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How to Tie Dye Your Nails

by Virginia Pond, studioD

Gone are the days of plain monotone manicures. The intricate nail art trend appears to be here to stay. The tie-dye technique, or water marbling as it is sometimes called, is a particularly colorful style that is easy to create at home, yet looks like the work of a seasoned professional. All you need to adorn your digits with funky spirals and swirls are a few tools and a bit of patience.

Coat your nails with the clear base. Once the base coat is dry, apply up to two coats of white nail polish. You could apply another color aside from white, but white polish will give you a true blank canvas to display your nail art.

Once your base coats are dry, apply the petroleum jelly to your fingers and cuticles. This will keep the nail polish from sticking to your skin when dunking your fingers in the water. Make sure you don't get any of the jelly onto your nails, or the polish won't stick to them either.

Fill the bowl with one cup of warm water (a plastic cup would also work), and start pouring in small amounts of your chosen nail colors. Pour two or three drops of each color in the center of the bowl, one at a time, and it will start to look like a bull's eye as the colors spread out into larger circles. You will need at least two colors to marble together, but the more colors you add the more colorful and detailed your pattern will be.

Run your toothpick through the polish to create a pattern. You can swirl the toothpick around randomly or run it evenly back and forth for a more uniform design.

When satisfied with your design, dip your fingers in the polish and water, one at a time. Let your nails soak in the polish for one to two minutes to ensure it sticks to the nail.

Once every nail has been dipped, soaked and removed from the polish, let them dry completely. Seal your new nails with a clear top coat, then tidy any messy edges with fingernail polish remover and a Q-tip.

Items you will need
  •  Clear nail base coat
  •  Opaque white nail polish
  •  Petroleum jelly
  •  Two to five shades of nail polish of your choice
  •  Shallow bowl
  •  Warm water
  •  Toothpick
  •  Clear nail top coat
  •  Acetone nail polish remover
  •  Q-tips

About the Author

Virginia Pond is a Chicago-based writer. She earned her bachelor's degree in English from Indiana University.

Photo Credits

  • Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images