Directions for Watercolor and Acrylic Marbling

Watercolor Marbling Instructions Using Decorative Papers Water Based Marbling Colors

This instruction sheet will give you the basic starting point for marbling, it does not replace a more detailed book or a workshop with an experienced marbler. There are numerous detailed books available and workshops are held in many cities across the country.

To make the carrageenan size, place 1 tbs. size powder in a blender with a quart of hot water. This can also be done with cold water, but requires a slightly longer curing time. Many marblers prefer cold water. Tap water usually works well, but some people find distilled water works better. If you are in a hard-water area, you may need to use a slightly rounded tablespoon instead. Blend until all lumps are dissolved, maybe 30 seconds, and pour into a bucket. Add another quart of water and stir well. Repeat this process until you have enough solution to fill your marbling tray. The size needs to settle, usually at least 12 hours. Size will last approximately three days, 2 days in very hot weather. DO NOT USE WATER FROM A WATER SOFTENER! It makes the colors pale and fuzzy!

A suitable paper for marbling (Ingres, NaturText,Strathmore rag, Canson, most charcoal papers etc., not sketch pad paper. You must test any new paper) needs to be "alumed" before use. Mix 1 tbs. of the alum to 1 cup of hot water until dissolved. Sponge on the paper to dampen it. Do not soak the paper, and blot up any "puddles" with sponge. Let it sit under a board for a few minutes to flatten and then it is ready to marble. The alumed paper may also be line dried and flattened under boards after drying and kept indefinitely provided the room does not get too humid (50% - 55%) If it gets too damp it will become ineffective.

The marbling colors can be used straight from the bottle, or diluted with up to an equal amount of distilled water. Never put ox-gall directly into the main bottle of color, because if you add too much you will ruin all the color. Instead pour a small amount of your colors into plastic cups, small squeeze bottles, or the compartments of an ice cube tray. If the color is used full strength add approximately 1 drop of ox-gall to 2 ounces of color. Use the drop size that comes out of our own squeeze bottle, not a regular eye-dropper. If you dilute the paint, you will need to use about half the amount of ox-gall. 1 drop to 4oz. of color, or dilute the gall a bit. A little ox-gall goes a long way. This is just a starting point. You may find that some colors may need a little more or less ox-gall than others to work well together. Also, the weather may affect the amount of ox-gall needed on different days. This is one of the peculiarities of marbling and you will have to do a little experimenting and adjusting to find the optimal amount. Our Rose Madder and Purple tend to need little or no ox-gall. Try them without it first.

The surface of the size must be skimmed with newspaper strips or a board prior to marbling, and before each new sheet of paper is marbled as well. Once this is done you may apply your colors (mixed with ox-gall) to the surface of the size using a whisk, squeeze bottle or paint brush. It is best, with these colors, to lay the darker ones on first: Black, blues, reds, browns, greens, etc. as this will deepen their shade. Yellows, whites, pinks and any lighter colors should go on last. This is not a hard and fast rule, however, and you may wish to experiment.

Draw the desired patterning with your marbling tools on the surface of the size. Lay the paper gently on the surface of the size and the color will be transferred instantly. Bring the sheet over to a rinse board and gently pour water over the paper to remove excess color. The sheet may then be line dried. When dry lay under boards to flatten. Marbled sheets made with water-based traditional color are not 100% waterproof when dry. They are only about 90%. This is normal. What this means is that if they are wet, the colors will not run, but if they are rubbed while wet, they will smudge. Our acrylics are 100% waterproof, however, if you are interested in a truly traditional look the water-based colors are ideal. If you wish, your dried papers may be sprayed with a "non-workable" fixative afterwards.

Note:Blues & Reds may be a bit hard to shake up when the bottle is full. Pour off about half of the distilled water into a clean glass. Shake the remainder of the bottle until the pigment is no longer at the bottom. Replace the distilled water. Bottles will be easier to shake when emptier.

MARBLING INSTRUCTIONS USING DECORATIVE PAPERS ACRYLICS

This instruction sheet will give you the basic starting point for marbling, it does not replace a more detailed book or a workshop with an experienced marbler. There are numerous detailed books available and workshops are held in many cities across the country.

To make the carrageenan size, place 1 tbs. size powder in a blender with a quart of hot water. Some prefer cold water but this requires a slightly longer curing time. Tap water usually works well, but some people find distilled water works better. If you are in a hard-water area, you may need to use a slightly rounded tablespoon instead. Blend until all lumps are dissolved and pour into a bucket. Add another quart of water and stir well. Repeat this process until you have enough solution to fill your marbling tray. The size needs to settle, usually at least 12 hours. Size will last approximately three days, 2 days in very hot weather.

A suitable paper for marbling (NaturText, Ingres,Strathmore rag, Canson, charcoal papers etc., not sketch pad paper) needs to be "alumed" before use. Mix 1 tbs. of the alum to 1 cup of hot water until dissolved. Sponge on the paper to dampen it. Do not soak the paper. Let it sit under a board for a few minutes to flatten and then it is ready to marble. The alumed paper may also be line dried and flattened under boards after drying and kept indefinitely provided the room does not get too humid (50% - 55%) If it gets too damp it will become ineffective.

If you are marbling fabric, this also needs to be soaked in alum solution in a bucket, dried and ironed flat before use.

The marbling colors can be used straight from the bottle, or diluted with up to an equal amount of distilled water. Ox-gall is not needed for the marbling acrylics, they spread on their own. Photo Flo, diluted by adding a few drops to 1/4 cuo of water may be used to adjust colors to one another in place of ox-gall.

The surface of the size must be skimmed with newspaper strips or a board prior to marbling, and before each new sheet of paper or fabric is marbled as well. Once this is done you may apply your colors to the surface of the size using a whisk, squeeze bottle or paint brush. You may experiment with the order in which you lay the colors onto the surface of the size.

Draw the desired patterning with your marbling tools on the surface of the size. Lay the paper or fabric gently on the surface of the size and the color will be transferred instantly. Bring the sheet over to a rinse board and gently pour water over the paper to remove excess color. The sheet may then be line dried. Fabric may be gently swished in a bucket of clean water to remove excess color and size. Do not rub the surface areas together. Hang fabric on a line with clothespins. When dry, it must be heat-set in a dryer on high for at least 20 minutes. Afterwards it may be ironed. Marbled fabrics may be dry-cleaned or hand-washed without scrubbing. Just soak in a soap and water solution. A gentle dishwashing liquid works well. A capful or a few squirts into a bucket of water or sink is fine. Soak for just a few minutes, do not wring out. Hang on a line to dry and iron on the wrong side when completely dry. Never machine wash. The design is durable, but it is still a surface design and may fade a bit if machine washed or scrubbed.

Acrylics spread a lot, so it is generally best if you want a certain color to be deep, to lay it down first, This way the other colors will "condense" it. You can also use very dilute photo-flo as gall water as a final sprinkle which will condense all your colors and allow the paper or fabric base color to show through. Work fairly quickly, as acrylics dry quickly on exposure to air and can give a "crazing" effect.....some people like this and call it pearlizing though!

Our acrylic colors are 100% waterproof and can be used for paper, fabric and wooden objects.