Learn to marble a vase using nail polish and water with suminagashi. Watch a how-to video plus step-by-step instructions.
Hi Kenarry readers! It’s Jennifer and Kitty (the O’Neil Sisters, from RunningWithSisters.com), and we have a magical DIY vase project to share with you: how to marble a vase with Suminagashi!
What is Suminagashi?
Suminagashi is the Japanese art of marbling, traditionally done on paper. It works by drizzling paints or inks that aren’t water-based onto water, swirling the paints, then dragging the item you want to marble through the colorful swirls. The result is amazing! And it’s so fast and easy to do!
For this marbling project, we’re transforming a plain white vase using dollar-store nail polishes! It works because nail polish is essentially enamel paint – which isn’t water-soluble. Thus the magic! We’ll show you how to drizzle and swirl the nail polishes onto plain tap water. Then we’ll show you how to apply the swirled paint to marble a vase. It happens so fast, if you blink you might miss it!
We’re also sharing a video showing what materials you’ll need for this project and how to make it step by step. You can watch us do a test run first, then we’ll marble a vase before your very eyes. After you watch our demo, you can hit the ground running and marble your own vase in a flash!
How to Marble a Vase With Nail Polish – Suminagashi Style
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Materials & Tools
- White ceramic vase
- Disposable tub or plastic container (deep enough to submerge at least half of your vase)
- Nail polishes, various colors
- Nail polish, metallic gold
- Wooden craft sticks (to test with)
- Paper towels
1.) Prepare the vase
Wash and dry your vase to remove any fingerprints or oils from the surface.
2.) Fill a tub with water
Fill a disposable tub or plastic container with room temperature tap water. Make sure the water is deep enough to submerge at least half of your vase without the vase touching the bottom of the container.
3.) Do a quick test first
We recommend doing a test or two before you marble your vase so you can see how much paint to use, how to swirl the paints, and how best to dip the item you’re marbling. To do your test, drizzle several drops of nail polish onto the surface of your water.
Add a second color, then add the gold paint. Work very quickly –– the paints start to dry as they spread out on the water’s surface, so speed is key!
4.) Swirl the paints with a toothpick
Immediately swirl the paints with a toothpick. Don’t mix them too much or the colors will get muddy. Just drag a toothpick through the paints two or three times to create the swirled look.
5.) Test on the Craft Stick
Dip a craft stick straight down into the tub then lift it straight out.
The swirled nail polishes will cling to the craft stick and look marbled.
6.) Test again on a paper towel
To test again, drag a paper towel through the water in the tub to pull out any paint still floating on the surface. Then use this same technique above with a new craft stick. And do as many tests as you like until you get the marbled effect you’re looking for. (The nail polishes are cheap!)
7.) Make a fresh tub of water for the vase
When you’re ready to marble your vase, make sure you have a fresh tub of water with no paint left at the bottom. (We fished out all remaining paint from our tests with a craft stick, then dumped the water in our utility sink in the garage.)
8.) Drizzle more nail polish onto the water
Working quickly, drizzle each nail polish color onto the surface of the water in the tub.
Then use a toothpick to create your swirl.
9.) Dip the vase into the tub
Lower your vase straight down into the tub, making sure you don’t touch the bottom of the container.
10.) Lift it back out quickly
Quickly lift the vase straight back out and admire your marbling magic! To let the vase dry, turn it upside-down on a paper towel. The water will drip down the vase, but the enamel paints will not.
We love marbling with Suminagashi. Have you ever tried this technique before? What have you marbled? We’d love to hear your ideas. Leave us a comment! And write in with any questions you may have as you work on your project.
You may also want to try these Easy Decorative Pens Made with Polymer Clay for another marbling idea!
Jennifer & Kitty
More DIY Craft Ideas
Like this project? You should check out these DIY marbleized wine glasses! You might also like these crafts from the O’Neil Sisters:
While you’re here, be sure to check out other craft projects on Ideas for the Home by Kenarry® –