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Craft original from Japan, the papers marbling have patterns similar to a smooth marble or other stones. This papers with marbled forms of water are made with a simple technique that allows a lot of creativity.

The most easier technique is the oil marbling, or with lithographic inks or other oil-based paintings. These paints float on water, which has been thickened with a glue such as latex, and because water and oil repel each other, they do not mix, forming the drawings. The forms created by mixing these oily paintings with the water are very expressive and remember the movement of water and wind.

Marbling paper with oils

On a more advanced level, the technique requires patience and grace to dominate it. We can incorporate other more exotic materials like the “Irish moss”, “alum” or “Ox gall.”

Marbling combs

To marbling (which is like tearing or scratching) we can utilize some combs, that we can also create customizing them according to the forms we need to create. An example of comb can be done with a piece of wood and some nails that extend down at least 2 cm. You can also use cardboard with pins stuck. The objective of combs is to move the drops of paint on the water and create forms. With several combs with different pins or nails we would get a more varied work.

Marbling paper with oils

Technique of the paper marbling


  • A3 or A4 papers
  • Plastic bucket slightly larger than the papers that we are going to marbling.
  • Transparent glue or latex (vinylic). We also can use modified starches and other hydrocolloids, such as gelatine, or surface sizing agents such as alkyl ketene dimer (AKD) or acrylic co-polymers.
  • Oil Colours (better use cheap oils for this job). Turpentine to dilute them.
  • Boats with a dropper, to put the oil and turpentine mixture.
  • Plastic cups, cheap bristle brushes, sponges, punch and marbling combs to create the shapes.

Top Photo from Kamism.co.jp. A company dedicated to create handmade papers.

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