Marbled artwork is so unique and interesting! I love how no two pieces are the same. Artists use marbled artwork to create cards, journals, home decor items, and so much more! Last summer, I tried marbling with spraypaint to create a series of cards. Today I am sharing this very simple marbling process.
History of Marbling Paper
Marbling has been used for various purposes throughout the ages. Marbling began in Japan around the 12th century. This technique involved floating inks on water and then placing a piece of paper onto the floating ink. This technique is still popular even today. This Japanese technique is suminagashi. Another type of marbling originated in Turkey, Persia, and India during the 15th century. This technique is known as Turkish marbling or Ebru. This style of marbling used thickened water, similar to current marbling solutions today. Ebru produces amazing backgrounds and usually has a design lightly combed into the foreground such as flowers or leaves.
During the 16th and 17th centuries the art of marbling spread to Europe. The marbling industry kept the marbling trade techniques secret. Often decorative book binding used marbling, such as book endpages. In 1853, Charles Woolnough revealed the secrets to marbling in his book, The Whole Art of Marbling. Unfortunately, machines automated book production by the time bookbinders had access to these techniques. Marbling lost popularity until the 1970s, when handmade books emerged and helped to renew the popularity of this art form. Today, marbling has thousands of masters who continue to explore these traditional methods and develop new ideas.
Samples of My Marbled Paper Projects
Over summer, last year, I created these really neat marbled stationary cards. It was a lot of fun, albeit extremely messy. Even my daughter, Atizle, got in on the fun and helped me to pick out color schemes. I love how each card is different from the rest. Marbling with spraypaint is a very fun process with such cool results!
Marbling with Spraypaint
First, you must have a bucket or pan deep enough for your paper to be submerged in. This is very important! I tried to do some different sized objects and I really struggled with the items that were bigger than my aluminum foil pan. By the way, you can usually snag 2 pack of these pans for about a dollar or two at the dollar store.
Prepping for Marbling with Spraypaint
- Fill the pan with enough water so that your object for marbling can be completely covered with water.
- Choose the colors of spray paint that you will use. The spraypaint cans need to be well shaken. This process is very fast. So it’s important to have EVERYTHING set up and ready before you spray the paint into the water.
- Make sure you have some sort of drying station setup. I hung some clothesline and clothespins along the railing on my steps, so that the pieces could easily hang up to dry.
- Once you have your paper/objects ready, your marbling pan filled with water, chosen your spraypaint colors and shook them so they don’t clog or spray funny, and your drying rack is setup – its time to play!
Process for Marbling with Spraypaint
- Spray 2-3 colors into your water. You can dip your paper or objects in now, or you can use a stick and swirl the paint. Remember to work quickly as the spraypaint will dry very fast. The spray paint sits on top of the water, and once the paper touches the surface the paint will stick to it! Dip your paper/object in the water, remove, and hang to dry. You can usually get 2-3 pieces from for each time you spray paint into the water.
- Warning – your hands will get completely covered in excess paint! So you may want to use gloves. I rarely use gloves when I paint. However, I ended up completely covered in paint for several days after these marbling sessions!
Marbling isn’t just for Paper
Marbling is a very unique, and interesting art form that has been around for ages! Each piece is a complete original. So every piece is new and different from the previous ones, even the ones that use the same paint colors! You can use this technique to create some new artwork or even cards to send to your family and friends! This process makes quite the mess, so prepare for that part! Marbling with spraypaint is super quick. If you don’t feel you are up for the mess, feel free to snag these awesome marbled stationary cards from the shop. Marbled artwork also looks fantastic on other pieces of home decor. I’d love to hear from you if you decide to try out marbling with spraypaint, so please leave a comment below!