Marbled Papers

Other Pages on Marbling:

Note cards

Marbling on paper is an ancient art form that was made popular in the 18th century for endpapers on books. To create the designs, I float acrylic paints on a gel-like liquid made from carrageenan, an extract from Irish Moss seaweed. Carrageenan allows the colors to float on the surface where they can be manipulated with marbling rakes and combs into hundreds of patterns, both traditional and modern. The paper is carefully laid on top of the marbled design and the paint transfers to it. Fresh paint must be laid down for each piece of paper, ensuring that each design is unique. Patterns and colors may be similar, but like snowflakes, no two are exactly the same.

The joy of marbling lies in the beauty of the creations and the surprise every time I lift the paper and see the new sheet.

You can see some photos of the process here.   These photos were taken in my studio at the Yates County Arts Center Studio Tour, 2011.

Papers I have made over the past year.

Coming soon:  I pull out the trays and get down to creating more papers to play with!

Here are two of the successful papers from my May marbling.  I’m working on a narrative about the marbling process which I hope to add soon. In the meantime, here’s a gallery of my May Marbling Adventure.

Blog entries on marbling:

February in Black

9 Responses to Marbled Papers

  1. Pingback: January in Leather | Losing Her Marbles

  2. Pat K. Thomas

    Nancy-
    Your marbled papers are lovely! Will you be bringing your tray & tools to the Folk School?
    Pat

    • You found me out! Yes, I’ll bring my trays & tools, I’m looking forward to improving my techniques and learning about other forms of marbling, especially the Japanese.
      Nancy

  3. Cristina

    Hello Nancy

    I fine your creations so beautiful….This first time I saw a demonstration on the making of marbled paper I was in awe. I was just a little girl then. I’m really interested in learning how to marble paper and canvas. Do you have any tips that you could share with me?
    Christine

    • Thanks for asking. Best way is to find a class somewhere. I always find it better to be able to ask questions and watch an expert do it. My first class was a week-long workshop at the John Campbell Folk School. Their website is http://www.folkschool.org You may be able to find local classes also. If you are serious about learning, be sure that the instructor uses real size ( like carrageenan or methyl cellulose) not substitutes like shaving cream or wallpaper size. If you can’t find a class, there are several books out there. I use Patty & Mimi Schleicher’s “Marbled Designs” for patterns. Try Amazon for this or other titles. Good luck.

    • If you have any specific questions, I happy to try and answer them.
      If you’ve never done any marbling, you might want to start with a kit. They are available through Amazon and at http://www.Hollanders.com as well as other places.

      Nancy

  4. Cristina

    Hello Nancy

    I find your creations so beautiful….This first time I saw a demonstration on the making of marbled paper I was in awe. I was just a little girl then. I’m really interested in learning how to marble paper and canvas. Do you have any tips that you could share with me?
    Christine

  5. Ann DeWeese

    Nancy, I’m so glad that I found your site! I’ve only been marbling for about 2 yrs off and on but I love it. I struggle with paint thickness and falling paint but am always experimenting. I’d love to show you some of my things to see what you think.

    • Ann,
      Welcome to the addiction! I struggled with too thick paint in the beginning also. Then I was introduced to Golden’s Fluid Acrylics and that took care of most of my paint problems. They are more expensive, but well worth it. ( and, no, I’m not paid by them!)
      I’d love to see what you are doing. I’m not sure if you can post them in comments. If you can’t, just send me a link if you have a blog, web page or FB account.
      Nancy

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