Paper Marbling Fun

On Tuesday we met with our Campfire group which is all homeschoolers from our COOL group.  The activity of the day was marbling paper and it was so much fun!  The finished product is incredibly beautiful and it's so easy.  I thought I'd give a tutorial for the method we used.  There are other methods, some of which you can find here, here and here.  I even found this very cool article about the history of marbling paper.  Here's another description of marbling with liquid starch.

Our technique was explained by the mom who brought the materials.  We used regular old laundry starch in it's concentrated form, straight from the bottle.  Then she had acrylic paints such as are used for wood craft and you can find at Michaels, Joann or Hobby Lobby (Delta Ceramcoat, etc.).  The paints were diluted with water a bit, so they are somewhat runny.  If they are too runny they spread out too much, if too thick they sink, so you may have to experiment a bit.

All ready to start:

First the colors are dripped onto the layer of starch in a pan.  The starch needs to be about an inch deep and the pan needs to be big enough to lay in the piece of paper without curling. 

Then the colors are swirled to make a pattern if desired.  It also looks beautiful without the swirling. We used a wooden skewer, a popsicle stick or a plastic fork to do the swirling.

Then the paper is carefully laid down in the pan, middle first, then letting the ends down.  Keep the paper on the surface and gently press the corners to make sure all the edges are in the paint.

Lift the paper out carefully, turn over and then place in a basin with several inches of water.  You want to gently agitate in the water to remove the starch.  It takes 15 or 20 seconds.

When the starch has been rinsed off, lay somewhere to dry.  I think this project is good for most ages of kids.  You do need to wear clothes you don't mind getting messy because the acrylics may not come out.  Also, I think that one thing that made this so successful was that we had three stations and each one had a different combination of colors that work really well together.  We had greens and blues at one, purples, pinks and blues at another and fall colors at the third.  We found that heavy paper such as cardstock works best.  All the papers ended up curling when dry, but I'm going to try ironing them and see what happens.  Some of these may end up in ATC's eventually!

We got extremely lucky that day.  We did the craft in the sun as you can see.  It was beautiful outside, but just as we were done, the wind sprang up, the clouds rushed in and the temperature dropped 20 degrees.  By the time the Campfire meeting was over it was rainy and in the 40's!