Monday, October 23, 2017

Marbling on paper
Up until a few weeks ago, I had never heard of marbling, let alone Ebru or Suminagashi--ancient art forms from Turkey and Japan. I was totally amazed with this art project and I started researching and learning about the steps involved for this technique. For my first day of marbling, I chose to marble on paper, but you can also use fabric. There are lots of tutorials, videos on Youtube, and posts about how to do this.

It takes lots of preparation, but you will be addicted if you try it, trust me!  Like me, once you start creating, you won't want to stop!

This was my first attempt at working with marbling paper. I'm still learning, so this isn't a perfect tutorial. It's mostly what I have learned by trial and error so far. 

My supplies for learning how to marble on paper. 

More supplies for how to marble on paper.
Alum is what is used to make the paints adhere to the paper or fabric. Alum can be purchased from the grocery store from the spices section. But you may also purchase larger quantities online. I mixed 1 tablespoon of alum with 1 quart of water. The mixture is different for fabric (upcoming post). For the paper project, I used card stock postcards. I wiped the cards with alum using a sponge. Wait until the alum is dry before dropping on the paints. Make sure the paper is totally covered or the paints will not transfer onto the paper.

Alum used for marbling. 

I used carrageenan to make my sizing. Carrageenan is a gelling agent made from seaweed. It's what allows the paints to float. Use a blender for this step. Fill up your blender half way with warm water and add 1 tablespoon of carrageenan. Mix until the carrageenan is fully dissolved. The solution will not be clear. Repeat to equal one gallon. If using soon, let the sizing sit for an hour. Best if it sits for 24 hours before using and it needs to be stored in the refrigerator, clearly marked. It needs to be at room temperature when you use it. It can be reused.

Carrageenan used for marbling.

You may use any acrylic paints or inks. I used acrylic paints for this project. You need to water down the acrylic paints to make them light enough to float. I used a mix of 1:1, but usually had to add more water to make the paints float. Darker colors needed more water. You don't want the paints to sink to the bottom of your tray.

You can drop the paints with a eye dropper or use a stiff brush to sprinkle the paints. The paints spread as you drop them on top of each other. Different paints spread faster and more quickly than others. You can use combs or toothpicks, sticks, etc., to make a marbled affect. I love the big bold circles best.

Acrylic paints on carrageenan sizing for paper marbling.

Once you have your design, drop your paper onto the floating paints gently so as not to create air pockets. Let sit for a few seconds as you see the paper soak up the paints. Lift up the paper or drag it to the side of the tray. Rinse in a bucket of clear water and let dry.

Drop of blue paint and then orange.

Net drop was blue.

Alternating orange and blue.

Here are samples of finished work.

I need a lot more practice. My mixture for the paints wasn't always the best. I think I will research using paints from online that are made for this process. And, as you can see from the last photo, I played with manipulating the paints. I was trying different things, so that's why the results aren't uniform.

You never know what the outcome will be with this technique. You don't have much control of how the paints spread. I'm sure as I continue I will learn more about how different paints react when being dropped in the solution.

I plan on posting more as I continue learning! So, stay tuned! 

Keep surfing, pinning, and creating!

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