Paper marbling directions

Written by karen ellis
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Paper marbling directions
Marbled paper with a rubber-stamp design element (blue faux marble paper image by Allyson Ricketts from

Make unique, one-of-a-kind paper pieces for scrapbooking, card making or stationery by learning how to marble. This especially comes in handy when you are making a gift and you want it to match the person's favourite colours. Don't limit your ideas to simple crafts, consider framing marbled paper as artwork or using it to cover books or wood boxes.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Plastic sheeting
  • Large baking pan
  • Dishwashing soap
  • Tempera paints, dyes or inks
  • Toothpicks and/or straws
  • Paper
  • Paper towels
  • Iron

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  1. 1

    Place the plastic sheeting over your work area. You can find this in your local fabric shop or craft store. An old, plastic tablecloth works equally as well.

  2. 2

    Fill a large baking pan or other shallow container, larger than the paper you are using, with an inch or two of water. Pour in a drop or so of dishwashing soap and gently stir the water. You don't necessarily want bubbles, unless it is a purposeful design element.

  3. 3

    Pour individual paint colours onto the water, in a drizzling fashion. You may use any type of paint, dye or ink as long as it is fairly thin. The advantage to water-based paints is that you can easily thin them by adding water and mixing. The paint should sit atop the water.

  4. 4

    Stir the paint, gently, with a toothpick or straw. You don't want to completely mix the paint, making it a solid colour. Stir only until you have a marbling effect that you are happy with.

  5. 5

    Hold the paper with one hand on each end. Pull the ends inward and together so the paper makes a large "U" shape.

  6. 6

    Place the bottom of the "U" shape on the surface of the water in the centre of the large baking pan. Gently, drop each side of the paper. As soon as the paper is completely laying upon the paint water, pull it back up carefully.

  7. 7

    Lay the marbled paper, face up, on several paper towels to absorb the excess moisture. Allow the paper to dry completely. Sandwich the marbled paper between two clean pieces of paper, then iron over them with a dry, warm iron to remove any wrinkles.

Tips and warnings

  • If you have trouble with the paint adhering to the paper, add a pinch of alum (found at craft stores) into a cup of water. Sponge the treated water across your paper and let it dry before starting the marbling process.
  • For an added design element, use inked rubber stamps over the dry marbled paper.

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