Screen Shot 2015-01-15 at 11.22.56 PM

Video Tutorial: How to Use Alcohol Inks to Create Marble or Granite Nail Designs

Hi everyone,

The other day on Facebook I saw some really interesting and gorgeous nail art by Joey Helland where she used alcohol inks to create the look. I remembered I had purchased some a few months ago and Joey’s pictures got me inspired to try them.

For those that don’t already know, alcohol inks (I’m using Adirondack brand) are essentially dyes mixed with alcohol (and Ethanol, Propylene Glycol Methyl Ether) and they are used in crafts such as card making, scrapbooking and stamping. Turns out they make for some really cool nail art too, especially stone, marble and granite looks. You can also get some lovely subtle watercolor looks. They are reactive with Isopropyl alcohol to create some really beautiful designs.

In my experiments so far, I used art brushes, cosmetic sponges, Saran Wrap, dotting tools and a spray bottle with alcohol as just a few tools to create the looks below. On to the pretty pictures! Video is below.











These can be used with gel and regular polish.

If you use regular polish you will need to ‘set’ the ink before you topcoat as the solvents in the topcoat will smear the ink. I have had a few people suggest using hairspray to set the ink, let it dry and apply topcoat.

If using with gel topcoat, there is no need to set the ink. Simply float a layer of gel topcoat with minimal brush strokes and pressure over the ink and you shouldn’t have any smearing.

All samples are over white gel polish and topped with gel topcoat.

Since this is a dye, be sure to mask off the skin either with liquid latex, peel off glue base, or tape. If you do get the ink on your skin, simple wipe off with isopropyl alcohol.

Aren’t they cool…so many possibilities. I have more colors on the way from Amazon, so I may have more examples to show you. If you would like to learn how to do this just check out the video below.


Purchase here


28 comments on “Video Tutorial: How to Use Alcohol Inks to Create Marble or Granite Nail Designs

  1. Joyce

    Wow… just wow!

    1. Kim

      I know, right! These are so fun to play with.

  2. Angie

    Awesome and beautiful as always, great ideas.

    1. Kim

      Thanks very much Angie!

  3. Constantlypolished

    Okay, this is genius!! I’m going to Hobby Lobby ASAP! I will tag you on Instagram with my creations. Thank you so much forn this tutorial.

    1. Kim

      Would love to see your creations! Hope you have fun with them!

      1. Candice


        Okay, I went out and bought several inks to play with. I watched your video far too many times (lol) and I got the technique down pat for the stone. I wasn’t sure what you meant when you said you need to let the ink set up prior to topcoat. I thought you meant you need to make sure it’s all the way dry, so I waited several minutes and then applied Seche Vite which destroyed the design. I figured it might, but I wanted to try anyway since I’ve never used gel. Then I tried setting it with hairspray as was suggested and I tried with seche vite again and that didn’t work either.

        Finally I remembered that I had some gel nail strips from sally hansen that came with a mini led lamp, so I tried that. SUCCESS…. Barely. When I applied the gel topcoat, It looked beautiful. I cured it under the lamp for 30 seconds as recommended with the directions in the box, but when I went to wipe the sticky layer off, my design shrunk up and it was ruined. :( I’m sure it’s user error as I have never done get before. Do you happen to hve any ideas where I went wrong with the gel? Maybe I needed to cure it more?

        I absolutely love the effects you can get with these inks, and if I can’t get this right it’s going to drive me nuts.

        1. Kim

          The only thing I can think of is the gel top coat is the issue. I’ve used 3 different gel tops on my samples and haven’t had shrinking issues. I used LeChat, IBD and Kiss tops, all work nicely. Personally, I’m not a fan of the SH gel top. It could also be the lamp under-curing the gel. Other than that, I’m at a loss. :(

          1. Candice

            Thank you. I think you’re right. I did some searching around on this issue, and it also could be that my base was regular polish. Lol Some people use regular polish with gel just fine, but it takes 24 hrs for the solvents in regular polish to cure, so if you apply a gel topcoat too soon, the slippage problem like I had can occur. Also, the SH lamp is a mini LED, and many people complained that it was too small. It would cure the top of the nail, but not the sides.

            I ended up buying some gelish polish and a decent lamp (gelish 18g) so I hope to have better results soon.

            Thank you for your reply.

  4. Wendys Nail ReTreat

    Very Origional, outside the box thinking if you ask me. I can’t wait to try this. TY

    1. Kim

      Thank you. I hope you do give it a try, they are so fun!

  5. Melissa

    If you don’t have alcohol inks at the moment but really want to make a design like this (like me!) You can use sharpie markers! Its not quite as easy, and I’ve only done it over gel polish. Simply color random patterns directly on the nail with the colors of your choice and use the alchohol in the same manner as in the video :) like I said not quite as easy but it works in a pinch!

    1. Kim

      That’s a really cool idea! Thanks for sharing!

  6. Pingback: How to get this look? - Salon Geek

  7. theresa

    I can’t get my inks to work I’ve dotted the ink on my white base coat but it just as I dotted it am I not using enough ink

    1. Kim

      How are you ‘dotting’ on the ink? What percentage of alcohol are you using?

  8. Marisol

    I’m going to practice. I love the technique. Thank you!!!!

  9. mavis

    Hi.can this technique be used on acrylic nails?

    1. Kim

      Yes, I would probably use over a complete acrylic mani, topcoat buffed to remove shine, then the ink and then topcoat.

      1. Robin

        I wondered the same thing, because I’ve seen the technique on the internet done by several different people but never on someone’s actual hand. I was wondering how safe the alcohol ink is for use on actual nails.

        1. Kim

          Personally, since the ingredients are basically alcohol and dye, I have no problem with them and had no issues when I wore it on my turquoise mani. You wouldn’t use on the bare nail anyway and as long as you mask off the skin to avoid staining I think you would be safe. It’s a personal decision though, you’d know what’s right for you :).

  10. Pingback: Video Tutorial: How to Use Alcohol Inks to Create Marble or Granite Nail Designs... #ootd #nailart - Urban Angels

  11. Pingback: 16 Hit Precious Stone Manicure Ideas for This Season - FASHION DESIGN BUZZ

  12. Pingback: 16 Hit Precious Stone Manicure Ideas For This Season | FASHION BUZZ

  13. Pingback: 16 Hit Precious Stone Manicure Ideas for This Season | Techy Ninja

  14. Helena jefferg

    Do you find that the alcohol fades at all on Gel polish?
    I tried it wish sharpies and ipa but found it faded.

    1. Kim

      The turquoise mani I did stayed perfect for 2 weeks, no fading. I’ve not done this with Sharpies, maybe the color wasn’t as saturated? I haven’t heard of anyone else experiencing fading either.

  15. Pingback: 16 Hit Precious Stone Manicure Ideas for This Season – welcome to buzzrock news