Home Crochet baby clothesMarbling - Instructions and ideas for paper, wood and fabric

Marbling - Instructions and ideas for paper, wood and fabric

  • Preliminary remarks
    • To dye
    • Shell / substrate
    • color drops
    • speed
    • white spirit
    • primer
  • Instructions | Marbling - paper and wood
  • Instructions | Marble fabric
  • ideas

Marbling is one of the most artistic crafting techniques. You can embellish a variety of materials and objects - from paper to wood to fabric. In this detailed guide, we provide basic instructions and some tips and a few concrete ideas.

Marbling is about creating spectacular patterns with color (s). The basic principle of this crafting technique is not difficult. However, it usually takes a few tries until it works as desired. With our instructions and tips we want to help you to get a great (albeit not perfect) result the first time. Do not be too strict at the beginning and start slowly. Over time you will become more experienced and better - and your marbling more beautiful. Start through!

Preliminary remarks

The art of marbling can be learned by anyone who has a little patience and passion for creative tasks . Nevertheless, you should start with a rather simple project. For a simple piece of paper is best. Think of it as a test object. From the marbled sheet you can then, for example, make a bookmark or a birthday card.

In short: paper is most easily provided with a noble marbling . Later, with a little more experience, it is also worth decorating wood or fabric elements with a marble pattern.

To dye

An essential point in connection with the crafting technique is the choice of colors. Basically, you can almost always use liquid colors for paper and wood.

The best are:

  • Marbling,
  • Oil paints,
  • Acrylic paints and
  • liquid water colors

Tip: For paper and wood creations, we recommend using either special marbling, oil or acrylic paints. They reliably give you beautiful results. Marbling shades are available in a set of six from about ten euros.

For fabric elements, it is best to use fabric color (s) (as indicated in the instructions below in the Materials List).

Shell / substrate

The surface - usually a flat shell - must be large enough to fit your workpiece (paper, wood or fabric) loosely. Loose here means that the edge is still a few inches away. Only in this way can you easily grasp and pull out the finished marbled object . So be careful not to use too small a base.

color drops

Take a quick look at the steps 10 and 11 of the basic instructions for marbling paper and wood.

The following scenarios are conceivable:

a) The drop sinks to the bottom. - Then you need to add a little more turpentine to the paint.
b) The color does not spread at all. - Then you have to add a little more water to the water-paste mixture.
c) The drop remains on the surface and spreads easily. - Everything OK!

Rule of thumb: The color you drip last "displaces" the previous colors. It is thus the dominatrix and characterizes the marbling. You should include this fact in your design considerations.

Important: Do not use too many colors at once. At the beginning is optimal to take only two colors. You can gradually increase and eventually conjure a proper rainbow marbling.


The application of paint must be as fast as possible. So do not hesitate, once you start flipping the colors. This is the only way to achieve a nice result.

Note: If you work too slowly, the color starts to drop.

Also important: When dripping in the paint, always stay a hand's breadth above the water-paste mixture, otherwise it can also break through the surface and sink.

white spirit

A little tip: You do not necessarily need to use "real" turpentine to marble paper and wood, but you can also use turpentine substitutes. But: Our experience shows that the results are better with turpentine.

Note about paper

If the paper is still very wavy after the act of marbling and drying, it is advisable to put some heavy books on it overnight.


Elements that are not pure white should be primed before marbling . This provides better results.


Be sure to use high quality materials, both in terms of paper, wood or fabric and color (s). Otherwise you can not expect any marvels.

Instructions | Marbling - paper and wood

Paper and wood are the ideal materials for beginners in the special art of marbling. With the following basic instructions, you transform a conventional sheet of paper and ordinary pieces of wood into magical accessories that you can then easily process on request - such as cards, boxes or figures.

You need these materials:

  • wallpaper paste
  • water
  • turpentine
  • household buckets
  • flat bowl
  • several bowls
  • pipettes
  • toothpick
  • wooden spatula
  • Wooden spoon
  • kitchen roll
  • "Liquid" colors
  • rubber gloves

How to proceed:

Step 1: Mix five liters of water with three tablespoons of wallpaper powder in a household bucket. Use a regular wooden spoon for careful stirring.

Step 2: Let the mix stand for three to four minutes.
Step 3: Thoroughly stir the water-paste mixture again.
Step 4: Let the mixture rest for 20 minutes.
Step 5: Pour the mix into the shallow dish.

Step 6: Put a hazelnut-sized piece of your desired color into a bowl.

Step 7: Dilute the color dropwise with turpentine.
Step 8: Mix the paint and turpentine well with a wooden spatula.

Note: Continue until a creamy color mixture is formed. It is important to make sure that the color at the end is still quite "solid" (not too liquid). At the beginning, this may not work as desired. But with a little practice, you'll soon get the hang of it. Experiment, tinker!

Step 9: Repeat steps 6 through 8 with one to three additional colors.
Step 10: Pick up a little bit of the first color turpentine mixture with a pipette.

Step 11: Carefully pour the color turpentine mix into the water-paste mixture in the shallow dish.

Step 12: Repeat steps 10 and 11 in sequence with the remaining color turpentine mixes.

Note: The colors may easily "pile up" on the water-paste mixture.

Step 13: Using a toothpick, drag any pattern through the paint job. This is how the marbling is created.

This is the "main path" that you must always follow - whether paper or wood should be marbled. Then it's about decorating the respective material with the spectacular color mixture.

Step 14: Put on rubber gloves.

Step 15: Place the piece of paper or piece of wood gently and evenly on the paint surface (start in the middle!). It may be necessary to easily submerge the respective element.

Step 16: Wait a moment for the marbling to transfer to the material.

Tip: This usually only takes a few seconds.

Step 17: Pull the sheet of paper or piece of wood out quickly.
Step 18: Park the element to dry on a smooth surface.

Note: In order to provide another paper or wood element with a chic marbling, you must first "vacuum" the remaining paint from the water-paste mixture. To do this, pick up a piece of paper. With the edge of the same you drive briefly and painlessly over the surface.

You can also use the water-paste mixture for the new marbling if you continue on the same or one of the following days.

Tip: If you want to pick up the mixture, fill it (after removing the remaining paint) into a PET bottle or jar and keep it protected from heat (refrigerator or cool chamber). For more than a week, you should not use the mix. After such a long time, it makes more sense to make a new mix just before the next marbling.

Generally important information for "after"

After the introductory preparatory as well as the subsequent creative act, the unloved part of marbling comes: the cleaning and disposal of used utensils.

a) Never pour liquid residues into the sink or toilet! Instead, they get into the garbage . First, carefully wipe all used items that still have paint on with normal kitchen paper. Then let the kitchen crepe dry well with the paint residues, and finally throw it into the dustbin.

Tip: Wallpaper paste consists of methylcellulose. It is non-toxic, non-allergenic and odorless powder. Accordingly, you can easily dispose of residues of the water-paste mixture in the toilet.

b) The tools used, such as the wooden spoon and the spatula, do not rinse until you have removed the paint residues as described above with kitchen paper.

Instructions | Marble fabric

The marbling of fabric is a little more complicated than the special color decoration of paper and wood. Find out how to get the desired result!

You need this:

  • material element
  • fabric color
  • shaving cream
  • small spoon
  • ruler
  • toothpick
  • kitchen roll
  • Underlay (1)

(1) Suitable are, for example:

  • a large, four-liter freezer bag, which you split and spread on two sides
  • a sufficiently large tub (for foot baths) or
  • a flat shell that can easily grasp the fabric element

How to proceed:

Step 1: Prepare your mat and place it on the worktable in front of you.

Tip: The underlay must be completely clean and provide enough space to completely absorb the fabric piece.

Step 2: Spray a mandarin-sized amount of shaving cream onto the surface.
Step 3: Spread the foam with the ruler.

Tip: After rubbing, the foam should be about one centimeter thick. He also has to cover the entire surface of the fabric.

Step 4: Apply a little bit of fabric color to the foam.

Note: Be careful not to concentrate the color on a stain, but to distribute it nicely. To do this, just use a small spoon.

Step 5: Grab a toothpick and "paint" a marble pattern across the white foam.

Important: Take care not to stain all the foam. So you better use a little less color first and add it when needed.

Step 6: Pick up the element to be marbled and put it on the foam.

Step 7: Press the fabric lightly around it.

Tip: Make sure everything is well even and the fabric "sticks" to the foam. Notice that foam is missing from a corner, do not despair. Just press some foam from the inside out with your fingers.

Step 8: Wait for the pattern to show in the fabric.
Step 9: Grab the marbled fabric and gently wipe it with kitchen paper.

Note: Only drive over it lightly so that the foam does not flow into the heater in the next step.

Step 10: Place the fabric on the warm (not hot!) Heater for about ten minutes.

Step 11: Wash the fabric by hand with cold to lukewarm water (without detergent).

Step 12: Let the fabric dry.
Step 13: Iron the fabric. How to fix the color.

Note: This step also ensures that the marbled fabric will survive any wash without losing its marbling.


Here are a few examples of an overview of what you can marry.

  • Sheet of paper (for bookmark or folding card)
  • white paper plates
  • Piece of wood (for further processing into a napkin holder or bookend)
  • fabric scarf
  • cloth bag
  • white pillowcase
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