Watermarble Stamping Tutorial

watermarble stamping 2 smackerlacquer

Um. YOU GUYZZZZ. Look what I did. Watermarble stamping. Not decals. Stamping. So, so, so much easier and far less clean up once you figure out the tricks! 

Watermarble Stamping

I stumbled upon this watermarble stamping because I was too lazy to wait for and deal with a decal. As you can see from the photo above it’s kind of awesome…right?

So what is watermarble stamping? It’s easy as pie is what it is. Start with a standard watermarble then dip your stamper into the design. Instead of waiting for it to dry and using the watermarble design as a decal, find the sweet spot in the drying timeframe and stamp it right on your nail. Boop. Done. And if you’re a superstar stamper you can get more than one nail out of the one stamper dip.

Pipe Dream Polish watermarble smackerlacquer

Watermarble Stamping Tutorial

I thought about waiting to take some more professional photos for an official tutorial but my iPhone 7+ photos look pretty damn good don’t they? I wanted to get this down on my blog to share, so no point in waiting.

Here’s a video, but keep reading to see my comments, tips and advice.

It’s not difficult to create a watermarble stamp, but it might take some practice and fussing with polishes and drying times.

DISCLAIMER – this tutorial assumes strong knowledge of both nail art stamping and watermarbling.  I don’t have beginner tutorials up for either of those techniques but it’s in the works 🙂

  1. Paint your nails the color of your choice (usually white for water marbles).
  2. Add a thin layer of Orly Bonder or similar sticky base to each nail you want to stamp with a watermarble design. This makes sure the decal will stick easily to your nail. If the decal has tried a bit too much it won’t stick to your regular dried polish base.
  3. Use a latex barrier around each nail you’ll be stamping, if you prefer for easy clean up.
  4. Start by creating a standard watermarble (above). I happened to use my brand new to me Pipe Dream Polish A Night in Vegas collection a friend so wonderfully gifted me for my birthday recently, but this technique works with all polish brands.
  5. Dip your stamper into the watermarble, just like you would your nails. Straight down, let the remaining floating polish dry (or blow on it), swirl it up to remove that excess polish while you keep your stamper head in the water.
  6. Gently remove the stamper from the water and hip! hip! hooray! you’ll have a wonderful little watermarle decal design hanging out on your stamper.
  7. Wait about 30 seconds, probably no more than a minute to allow the decal to set.
  8. Push that decal on your nail, FIRMLY, like any other stamping technique. When you remove the stamper, the polish decal should stick to your nail and have grabbed onto the entire nail and detach nicely from the rest of the decal.
  9. If you’re a superstar, stamp another nail or two with that same design! Or let it dry and use it as a regular decal.

Some tips:

  • Use a metal stamper holder so that you can easily clean off the excess polish with acetone.
  • Don’t put too many rings in your watermarble design because that builds up the polish too thickly and it won’t dry at the right speed and you’ll most likely get a smushed design.
  • Play around with waiting times between pulling the stamper head out of the water and stamping it. If you get the sweet spot the decal won’t stick to anything but the Orly Bonder and you’ll have zero clean up!!!
  • Try stamping on to multiple nails with the same decal!!!!
  • It’s better to wait a tad too long than too short to transfer it to your nail. If you wait too long then you simply have a nice little decal to pop on your nail.
  • Use a squishier stamper head so you can really press into all the angles and curves of your nail. It’s important connect the Orly Bonder and decal by pressing down firmly.

Trouble-shooting waiting time:

  • Decal does not stick to your entire nail: decrease the time you wait to transfer it and add another layer of Orly Bonder for good measure.
  • Decal that transfers to your nails is not detaching from the rest of the decal: decrease the time you wait to transfer it.
  • Watermarble design smushes when you transfer: increase the time you wait to transfer it.
  • Sometimes I had inexplicable bubbles. I don’t know why those happen.

Watermarble Stamping Look

Full disclosure, one of these nails turned into a decal, but I’m not sure which one. But look how nicely this technique works!! So, so, so  much less work and clean up!

I stamped over this (below) with a Cici & Sisi Jumbo Set 6 image using It Girl Nail Art Obsidian stamping polish.

Pipe dream polishes watermarble smackerlacquer

Pipe dream polish watermarble stamped smackeralcquer


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  • A bright and fun looking nail art. Love how the marble came out!

  • I am so using this technique all the time now!! Thank you for sharing!

  • Terri Lynn

    Where can the polishes and stamper you used be found? Love what you’ve done.

    • Hi Terri – unfortunately these polishes are long discontinued and the brand is out of business. However I have had luck with many polishes including mainstream brands such as China Glaze and Zoya. Any polish that water marbles nicely will work (which is a hunt in its own right). As for the stamper – any should do! But for this particular version there are many on the market similar to this from every nail art company (Bundle Monster, Pueen, Creative Shop, Winstonia, etc).