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Why Does Nail Polish Float On Water? [ Answered ]

Quoting Ken Johnsen, the components of the nail polish are less dense than water; hence it floats on water. A Nail Polish consists of three ingredients; binder: the glue which helps in holding onto your nails; pigment: the nail color; and vehicle: solvent, which comprises all into a liquid form. 

Many of us love marble nail polish, and we want to try it at home. But before that, many of us wonder as to why nail polish floats on water. It is due to the density of the nail polish that allows it to float on water. 

Why Does Nail Polish Float On Water

Binder usually has the same density as water, pigments are denser than water, hence tend to sink, and solvents are not so dense and float on water.

After weighing all the three ingredients together, can the density be procured? The density of the liquid nail polish is less than water; hence it floats on water.

The solvent starts evaporating once the polish starts floating on water. The color on the nails is the same as the glob left behind in the water. The polish does not sink in water if its density is low. 

How Do You Make Nail Polish Float On Water?

Many of us love marbling nails as they look beautiful, creative, and fun. But we often wonder how to do it at home. Don’t worry! I’ll take you through some steps to do marbling at home. But before that, let’s go through the things you’ll require. 

  1. A nail file to shape your nails. 
  2. Any light color nail polish you want to use as a base color. 
  3. Three or more various shades for the marble effect. 
  4. Water in a small cup, either warm or room temperature. 
  5. Nail polish remover to clean up the sides. 
  6. A toothpick to shape the polish according to your nails. 
  7. A brush to clean up the excess polish. 
  8. A top coat for a better shine and grasp on the color. 

Step 1: How to prepare the marbled water 

  • First, you need to apply a base coat to your nails as it allows your nail polish to last for a longer period and stops your nails from staining. You could also apply white nail polish to make your nails look bright. But if you don’t want to apply white, you can always choose a lighter shade. Let the paint dry up before proceeding to the next step.
  • You can then apply Elmer’s glue, petroleum jelly, scotch tape, or cuticle oil to cover your fingers near your nails. It would help if you made a water solution after this, so to prepare your water take a small glass cup. A paper cup would also be of great help. 
  • I will advise you to keep a newspaper to prevent the area from becoming dirty. Having a newspaper will ensure that the polish spills over it and not mess up the surroundings. It will also save you from the hard work of cleaning it. 
  • Next, you need to fill the cup with warm or room temperature water. Please don’t fill the cup to the brim; instead, fill it to about 3/4th of the size. Arrange the nail polish colors you want to use. Put all the shades immediately in the cup to create a design. Avoid keeping the color in water for a long time, as it will cause it to become dry. 
  • Many nail polishes don’t work in marbling, so choose the best brands and keep a few extra nail polishes. Select newly bought nail polishes as the old ones set quickly and dry off. Keep all the lids of the nail polish bottle open to put all the colors quickly. After this, you need to choose two to three colors for marbling. 
  • Many nail polishes sometimes sink due to high density, but you will have to try again. Put one drop of one color on the water and let it spread out a little. Rotate the glass until it thins out. If it does not spread out. 
  • After this, choose the second color and put a drop in the center of the first shade. Use the first shade as the third drop and the second shade as the fourth if you don’t have more than two colors. You can use as many as twelve drops to make your nails attractive.
  • Lastly, with the help of a toothpick, drag the color from the center to various directions to create your design. Please don’t make it too long; keep it small, so you nail the design. 

Step 2: How to decorate your nails

  • Keep your nails on the pattern and lower them slowly into the water. Hold it for a few seconds so that the nail polish sticks to your nail and cleans the water surface.
  • Now lift your nails and take them out of the water very carefully. If the nail polish has stuck to your fingers, then with the help of a toothpick, cut it and separate it from your nails. 
  • Water on your nails can form gaps or bubbles on your nails. So, if there is water on your nails, flick away the water. 
  • You can then use a cotton ball to clear and wipe away the nail polish around the nails. Try using a remover and carefully remove the polish from the skin. 
  • Repeat the same process with the next nail. If there is nail polish remaining in the water, then with the help of the toothpick, you can move the nail polish from the water. 
  • Once the nail polish dries off, then apply a top coat to seal it from chipping off. Voila, your art is ready!


Many people wonder how to make marble nails, so I hope this article was of some help in understanding how to do marble nails at home. Please don’t wait any longer; get them.