Tie-Dye Your Fingernails

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Introduction: Tie-Dye Your Fingernails

Is one, solid shade of nail polish just not doing it for you?
Problem solved.
Here is an easy and fun tutorial on how to marble your fingernails, or how to give them a tie-dyed feel.

Step 1: Materials

1. Shallow container of water (I find that cool or room temperature works best)
2. Scotch tape (or any different preffered type of resist - such as rubber cement)
3. Paper towel (just to keep things from getting too messy)
4. A couple toothpicks
5. Needle
6. Nail polish
    - one color for a base coat
    - at least two more for the designs
7. Not pictured: clear coat of polish

Step 2: Paint a Base Coat

Paint your nails with a base coat, just like you normally would. One layer is fine.
I chose pink for mine. :)

Step 3: Tape Your Finger

Use the scotch tape to sort of seclude your fingernail. Put it on the skin all around your nail - this is so when we put the design on the nail, the paint does not get all over the rest of your finger.

Step 4: Start Putting Drops in the Water

Once you get your finger prepped you can start making your design.

Choose another color (I chose teal-ish) and let paint drip from the brush into the saucer of water.

When it drips into the water it should disperse a little bit.

Take your second color (I chose yellow) and let it drip in the same manner, in the middle of the first color.

Keep doing this, alternating colors just a few times. The more colors you use the more you can alternate - since I only used two colors I only alternated about 4 times. But you can really do it as many as you please.

Step 5: Swirl!


With the needle draw some lines in the colors. This will make everything swirl and twist, and be wonderful!

Step 6: Dip!


Pick your favorite spot on the design and gently dip your taped finger into the water. You can completely submerge the finger, and the polish will adhere to the nail.

I had a difficult time photographing this part, as both of my hands are full, but dip the toothpick in the water beside your nail and sort of twirl it around to pick up the excess polish in the water.

Slowly lift your finger out of the water, remove the tape, and marvel at your creation.


**For every nail you do, you do need to make new drops.
Use the toothpick to pick up any excess polish in the water before beginning on the next one.**

Step 7: Finishing Up

After doing the rest of your nails in the same manner, paint over them all with a clear coat.

After that you'll have beautiful, and completely unique nails. :D

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    46 Discussions

    I really like this idea! Thank you for keeping it posted even now 2 years later.:)

    Do you "dip" your fingernail into the bowl, or lay it ontop of the color/ pattern? It seems like dipping it would cause the pattern to move, hitting the tip of the nail first then sliding down, therefore looking different when you pull it out.

    ok i did this and i put the colors in the water at room tempurature and it just sat there. and didnt do anything. then i used the needle to spin it all around and it stuck to the needle. i took it off and it did the same thing. So now what shall i do? i loved the idea i think it would work but iam just not doing something right?!?

    1 reply

    When you put the polish in the water you can't let it sit on top of the water very long. You have to work verrry quickly or it will dry and you won't be able to swirl the colors around.

    Wait so we only tape AROUND the finger nail or ontop the finger nail too? I can't really tell... Lol. BTW, this is such a cool nail design!

    1 reply

    Thx for the great idea! I am making red & green nails for christmas!!!!! i hopefully will post a pic but probs not :)))))

    1 reply

    Did all ten nails with a indigo red, pink, poppy,salmon and black with indigo red as the base and they turned out awesome!

    1 reply

    i did it on just one nail to see how it would come out. i will definitely try it again on the rest some time :)

    I don't paint my fingernails cause I am a baker, but i am gonna try this on my toes!

    i tried this out! but my nail polish seems to be mixing with the water and forming a plastic sheet! help! :( it is an excellent idea!

    2 replies

    Hmm, this happens to me every now and then too.... for next time, if the water was room temperature, the only thing I can think of now is how quickly you are working with the polish once it is dripped into the water. If it sits on the surface of the water too long it will dry and just pull across the water instead of swirling when you try to make a design with the needle.

    So just try and work quickly when you get your drops in the water. You may even have to restrict the number of drops you use if they take too long to fall from the brush.