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3 OPI Color Paints Nail Art Ideas

By on June 2, 2015
in Nail Art, OPI, Summer 2015
OPI Color Paints Nail Art via @alllacqueredup

OPI Color Paints Nail Art

I’ve been having so much fun playing with the new OPI Color Paints (link full review) that I haven’t wanted to wear anything else on my nails. And I haven’t! As a reminder, Color Paints are sheer, blendable nail color that are built for layering and nail art. Now, even if you feel too busy to apply anything beyond a solid color (me most days), they’re a lot like Pringles; once you pop, you can’t stop. Swear!

Today, I have a three nail art ideas for you that range from easy to advanced. I even tackled my old nemesis, the dreaded water marble. Though thanks to my new favorite nail art tool, I am finally over my aversion to water marbling. Check it all out below!

OPI Color Paints Beginner Nail Art – Sponged Gradient

If you have a makeup sponge, you can create this look. Even if you don’t, they’re inexpensive and easily accessible. I did a sideways version using OPI Pen & Pink and Turquoise Aesthetic. I like how they blend to create a purple shade down the middle.

OPI Color Paints Gradient Nail Art via @alllacqueredup

OPI Color Paints Nail Art – Gradient

OPI Color Paints Nail Art - Gradient via @alllacqueredup

OPI Color Paints Nail Art – Gradient

Get The Look

  1. Apply a solid base color and allow to dry. I used OPI My Signature is DC (Cola-Cola collection).
  2. Protect the skin around the nail to lessen clean-up. You can use oil, balm, tape or liquid latex (see below).
  3. Dampen a makeup sponge and squeeze out excess water.
  4. Paint nail polish on sponge in any combination/pattern you desire.
  5. Press sponge on nail and tap to deposit color.
  6. Repeat steps 4 & 5 until desired opacity is achieved.

OPI Color Paints Intermediate Nail Art – Fan Brush

A few months ago, I had some Groupon credits from an order that couldn’t be fulfilled. They ran out of my favorite Hint water flavor. Still bitter about it, but I digress. I used the credits on a nail art tool kit that included a couple fan brushes, so I decided to try them with Color Paints. I’m sure you can find cheap fan brushes outside of a kit, but all the ones I own are too pricey to be used in polish.

For this look, I used OPI Primarily Yellow, Chromatic Orange and Turquoise Aesthetic (in that order). The color palette feels graffiti-esque, like crayon scribbles. It’s kind of pretty/ugly, you know?

OPI Color Paints Nail Art - Fan Brush via @alllacqueredup

OPI Color Paints Nail Art – Fan Brush

OPI Color Paints Fan Brush Nail Art via @alllacqueredup

OPI Color Paints Nail Art – Fan Brush

Get The Look

  1. Apply a solid base color and allow to dry. I used OPI Alpine Snow.
  2. Protect the skin around the nail to lessen clean-up. You can use oil, balm, tape or liquid latex (see below).
  3. Dampen the fan brush and brush the ends with your finger to separate the bristles.
  4. Pour out your desired color and dip the tips of the brush in the polish.
  5. Lightly tap the brush on card stock/paper plate to remove any excess.
  6. Drag the brush lightly across the nail, from side to side
  7. Repeat steps 4-6 with all of our polish colors.

OPI Color Paints Advanced Nail Art – Water Marble

If you’re a longtime reader, you may remember my first (and supposed last) experience with water marbling. It was a disaster, to put it mildly. My swears-like-a-sailor mouth would call it something else. My biggest issue was with the mess. Even trying it with tape didn’t make it better. I hated everything about the process. Enter Liquid Latex (see below). It’s a game-changer, you guys.

I promised myself LAST YEAR I would try water marbling again, and only 18 months later, I marbled the entire Color Paints collection, including OPI Silver Chrome as my base. I played with different patterns and it ended up being pretty fun. So much so, that after my first attempt (documented on Instagram), I did it again to share here. Since I’m in no way a water marble expert, I direct you to My Simple Little Pleasures, who is the person I learned from.

OPI Color Paints Nail Art - Water Marble via @alllacqueredup

OPI Color Paints Nail Art – Water Marble

OPI Color Paints Nail Art - Water Marble via @alllacqueredup

OPI Color Paints Water Marble Nail Art

My New Nail Art BFF, Liquid Latex

I’m a cheap-ass, you guys. For years, I’ve refused, REFUSED, to buy any of those indie brand liquid nail art barriers. Because $12-20 for a lip gloss-sized tube of product is something I can’t justify. I know some come in standard nail polish bottles now, but I knew there had to be a cheaper option.

Thank you Amazon for making that true. If you search “ammonia-free liquid latex” you’ll find this little gem in a rainbow of color options for only $11. And, it’s over 8x the size of indie versions. I poured it into an empty nail polish bottle using a folded piece of card stock and a plastic spoon, because why potentially ruin a funnel? Note: Do not use if you have a latex allergy.

Cheap Liquid Latex Nail Art Barrier via @alllacqueredup

Liquid Latex Nail Art Barrier

Just paint the liquid latex around your nail and wait to dry. If you get some on your nail, you can push the latex back with an orange wood stick. To remove, pull up with a pair of tweezers.

Cheap Liquid Latex Nail Art Barrier via @alllacqueredup

Liquid Latex Nail Art Barrier

OPI Color Paints are available at salons and mass retailers nationwide including ULTA stores and online at OPI Color Paints retail for $9.50/ea. For more info, visit

Have tried Color Paints yet? What type of nail art will you use them for? Will you try any of my ideas?

Disclosure: Product samples were provided by reps for OPI. Affiliate links appear in this post. When you purchase through an affiliate link, you help support this site. For more info view my Disclosure Policy
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There Are 30 Brilliant Comments

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  1. I have been debating buying the Color Paints because I just wasn’t that impressed with other swatches/nail art — but yours are very inventive and defintely show off what they can do. PS I use the same liquid latex and it’s amazing!

  2. myishia simmons says:

    The water marble is gorgeous!

  3. Lisa N. says:

    Nice designs you got with them!

  4. Maureen says:

    Oh my gosh, I looove the water marble you did! That turned out amazing! I am so glad you decided to give it another go. :) I just ordered the Color Paints and the liquid latex off Amazon and I’m chomping at the bit to try some water marbling for the 1st time this weekend. I’m also excited to do some sponged gradients (love yours above) and now that I have the liquid latex cleanup will be much easier. I’m looking forward to any other ideas in the comments – I’m lame at nail art but I can be a copycat. ;)

  5. Debbie says:

    What’s 7p with your links not working?

  6. Gauri says:

    OMG! The fan brush art looks amazing for summer!

  7. Congrats on mastering the watermarbling!!! It’s gorgeous :) I dislike it too and promised myself I would try again. Thanks for all of your tips. Def gonna buy the liquid latex on Amazon. I also refuse to pay $20 for a small tube of it. Thanks for sharing!!

  8. Excellent nail art! I have the exact same bottle of liquid latex (only it is green) because I saw it on Instagram, and I agree it is the best value. That is a great idea about refilling an empty nail polish bottle. The one way Indie brands have upgraded this product is with fragrance. Glisten and Glow has one called CTRL-ALT-DEL that is scented like Sangria White Peach. I got it just so I could have a pleasant sensory experience, but also so I would have a bottle to refill with my green stuff.

  9. I am LOVING your water marble mani! Bravo!

  10. Kia says:

    Love the art! I bought that same liquid latex from amazon when I saw people were selling little tubes on instagram for like $24. yeah right. And you know they are just buying the same thing we did and repackaging it. smh.

  11. Sanne says:

    Thank you so much for this great tip, I went right to Amazon. Have a nice day. :)

  12. Kathryn says:

    I could not justify paying $12 for the liquid latex either. I looked up what I could use and found that Spenser’s has ammonia free liquid latex also. So now have have been sponging and water marbling like crazy.

  13. Jacy Michele says:

    I love the water marble look! But, I wiish it wasn’t an “advanced” technique…My daughters would just love it :)

  14. Michelle says:

    ok, WOW. that’s one of the most amazingly vibrant water marbles i’ve ever seen – you’re totally making me rethink my avoidance of this level of work!

  15. Madeline says:

    LOL, I have had liquid latex on my Amazon wish list for over a year. I am right there with you when it comes to the price of the indie stuff! I kept wanting to get it but I couldn’t make myself do it! I finally bought my liquid latex (neon green) earlier this week because I now have more time for nail art.

  16. I love the Water Marble colour. Really vibrant.