How to Make Marble Paper

    by Ruth Eshbaugh

    About the Author

    Ruth Eshbaugh is a freelance graphic designer, writer, artist and photographer who has been writing for eHow, LIVESTRONG.COM and other websites since 2008. She graduated from the University of Texas at Dallas with a Bachelor of Fine Arts. Eshbaugh is a published haiku author.


    Marbling is a technique that transforms plain paper into colorful sheets that can be used in card making, scrapbooking or decoupage projects. Marble painting turns out different every time depending on which and how many colors you use, how much you mix them and even the texture of the paper you use. Give the ancient art of paper marbling a try, starting with watercolor paper and a few colors and moving up to pricier cotton-blend papers as you develop your technique.

    Things You'll Need

    • Acrylic paint in a variety of colors
    • Heavy paper
    • Tub for water
    • Stirrer
    • Toothpicks
    • Containers to water down paint if necessary
    • Drop cloth or newspaper
    • Towels
    • Aluminum pan

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    Cut paper into sizes smaller than the standard 8 1/2-by-11-inch sheet. Use 24-pound paper or thicker, card stock or watercolor paper. Watercolor paper works best for this project.

    Fill an aluminum baking pan with about an inch of water. Place it outside or in an area covered with a drop cloth.

    Drop generous amounts of acrylic paint on top of the water, applying multiple drops in a range of coordinating colors across the surface of the water. Thin paint works best. Use a container to water the paint down if it comes out in a blob as opposed to drops. Know that some of the paint will float on the surface.

    Mix the colors gently with the stirrer or a toothpick. Keep in mind that too much stirring makes the colors muddy -- aim for swirls and other designs that leave some colors separate.

    Gently place a piece of paper on the top of the water and then carefully lift off. Keep your hands clean by using rubber gloves.

    Add more paint after three or four sheets. Alternate the paint with contrasting colors and shades. If the surface of the water gets muddy, clean it by floating a paper towel on the water surface and removing it. The paper towel will absorb the muddy paint. Reapply the paint to the top of the water.

    Place the dipped paper on newspaper to dry or hang it on a line with paper clips. Flatten the paper by pressing it over night between books after it has thoroughly dried.

    • Advanced techniques include drawing a comb through your paint to make designs.
    • Try rinsing the paper lightly immediately after painting for a more subtle effect.
    • Use your paper for creative jewelry, fold it into gift boxes, use it to cover a small lamp shade or a journal.