How To Marble Acrylic Paint [All You Need To Know]

Marbling paper with acrylic paint is a straightforward process. Using the right materials and the best brushes for acrylic painting, you’ll be able to create amazing marbling effects. 

It is an excellent way for kids to create exciting art pieces in a manner that’s also fun. Paper marbling is a delicate craft that produces a unique pattern every time you do it. You need gentle hands to do it, but your artwork will be gorgeous. 

With this guide, you’ll learn how to use acrylic paints on marble paper. This guide will also cover the other techniques you can use to this end, so there’s plenty for everyone to have fun with. 

What Is Paper Marbling?

What is paper marbling

Before getting into more details, let’s first understand what paper marbling is. It’s a simple art form that produces fantastic patterns akin to marble when made carefully. The basic steps will have you placing a sheet of paper over a tray with paint suspended in water or similar fluid, allowing the colors to imprint on it. 

Here’s the fun bit: you don’t have to use paper or fabric to marble something. The color can be applied to a multitude of surfaces as long as the paint sticks to them. Acrylic paint, for instance, has excellent adhesion and will stick to the sheets excellently. 

Marbling needs delicate hands, but you’ll get the hang of it with practice. Once you do, the artwork you make is sure to floor people. 

Materials Needed For Marbling

To marble paper with acrylic paint, you will need the following materials: 

    • Thick paper
    • Liquid craft acrylic paint
    • Tap water to float the color in
    • Liquid starch as a surfactant
    • Wooden skewers or glass rods
    • A tray larger than the paper you’re using
    • Space to dry your finished artwork
    • Paper clips
    • Paper towels or napkins to clean up afterward

Remember that thick paper is ideal since it lowers the chances of ripping apart once it is placed in the water. Apart from liquid craft acrylic paint, you can use regular acrylic paint as well. You can also keep other items at the ready, such as scissors and clips, if you wish to modify your marbled paper at any given moment. 

Make Your Own Marbled Paper In 5 Easy Steps

Step 1: Preparing Liquid Starch

You can purchase liquid starch from the market or make it at home. This will help the paint stick to your paper well.

Making liquid starch at home is easy. You’ll need: 

    • One tablespoon of cornstarch
    • 3¾ cups of tap water 
    • ¼ cup of cold water. 

Mix the cornstarch in ¼ cup of cold water until it becomes a fine paste. In a separate container, boil 3¾ cups of water for a few minutes. 

Pour the starch paste into the boiling water. Stir frequently and allow the mix to cool down. Prepare a separate container and store the freshly prepared liquid starch in it. 

Step 2: Diluting Acrylic Paint

Before suspending acrylic paint in liquid starch, you will need to thin the paint. Mix equal parts of water and paint in a container. This will make your acrylic paint less dense, allowing it to float atop liquid starch. 

Step 3: Suspending Acrylic Paint In Liquid Starch

Liquid starch is a dense fluid, so acrylic paint floats on it effortlessly. With a wooden skewer, set the paint droplets on top of the liquid starch to make them float. You can experiment with several colors and get excellent results. 

Once you’ve made color splotches, run the skewer through them. Doing this will give you an effect similar to marble, which will be transferred onto the sheet. 

Step 4: Transferring The Pattern Onto The Paper

Gently place the sheet of paper atop the liquid starch. Allow the inks to transfer onto the sheet and produce the marbled effect. If you want the pattern on both sides, you can choose to submerge the paper in the fluid completely. 

Step 5: Drying The Finished Artwork

Paper can tear apart easily when wet, so you should make a note to remove the marbled sheet carefully. Although thicker gauge paper won’t shred as quickly, a little mindfulness goes a long way with the craft. 

Set your finished artwork on clean napkins or paper towels and dry off water remains. Alternatively, you could hang the marbled paper out to dry. It could take a long while before the paper dries completely, ranging from 4 to 24 hours. 

With these instructions, your artwork will be ready to be framed and displayed. 

Other Paper Marbling Paints

There’s no need to limit yourself to acrylic paints. You can choose to marble paper with other options like latex paints as well. The main difference between acrylic and latex paint is that the former is a chemical-based expandable option while the latter is water-based. 

A few other options when it comes to paper marbling paints are as follows: 

1. Inks

Ink is perhaps the oldest medium used for marbling papers. It can create various interesting marble-like effects on the water and readily transfer onto a canvas. Inks may require you to thicken the water with either starch or methylcellulose; otherwise, they may sink to the bottom of your tray.

2. Oil Paint

Oil paints easily suspend in water and get transferred onto the canvas without difficulty. The water needs to be thickened for marbling since it doesn’t mix with the paint. Oil paint is ideal for marble paper as it produces vibrant textures unlike any other.

One caveat to oil paint marbling is that oil floats on water and moves around freely, making it complicated to achieve the desired pattern. It involves more care than other marbling methods listed here.

3. Spray Paint

Spray paints offer a range of metallic colors, giving a unique look to your marbled paper. With these, you will not be limited to primary colors. A splash of gold or a touch of silver can spruce up a canvas.

Take note to use these in a well-ventilated area, as spray cans often possess a strong odor. Because of this, spray paints are not suitable for kids.

4. Food Color

The gateway to marbling for kids, food color marbling, will help you create abstract details without using anything other than oil, food color, and water. You don’t require thickened water or any special paper in this process. The result can be messy but reasonably easy, fun, and safe for kids.

5. Shaving Cream

With just a splash of paint, shaving cream marbling is a quick and ready-to-marble technique. All you need to do is spray the cream on a tray and pour a few drops of color. This method is also easy for kids to experiment safely and have fun with. 

Place the card atop the colored cream, wait for the paint to transfer, and then remove it. Get rid of the excess foam, and voila, you’re done! 

Things To Remember When Marbling Paper

Though simple and fun to create, paper marbling requires delicate hands and a few steps of preparation before you marble your sheets. It’s a messy art, and you should know how to clean acrylic paint brushes between colors. Apart from that, take care to minimize hassles before, during, and after the marbling process by following the instructions. 

1. Paper Must Be Of A Thicker Gauge

Marbling involves dipping your paper into a liquid. And thin paper is prone to tears and will require extra care while handling it after marbling. If your sheet is of a thicker gauge, it won’t tear easily, making it an ideal choice for the craft.

That said, the thickness of the paper has to be in moderation. It has to be pliable, so there are no wrinkles in the finished artwork. You can search for paper explicitly designed for marbling on the market.

2. Paint Shouldn’t Sink In The Water

Acrylic paint is denser than water and so, it sinks. This is why liquid starch is used to keep the pigment afloat. You can also search for other thickening materials like methylcellulose for this purpose.

3. Avoid Wrinkles On Your Paper

Wrinkled paper can cause unwanted streaks and gaps in your design. More importantly, it may cause the paint to float away from the sheet, minimizing the area covered on your canvas. Place the sheet flat onto the tray to recreate the details you’ve made with no deviations.

4. The Crispness Of Your Result May Vary

The results of your marbled paper will depend on a few factors, such as the kind of paper and paint. The time it was allowed to sit in the liquid will also determine how vibrant the artwork is.

5. Parental Guidance Is Advised

Some of the methods listed here involve paints and materials that can be harmful to kids. Supervising your kids while they marble paper is always a good idea.

How To Marble Acrylic Paint Frequently Asked Questions ?

How can I avoid excess paint residues at the bottom when drying marbled paper?

You can blot the excess paint off with a clean paper towel or napkin before hanging your artwork out to dry. Doing this will prevent the paint from coagulating at the bottom of your sheet and messing up your designs. 

Does the water need to be thickened for marbling?

You will not need to thicken water for every paint. Denser substances like acrylic paint will require you to thicken the water; otherwise, it won’t float on the surface at all. If you’re using shaving cream for marbling, you won’t need any additional steps to get the desired result. 

Can I use drawing paper for marbling?

Yes. Drawing paper is usually thicker than print paper, so it won’t fall apart during the process. This makes it ideal for the craft as it is absorbent and uncoated to allow pigments to seep in. 

Should the paper be treated before marbling?

With the methods listed in this article, you will not need to treat your paper with anything. Ordinary drawing paper functions well enough as a medium. 

You will need to treat the paper with alum when it comes to traditional methods, such as the Turkish ebru style. Since it’s been around for so long, paper marbling has a different technique in every part of the world, so the ways of treating paper will also vary. 

How to marble acrylic paint conclusion

How To Marble Acrylic Paint Conclusion

The craft of paper marbling has never quite seen a downturn since its inception. Even after having been around for years, the appeal doesn’t fade away because it produces unique designs every time. 

An important thing to note while marbling with acrylic paint is that normal tap water will not work without being thickened. Once the water is thickened by using liquid starch, you’ll be able to make your desired patterns. The only step left would be to submerge your paper in it. 

We hope the instructions in this guide will help you marble paper with acrylic paint without much trouble. The process is simple and can even be followed by kids easily. 

Creating unique designs to express your art is an easy task now with paper marbling and it’s sure to be fun for everyone involved! 

DIYers interested in more types of painting options, checkout our other article in how to chrome paint to enhance your DIY knowledge.

Leave a Comment