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How to paint with marble dust

Updated November 21, 2016

Marble dust is calcium carbonate dust used in painting. The most common use for marble dust in painting is creating traditional rabbit skin glue gesso, a surface primer for paintings. In addition to creating a painting primer, you can also mix marble dust directly into your paints to create interesting textures and to fill your paints with body. You can purchase marble dust at any art supply store.

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  1. Pour one and one-half tablespoons of dry rabbit skin glue and one cup of water into a crock pot. Put the lid on and let the solution soak for two hours with the power to the crock pot turned off.

  2. Turn the power on to the crock pot and melt the glue, but do not allow it to boil. Stir thoroughly.

  3. Put on a respirator or a dust mask. Pour one cup titanium white pigment and one cup of marble dust into a separate container. Mix the solution well.

  4. Pour the hot glue into the pigment and marble dust mixture and stir. Use a bristle gesso brush or palette knife to apply the solution to your painting surface.

  5. Put on your respirator. Empty a small amount of marble dust onto your palette with a palette knife or spoon to keep the dust from flying everywhere.

  6. Mix your oil painting medium, such as linseed oil, with the marble dust. Continue to add medium until the dust had reached the level of consistency desired. A mix with less medium makes a thick paste perfect for impasto technique and a mix with less dust and more medium makes the dust opaque, but still viscous.

  7. Mix an acrylic paint medium with the dust instead of oil if using acrylic paints.

  8. Mix your paint colour of choice into the dust/medium mixture. Dip your paint brush into the mix and apply it to your surface.

  9. Tip

    Making traditional gesso with marble dust will ruin your crock pot. Do not use the same one you use for cooking. Marble dust can crack and crumble off the surface of a painting over time. Make the medium and marble dust mix thinner to help prevent crumbling.

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Things You'll Need

  • Rabbit Skin Glue
  • Crock pot
  • Respirator or dust mask
  • Powered titanium white pigment
  • Marble dust
  • Bristle gesso brush
  • Palette knife or spoon
  • Oil paint medium (linseed oil) or acrylic paint medium (matt medium)
  • Paint Brush

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