How to Marbleize Old Beads with Nail Polish


I used to do my nails all the time.  Since I have become a full-time crafter and DIYer, it just doesn’t make sense to go to the trouble of painting my nails when they are just going to get covered by layers of spray paint, grout, or whatever else I’m working with.

It was time for those paints to serve a new purpose… bead marbling!

If you are on Pinterest, you have certainly seen one of the million tutorials for marbling your fingernails with polish.  This project uses the same process, but instead of marbling your nails (and your entire fingertip from the pictures I’ve seen) you marbleize small objects!
I was inspired by Aunt Peaches back in October when she used the process to marbleize some small pumpkins.  It opened my eyes to all the things that could be wonderfully marbled with just a bit of cheap nail polish!

Slowly tip your nail polish bottle over the cup, letting drops of polish fall into the water.  If your polish is new enough, it should dissipate on the surface of the water or float back up to the top.  Old nail polish will glob together and sink to the bottom of the cup like a broken lava lamp.


Continue to float as many colors of polish on the water as you would like.  This slightly gory-looking combination consists of a plain red, a flat pink, and a shimmery mauve.  You can either leave the polish as it lies, or swirl it with skewer.
You can get several dips out of one batch of marbled polish.  After you have used up the first batch, you can float more right in the same cup of water.  After a while, some nail polish will begin to harden on the surface of the water though, and then you will have to switch to a fresh cup.


I test drove my marbling skills with some large buttons from my stash.  I unbent a paper clip and threaded it through the buttonholes.


The paperclip was a handy way to dunk the button into the polish without getting my fingers all messy.  You can also dip beads with a paperclip.
Dip the object (bead, button or otherwise) into the marbled polish.  Allow any excess polish to drip off over the cup of water.  Then transfer the object to a safe place for it to dry.  Repeat on ALL THE THINGS.


I used a combination of pink and purple polish for the buttons, and they turned out beautifully!  As you can see on the top left button, the nail polish slightly closed up the buttonholes on some of the buttons.  Just shove a paperclip through the button hole (or a needle if you are using small buttons) to open the holes back up.


I bought a strand of dated beads last year when I was prepping for my Nautical Charm Bracelet.  I think I paid $1 for the whole strand at the thrift store, but I wasn’t likely to use them as is.  They were aching for an update.  I used a combination of pink polishes to dip the beads.  I really liked the way the black base of the beads plays off of the shimmering pinks.
After the beads had dried, I strung them on a piece of thread to keep them organized.  Now I have a custom set of marbled beads whenever I get an urge to do some jewelry making.


Of course, I couldn’t stop there.  I mixed up some turquoise and hot pink polish for some of the pearl white beads.


Those beads will grab your attention!


The beads from the red and pink batch turned out well too. I am not sure I like them all together, but mixed in with some solid color or metallic beads, I think they would look very nice.


The last batch I did were these teeny spacer beads.  You can’t tell from the picture, but they are about 1/4” in diameter.  I dipped the gold tone beads into bronze and mauve paint.  I think these might be my favorites out of all of them!
Now I am going to be on the look for some pretty green nail polish the next time I am at the dollar store to try to make some faux malachite beads.  What colors would you marble together?

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Thanks,  Jessica
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    • madincrafts says

      It depends on the items you are marbling. You only need enough so that the item you are marbling is covered when it is submerged.


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