. This technique is a bit more advanced than basic painting for manicures and pedicures, but determined amateur nail artists and even beginners at nail art can still enjoy remarkable effects in water marbling at home. Remember, you might have to redo a couple of your nails if they don’t turn out how you like, but the finished effect is well worth the time!

When you water marble your nails, no two nails are alike. It is very tricky to get all your nails, or even one or two, to look very close to the next. This is part of the beauty of water marbling your nails – you can enjoy a dashing, creative look that sets each nail apart from the next. Embrace this and enjoy your nails, however they turn out!

completed pink and green water marbled nails

Materials for Water Marbling

materials for water marbling techniqueGather the following materials so you can water marble your nails or get a tie dye effect on your manicures:

Steps to Create Tie Dyed Nails (Water Marbling)

To create water marbled or tie dyed nail art, follow these steps:

  1. paint nails white before marblingPaint your nails with two coats of a soft or pure white color to give a good foundation and make the nail art pop.
  2. Fill a disposable cup with water.
  3. Open the lids to all the nail polish colors you plan to swirl or tie dye.
  4. Keep an orangewood / cuticle stick, Marbling tool, or toothpick handy for swirling the nail polish.
  5. Drip a drop of the first nail polish color onto the water. It should spread out across the surface.
  6. Quickly drip a drop of the next nail polish color on top of or next to the other color. Tip: You can drip more drops or more colors if you find you have enough time before the nail polish hardens on the water’s surface.
  7. Using the orangewood stick, cuticle stick, Marbling tool, or toothpick, swirl together the colors in any direction or fashion you like.messy water marbled nails
  8. Before the nail polish hardens, place one finger face down wherever you want the design on top of the water to transfer. You can first place some tape around the outside of your nail to make the cleanup process a bit easier.
    taped nail for water marbling
  9. Repeat the process nine more times so you can do each nail. The nail polish hardens too quickly to do all your nails in one shot, but you might be able to do two at a time if you added enough nail polish.

Complete pink and gree tie dyed water marbled nails

Water marbled nails carry the look of official professional nail art styles with a fun and funky flair. As soon as your friends and colleagues see your new tie dyed or swirled colors manicure, you are sure to start hearing requests for how they can do their nails the same way. As you become more comfortable with water marbling your nails, you should be able to increase the number of colors and the complexity of the designs. Have fun learning and practicing this style of beautiful and unique nail art!