Paper Marbling

This craft activity is taken from Oak Meadow’s 6th Grade Ancient Civilizations Curriculum

paper marbling tank - craft activitiesPaper marbling, an activity in our 6th Grade Ancient Civilizations course, is a beautiful craft activity that unleashes your child’s creativity. Use this handmade paper to frame your student’s work; or you can marble envelopes along with sheets of writing paper to make sets of stationary. The possibilities are endless!

Instructions for Marbling Paper

Marbling is a technique used for decorating paper. It is an old art that can be traced back to fifteenth-century Persia. The secret of “marbling” is that oil and water don’t mix, so when you put oil-based paint in water, the paint floats on top, creating swirling patterns that then transfer onto anything that is dipped into the water.

paper marbling kit from Oak Meadow BookstoreTo marble paper, you will need the following supplies:

  • Drawing paper
  • Dishpan (that you don’t need for dishes again)
  • Oil-based paints (the tubes of oil paint in art stores work well)
  • Paint thinner
  • Sticks for stirring
  • Jars in which to mix colors
  • Newspapers on which to let the marbled paper dry

Alternatively, you can purchase a paper marbling kit through the Oak Meadow Bookstore.

Steps to create marbled paper:

  1. To begin, half fill the dishpan with cold water.
  2. Next, squeeze one of the oil-based paints into a jar. Add a small amount of paint thinner, and stir until the mixture is like cream.
  3. Pour a few drops of this mixture into the water. It should float to the top and spread out. If it doesn’t do this, you should add more paint thinner to the mixture.
  4. Swirl the paint around with a stick. Then, gently lay a sheet of paper onto the surface of the water. Try to avoid letting any air bubbles form underneath the paper. Lift the paper up by the corners, and lay it face up on the newspaper to dry.
  5. Once you have experimented with the process, vary the amount of thinner and try different combinations of colors. You can create many different kinds of colors and swirling patterns with just a few basic colors.