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Swirly Nail Fail

swirled nailsThis marbled nail polish tutorial is all over the internet – you’ve probably seen it on Pinterest, in all its psychedelic neon glory. Most of the pins have instructions attached, but a click to find the source doesn’t seem to go anywhere (Surprise!). I did find a post on Pin Cookie that claimed swirly fingernail success, but they didn’t claim the idea was originally theirs.

Wherever the photo came from, you’re supposed to be able to achieve this look by dripping nail polish into a dish of water, mixing it up, and dipping your petroleum jellied fingertips into the bowl.

To say I’m “kind of skeptical” of this manicure is a massive understatement. That’s like saying elephants are “kind of heavy,” or that my neighbor nailing new siding up on his house right outside my daughter’s window while she’s trying to sleep is “kind of annoying.”

All I can picture is a swirly soup of muddied colors, wet unpolished fingers, and a ruined bowl. But reader Lacie of Domesticated Breakdown was willing to give it a shot. After all, it pays to be optimistic!

nail failWell, it is sort of psychedelic, but not exactly in the way she intended. I think you all know what I’m going to say here…

nail fail NAILED ITFor more funny, join Robyn at Hollow Tree Ventures, where she’s “kind of skeptical” her neighbor will survive many more late-night home improvement projects.

4 Responses to Swirly Nail Fail

  1. Fire says:

    I’ve attempted this myself and, while I haven’t yet achieved “psychadelic neon glory” (great term for it, by the way), I can tell you what went wrong. Too much swirling! You’ll only be able to drag the toothpick through the polish 2-4 times MAX. Otherwise the colours will mix and you’ll end up with the kind of muddy grey Lacie got.

    Oh, and I promise it looks better once the area around the nail is cleaned up! Try waiting an hour then gently using a wet soapy nail brush. Most of it should brush right off the skin.

  2. WILDCHILD says:


  3. Amanda says:

    I’ve done this numerous times. Have used Vaseline and scotch tape to protect the skin. I prefer tape. Also, room temp water, a few quick drips of polish, a couple swirls and dip. Have to be quick about it.

  4. Marshall Hughes says:

    I am a cosmetologist and I can tell u that u did that wrong it is not an easy method to do but very pretty when done correctly

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