10 January 2016

Pinterest DIY: Marbelized Makeup Brushes

Finished Product!
Pinterest can be misleading and I often find that what someone will say is a "simple" project, is anything but. However, I decided to give marbelizing a try for one of the Christmas presents I DIYed this year and it turned out to be pretty easy!

I'd seen marbelizing a few different places, but the tutorial I followed was this one from A Bubbly Life. I found her instructions to be clear and her tips helpful. You may recall my post about my five must-have brushes. I picked up one of each from Walmart since they're inexpensive, have a white handle that I figured would make a good canvas for this project, and they're my favorite! The person I was going to give them to was my sister, which is why I decided to go with pink marbling. I could have easily used polish I already owned, but I decided to pick out a pink that was more "her" and then gave the polish to her as part of her gift. Her nails can match her brushes! I used a NYC polish, because they're a bargain at $1. Wet n wild also makes an inexpensive polish that would work great for this project.

You'll need:

  • Makeup brushes with a solid color handle (or whatever you intend to marbelize)
  • Jar, bowl, or cup of warm water (nail polish does stick to it a bit, so don't use anything you don't mind winding up with a bit of polish stuck to it)
  • Nail polish in color(s) of your choice 
  • Paper product to cover your work surface
  • Painter's tape (optional, but certainly makes it easier)
  • Straws to practice with (again, optional, but I found it very helpful)
First, set up your work station. I have loads of extra packing paper from when we moved, so I used that to cover my work surface. This isn't a terribly messy project, but it gave me peace of mind knowing that I didn't have to worry about accidentally getting paint on the coffee table. Fill your container most of the way to the top with warm water. As you can see from the photo below, polish built up a bit on the inside of the jar as I worked. It did come off quite easily with nail polish remover, but I won't be using this jar for food any time soon. Keep that in mind when selecting your container. The other thing I did to prep was I put painter's tape around the farrow of my brushes (the metal part that holds the bristles) to ensure that I could get my marbling all the way to the edge but have it stop where I wanted it to.

Jar of warm water ready to marbelize (this was after a few test runs, hence the polish up the sides).
Bubbly Life recommends doing a few test runs with a straw (or some other disposable object similar in size and shape to whatever you're marbelizing). I highly recommend doing this. It took me a few tries to get the hang of what I was doing. While it's very easy, there is sort of an art to knowing when to dip your item in, how fast to dip it, and the right amount of swirl to give it. I also used the straws to try out colors. You can use just one color or multiple colors. I settled on just using the one color as I liked how it came out best. I also found it was hard to get more than one color into the jar and swirl before it started to dry too much.

The actual marbelizing is quite simple. Put a few drops of polish into your jar. I generally used 3ish for my brushes. Again, that's something  you can test with your straws. Bubbly Life tells you to "gently swirl the bowl." I found that to be unnecessary and result in the paint all over the jar (as you can see in the earlier photo). What I did was put the polish in and give it a couple seconds to spread. You don't want it to look like individual drops in the water, you want it to look more like a grease film spreading over the surface. Once the polish has spread, dip the brush in making a sort of swirling, corkscrew motion as you go down. If you dip straight down, it all sort of globs on the end of it. Sort of think of trying to hit the film of paint in different locations as you dunk it. Almost like when they put the cotton candy onto the paper cones. It's weird and sort of hard to describe, which is why testing it out with the straws is so helpful. You can dial in how much paint you like to use, how long you can wait before it dries to much, and how to get the motion down just right. The biggest thing to keep in mind that the polish will dry pretty quickly. If you wait too long after dropping it in the water, you'll end up with clumps instead of a nice thin film of paint.
Brushes drying just after having dipped them.
Once I'd dipped the brushes, I set them on a straw to start drying. The polish is only tacky at best once they're out of the water, so it won't stick to the straw, but I was afraid that setting them straight onto the paper might be a bad plan. Once I'd finished dipping them all and cleaned up everything, I used clothespins to hang them from a wire hanger, bristle sides up (so the opposite of how you'd dry them if you'd just washed them). I let them dry over night to make sure they were completely dry and then removed the painter's tape.
Finished product! This was the one I thought came out the best.
And that's it! Pretty simple and the results are gorgeous. I liked how some brushes came out better than others, but they all came out nice enough to be gifts.
Marbelized and back in their original packaging.
Before I wrapped them up, I put them back in their original plastic packaging. You'd almost think I bought them that way! This is certainly a Pinterest DIY that I'd highly recommend. It's simple, quick, not too messy, and the results are fabulous.


  1. I thought you bought them that way! I thought they were some sort of special edition thing. They're so pretty!!

    1. That's the Pinterest project I'd texted you turned out really well but that I couldn't tell/show you what it was. :)

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