Paper marbling crafts

Updated April 17, 2017

Marbled paper is made by floating pigments on water or another medium, then swirling and marbling them with a tool called a comb or rake before pressing the paper onto the colours. Paper marbling can be used to create decorative papers for your scrapbooking, collage and other paper-craft projects. With a range of techniques from simple methods using wax crayons to advanced variations using more sophisticated materials, adults and youngsters alike can enjoy this craft.

Crayon Shaving Methods

For this, you can use water-soluble crayons in warm water or wax crayons in boiling water. With soluble crayons, the shavings should be very fine. Make shavings using a pencil sharpener or a sharp knife. Fill a roasting tray with water. Sprinkle shavings onto the water, where they will melt. Drag a sheet of paper over the surface to pick up the colour. Alternatively, place shavings between sheets of waxed paper and iron the paper.

Marbling Paint

You can find paints made specifically for marbling projects. Look for these in specialist arts and crafts stores. Fill a deep tray with water. Add marbling paints in different colours a drop at a time. Using a toothpick or skewer, swirl the paints to make a pattern. Float a sheet of paper on top of the water and pull it away carefully to pick up the marbled design.

Shaving Foam Marbling

Use shaving foam to marble paper. Thin down some water-based paints by mixing them with water. Squirt an inch-thick layer of shaving foam onto a flat tray. Paint directly onto the foam. Marble the paints by dragging a toothpick or other tool through the paint. Press a sheet of paper onto the foam and remove. Press a sheet of posterboard onto the paper, squeezing out the excess foam. You'll be left with a marbled design.

Marbling with Carrageenan

You will need to pretreat your paper by making a solution of alum and covering the surface of the paper with this. Let the paper dry. Carrageenan is a white powder made from a type of seaweed. It forms a gel when mixed with water, sometimes called size. Mix up the size according to the manufacturer's instructions and pour into a tray. Drop paints --- oil or water-based --- onto the size and rake into patterns. Press a sheet of paper on top of the size. Remove, rinse and allow to dry.

Marbling with Oil Paints and Turpentine

Fill a deep tray with water. Mix oil paints with turpentine. Test a drop in the water; if the paint sinks, add more turpentine, if it spreads too much, add more paint. Drop paint onto the surface of the water. Rake into patterns. Dip a sheet of paper into the tray, remove, and allow the marbled patterns to dry.

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About the Author

Clare Edwards has been providing Internet content since 1998. She has written and translated for a variety of markets: everything from technical articles to short fiction and essays on alternative spirituality. She holds a certificate of higher education in electronics and audio arts from Middlesex University.