Marbeling Paper submitted by Kirsten Krause

A simple inexpensive way to find out if paper marbling is something for you. The following is a method which I have used with success.

Materials needed:

A shallow tray. I use a white photographers developing tray (10x14) but even a shallow cardboard box lined with a white large plastic bag will do.

Ordinary borax.

A few bottles of acrylic paint. I use the cheap Apple Barrel Colors, they seem to work best for me undiluted. Suggested colors which I know work are black, yellow, true blue, pumpkin orange, bright magenta and viridian green. You can always mix two colors together to get a new color.


A straw or a blitzer (a rubber bulb thingy) to blow colors around with lots of newspaper.

Paper to marble on. I use copy paper (20 lb). Construction paper works well too.

METHOD. Fill the tray with room temperature water about 2-3 inches and add 1 Tbsp borax, stir and let stand about 30 min. Skim the surface of the bath with a strip of newspaper the width of your tray to remove any dust. Squeeze out asmall amount of paint on a disposible plastic lid. Dip toothpick into paint then lightly touch the surface of your bath with the toothpick to deposit some paint. (The paint should float on the surface; if not, you need to add more borax). Keep doing this all over the bath. Add more paint to toothpick as needed. First you can't see any color on the surface but after a while, especially if you are using more than one color, you can begin to see a pattern on the bath. When you think you have added enough paint to cover the surface blow gently through the straw or use a blitzer to move the colors into a pattern. Now you are ready to marble.

Take a piece of paper holding it at opposite corners making a slight valley in the middle and gently lower it to the surface middle part of the paper first. (Try to avoid air bubbles as the paper will not pick up the paint in those places). Let go for a few seconds then pick up the paper holding it at the two corners of one long edge and let excess water drip off. Place the paper flat on a stack of newspapers to dry. Before more paint is applied to the surface skim the bath by dragging another strip of newspaper across it. Start all over again by adding more paint & continue the process.

When the papers are dry I usually iron them and keep them between some heavy books for a day.

The above method yields paper which is not deeply colored, but light enough for writing (or stamping) on. More intensely colored marbled paper requires slightly (more involved) techniques.

I hope all of you enjoy these instructions. You can really make some beautiful papers.