Secrets of Paper Marbling

This is an excellent resource I just found explaining why I have been struggling to find any comprehensive directions or a oral history of paper marbling


New Aluminum Sulphate Batch

New recipe:

Four tablespoons aluminum sulphate

One quart of water, microwaved for five minutes- account for evaporation?

This solution was very different in appearance and smell from any previous batches I have made- and dried out my skin wherever it made contact. Hopefully this signifies a stronger potency and will make a difference when marbling.

Coated 19 sheets of various paper types and sizes

for the first time tried to cat objects with aluminum sulphate solution- two pre-primed bones, and a glass jar

From October 29th

I coated the paper about a week in advance with:

1 teaspoon aluminum sulphate, dissolved into 8oz room temperature water

With a small sponge, I dipped the sponge in the solution then rubbed a single layer over the paper. The paper dried hanging from clothes pins dark room-style, then were pressed under books for about seven days to flatten.

YIELD: eight 15” x 18” pieces of paper, coated in mordant

For the size:

4 tablespoons methocel, dissolved in 1 gallon lukewarm water

needs to be hot water next time so the size “gels” and the polymer can do its job

ImageImageI I use the colors that came in the Jacquard kit, as pictured above- they were extremely thin, and spread quickly. 


This was the first page I marbled. As soon as the paper is lifted from the surface, it must be rinsed off IMMEDIATELY, because there is plenty of excess size still on the page. 

As you can see here, I did not properly rinse off the size, and it pooled on the paper collected pigment. 


End of quarter 2

So at the end of quarter two, I have reached my goals of teaching myself paper marbling. I have been doing extensive research on the Turkish form of Ebru, and the Japanese form of Suminagashi, which are two ancient marbling styles.

I have been contemplating the significance of my project, which at this point is trying to take marbling out of its traditional context and trying to modernize it- teaching myself contemporary processes and trying them out through documented experiments, AND for the first time marbling sculptural objects.

To prepare for my delve into these new processes, I placed an open request in the morning announcements asking for nail polish donations, and the response has been staggering! I have received so many donations, and will begin this process over break.

To prepare for the sculptural marbling projects, I have been painting some animal bones I have with a primer, to prep them for marbling. ImageImage


Cut paper

In the past few weeks, I have been making sculptural drawings from the marbled pages I made. Image

I am thinking of continuing in this vein, and cutting out more woodland plants and animals, to make a wall-sized scene. When I marble more pages in darker colors, I would like to make cutouts of planets and nebula-esque imagery.

Surprisingly, there are not that many online resources offering information on the classical Turkish paper marbling technique Ebru. This website has proved to be vaguely useful, not giving any specific quantities or exact names for the materials but nonetheless pointing me in the right direction.


I’ll post some photos of the marbling I have done with the Jaquard kit, I found the pigment to be WAY too thin.