How To: Paper Marbling

This is the first in what I hope will be a semi-regular series on “how to do stuff” – arts-related stuff, of course. Since I’ve been marbling paper at the Minnesota Center for Book Arts for the past year, I thought I’d start there.

The video above is by no means comprehensive. If you want more information about the history and various techniques of paper marbling, click here. For a vast array of different pattern samples, click here. If you’re interested in trying paper marbling yourself, the MCBA holds classes about twice a year, with open studio days for you to marble on your own every few months.

  • Heather

    Great article! I like the step-by-step explanation of the technique. Beautiful paper!

  • wow – gorgeous! makes me want to give it a try!

  • Carole Machek

    I loved the description and fabulous piece of art produced. Thank you and I do want to try my hand at it sometime.

  • Fiona Webster

    I’m struck, Marianne, by how you (& some of the other marblers) combine a few colors & a minimalist design w/ ample variety in shapes, spacing, & paint dispersion, to make a dynamic, seductive pattern. Before, I’d only seen the conventional (opposite) approach: more colors, super-detailed designs & orderly layouts in which complex shapes, exacting paint control & precise spacing add up to such a perfect, static, over-all design, the picture looks machine-made–yuk. (Say, could you drop me a line? I’ve got a couple questions.) =smile=

  • Fiona Webster

    Oops–I thought, when I asked you (Marianne) if you could drop me a line, that there’d be a link to my e-mail address in my previous posting. ‘Guess not. It’s But if you don’t have time to write, don’t worry about it, I’ll completely understand.

  • Thanks Marrianne, enjoyed this little demo online today, will pass on the link to others.

  • Wonderful clear demo! Thank you, Marianne.

    (I’m in Australia and your link was sent to me by a fellow book artist.)

  • Norbu Tenzin

    I am one of handmade paper maker in Bhutan, I have seen some of your paper marbled and it looks so interesting, so hope it would be very beautiful if I could do on handmade paper. So what type of color you use for paper marbling and it needs special color for it or what type of color can be used. So am waiting for your advice and suggestion. Regards Norbu Tenzin