Paper Marbling

French Curl pattern

I was researching the art of book restoration and got sidetracked by the art of paper marbling. Paper marbling further sidetracked me into the art of ebru which I will post about later.  

Paul Bettany was the best part of this movie
which was disappointing compared to the book.
The Inkworld trilogy by Cornelia Funke is a series of books I read to the lad a few years ago. Inkheart, the first book, was made into a movie.  The main character (played by Brendon Fraser) was a book binder and restoration craftsman by trade but it was his ability to read life into any book's characters that was the main idea of the story. Alongside the story there were references to the tools of his trade and what was involved in some of the work he did and I found it fascinating.

One of the things a bookbinder requires is end papers. They're the inside part of the hard cover and first page of the book. They're thicker than the other pages and nowaday are usually just plain blank paper. Way back when craftsman and their work were valued, bookbinders took pains with their craft and end papers were works of art in their own right. Paper marbling is a technique used to create unique patterns on paper using ink or paints and they also employ various tools to create these patterns.

These are various patterns using the marbling technique

The patterns are the result of color floated on either plain water or a viscous solution, and then carefully transferred to an absorbent surface, such as paper or fabric. Truly it is magical to watch and I have included a video below so you can see it done.

The ink or paint is dropped into the water and is able to be manipulated because there is no stirring involved and the various colours never blend together. They stay in their individual colour blobs until they are moved around by various means and even then they maintain their integrity, they just change shape.

This is called a peacock pattern

This is how some of the marbled paper is used

Want to know how it's done? Probably we've all had a chance to do some marbling, or have had kids come home from school on arts and crafts day with examples so we have an idea how it's accomplished. Below is a step by step video of marbling by Heidi Finley. Enjoy!


Anonymous said...

We did this when I was in grade 3. Model car oil paints floating on water transferred to a sheet of paper. Always thought it was cool. One of the best teachers I had. Mrs. Burdette.


Anonymous said...

I want to learn this art


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