Remember this inspiration post from almost a year ago? Well, it took me until August, but my mother-in-law Rebecca and I made marbled paper. And then it took me until now to post about it.
The process was actually really fun. We used directions from A Beautiful Mess since they had four trial and error options already. Just note that the preparation to thicken the water and apply alum to the paper does take an hour, so budget that time in (when we originally were going to do this, it was late at night, and an hour was too long so we waited until we had more time another morning).
So first, cutting the paper. We wanted to do various sizes like postcard, 8.5"x11", square and thinner cuts that could act as good bookmarks. (Really thankful for Rebecca because she had an actual cutting grid whereas it would have taken me way longer to cut and wouldn't have as straight of lines.)
Then we applied the alum to the paper:
You will need to cover your paper with alum in order for the design to transfer from the water to the paper without getting washed away. You may apply the alum with a brush, sponge, or a spray bottle. Mix 1 tablespoon of the powdery alum per one cup of water, and then thoroughly wet the surface of your paper. Lay the paper flat or hang it to dry.
After the paper is dry (about one hour), you'll want to iron it—yes, using an actual hot iron to make sure it is as flat as possible for the marbling process. You may have success with ironing a slightly damp piece of paper to prevent set-in wrinkles. — A Beautiful Mess
Then we thickened the water (which felt like I was in a science lab — really neat process):
To thicken the water, you will need methyl cellulose, which is a powdery substance that mixes with water to create a consistency much like a thin gelatin. I prepared my water in a stock pot which has measurements marked out along the inside. Mix 1/4 cup of methyl cellulose with 2 quarts of water for the best marbling consistency. Use a whisk to stir the mixture and let it thicken for one hour. To ensure an even consistency, it's best to whisk the mixture thoroughly every ten minutes, or you'll end up with globs at the bottom of your pan at the end of an hour. After an hour, you may pour the thickened water into your marbling pan and begin! — A Beautiful Mess
And added the oil paint!
After dropping some paint, we used a pointed stick (whatever works — you can use a coffee stirrer or a straw or anything that allows you to go through the gelatin) to drag the paint through and create various designs.
Once we laid a sheet of paper on it, we'd push it in a little and let it sit for a few seconds before peeling it off.
The downside and upside was that after each sheet, the paints would change and sometimes comes together (like below) so you'd never get two of the same design.
We experimented with lots of different kinds of designs! See them all below. And let me know if you try it yourself!
This one is my favorite — Rebecca did it and I love the bright pink with the blue.