Marble the Frames of Your Glasses

I got this cute pair of glasses via Clearly Contacts. When they arrived I tried them on and I was undecided about how I felt about them on my face.  Fun, but did I like that they were there, but not? So elusive feeling. The clear frames didn’t have the “presence” of darker ones. It was like they were an afterthought on my face. I lived with them, the deadline to exchange them came and went and, still, I just kind of felt not very enthused with them.

So what do you do when you have a problem? You make a plan to fix it. My plans usually involve a considerable mess, but this wasn’t too bad.


  • various nail polish colours
  • a container you don’t mind mucking up – wide enough to fit your glasses into without them touching the sides.
  • toothpicks or Popsicle sticks
  • wide masking tape
  • x-acto knife
  • paper towel
  • rubbing alcohol or vinegar
Marbling with nail polish is quick and fun, but oh so stinky, so open a window. I did this activity at my local homeschooling community center with some of the kids. It’s always good to show kids that it’s fun to try things even when (especially when) no one knows what the heck they are doing. Yay for experimentation and learning together! And the kids were happy to jump in and help.
Step 1: Cover your lenses, on both sides with masking tape. Make sure to press it right into the seams where the lens meets the frames and carefully cut off the excess with an x-acto knife. 
Step 2: clean your frames with rubbing alcohol or vinegar. I only planned to marble the main part of the frames, so I didn’t bother cleaning the arms.  Avoid touching the newly cleaned areas with your fingers.
Step 3: fill your container part way with water. You don’t need a lot – just enough for the nail polish to float up off the bottom – an inch or so will do it. 
Step 4: add your preferred colours. Less is more. We did several drops of brown. I think we could have gotten away with less, but I wanted it to be the dominant colour.
Step 5: Swirl your colours around with a toothpick, or popsicle stick (but not too much). We used a popsicle stick and noticed that it took with it a lot of the nail polish when we pulled it out. Make sure the nail polish covers an area on the water’s surface long enough to cover the shape of your frames
Step 6: Carefully dip your frames in the water letting them plunge beneath the surface to make sure the nail polish wraps around to the back side. Pull the frames up slowly and voila! Marbled frames. 
Step 7: Prop them up to dry for at least 10 minutes, but we left ours a good 30 minutes before blotting the water off with paper. Use the x-acto knife to gently trace around the seam between lens and frame and pull the masking tape off. 
As you can see, the surface is mottled a bit, likely from the beads of water, but I’m a texture-loving kind of girl so it suits me fine.  I think also it maybe because I dipped the frames in twice, one immediately after the other to catch some colours, and the layered areas were more prone to texturizing. So if you want a smooth surface, try and be decisive and commit to the moment on your first dunk. 
So, finally, my quiet frames have presence. They look like they could get into some trouble now. Definitely one of a kind, and that’s just all kinds of fun. 
Tell me about your marbling adventures! Leave your thoughts and links below.

More about Julie Prescesky

Julie spends much of her time paying attention to what's happening around her. At Design Inkarnation, she's head designer, illustrator, writer and creative problem solver.

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