DIY Paper Marbling

I remember the first time I truly appreciated the beauty of marbled paper – I was in an underground secondhand bookstore, soaked in that intoxicating dust-vanilla-wood smell of old books, and I just happened to come across a set of 18th century encyclopedias. They were bound in old tooled leather, and the edges of the pages were marbled in blue and gold. Unfortunately, I was seventeen and didn’t have $200 to drop on vintage books, but I’ll never forgot how breathtakingly beautiful those volumes were.

Since that day, I’ve always wanted to try marbling paper. There are so many different ways you can marble paper, from the traditional artisinal methods, like Suminagashi ink marbling, to nail polish in water, but this method, by far, is the easiest.

What you’ll need:
  • Shallow tray
  • Spoon or spatula
  • Uncoated heavyweight paper
  • Shaving cream (make sure it’s a foam cream without moisturizers!)
  • Food colouring
  • Squeegee or other scraping tool (I used a stiff piece of cardstock)
  • A chopstick or toothpick for stirring

 

  1. Fill your container with shaving cream. When you’ve got an even layer, squeeze drops of your food colouring in random spots. I mixed my own custom colours beforehand!

 

  1. Mix and fold with your spoon to create a base colour.

 

  1. Drop more colours in, and then draw your chopstick or toothpick back and forth over the shaving cream to create a marbled pattern.

 

  1. Lay your paper flat on top of the shaving cream, and gently press down. I found rubbing the paper a little helped with colour transference! Wait at least one minute.

 

  1. Peel your paper up, lay flat, and scrape off the remaining shaving cream.

 

  1. Let dry on a flat surface. If the paper warps quite a bit, you can run an iron over it on a low setting!
Written and photographed by :: Paige Leigh Reist / @thewholesomehandbook

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