Water marble nail is a nail art technique consisting of dropping nail lacquers into clear water creating a pattern on the surface which is then transferred to the nail. It can also be embellished with various drawings on the top layer of water.
The name water marble nail art, as well as the method itself, was developed by professional nail technicians operating out of nail salons in Japan, its country of origin. The style existed outside of the general public conscious until the 1990s when it was popularized by commercial publications released by shopping centers in Chiba, Japan, before which there had not been any known or large publicity for water marble nail art.
In 2010, water marble nail art evolved to include the method of using different products; such as acrylics and gels.
Water marble nail art has developed to gain popularity across the globe through features in magazines, websites, polish makers, videos,. Through its rising popularity, and consequently increasing accessibility, it has come to inspire new DIY nail enthusiasts.
There are two main types of water marble nail art methods: free-dropping and free-dragging. Free-dragging is far more common.
Dropped patterns range from dropped lacquer-colored shapes to complicated drawings, such as spirals, in-frames and geometric. The free patterns are created by dropped colors of nail lacquers. For free-dropping, lacquer colors are dropped straight or diagonally into the water. The pattern begins to float on the surface of the water.
Dragged patterns range from simple circular shapes to complicated drawings. Patterns such as marble, hearts-peacocks,[note 1] animals, flowers, leafs, parallels, psychedelics, spiderwebs and random patterns in the style of designer Emilio Pucci, are generally performed with nail lacquers and some kind of tool.
Water marble nail art requires clean water, nail lacquers for free-dropping, and a stick for drawing patterns. Before patterns are created, the subject's nails should be matte to provide contrast and maintain an even look. Lacquer colors are dropped in the circle created by the previous drop. The colors separate from the water and rise on the water's surface. The resulting pattern is ready for dipping the nail, but it can still be modified by creating different shapes with a stick. Later, the nail is dipped into the pattern on the water and kept under water as Q-tip is used to "grab" the remaining polish.
^The pattern called hearts is also called peacock because it is similar. The actual reason for the name "peacock" is because it is a word for a professional nail art technique. Drawing a "peacock" is one challenge to professional nail techniques sponsored by JNA.