How To Marble With Water-based Inks

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Marbling is a method of decorating paper by floating water-based inks on water, swirling the inks, pressing on the paper and removing it to dry. Traditionally oil based paints were used but I prefer prints which are easy to fold and glue, not rigid and thick like oil based prints.

I use marbled paper for the frontpiece and backpiece of my journals. I use Japanese water-based inks from an art supply shop andĀ  printer paper. I used to use litho paper but prefer printer paper now.

Collect your materials:

  • water-based inks
  • a stirrer
  • rubber gloves
  • paper to fit your journal (I use sheets of A4 printer paper)
  • an appropriate sized sink/bowl of water

Drizzle inks onto the water and stir. I select colours to suit the paper used to cover the journal. You can created a darker pattern by increasing the intensity of the ink.

Smooth the paper over the ink making sure the paper surface is completely touching the water. Print two in similar colours for the front and back.

Remove and lay flat to dry. Usually I leave them outside where the prints dry very quickly but it’s raining today. This print looks streaky as it took a long time to photograph.

The paper needs trimming to fit the pages so I lay it out where it fits on the cover and the press the printed paper over the page edge creating a fold to show where to cut. You can see the fold to the right of the image.


Using the gluestick, put glue all over the surface to be covered and starting from the fold in the middle smooth down the marbled paper until it is flat and smooth. That’s the frontpiece done, now do the back!

Next week I’ll show you how to make the elastic holder which keeps everything I need on the journal, ready to go.

Today is Assistance Dog Day. There are many kinds of assistanceĀ  dogs: guide dogs, hearing alert dogs, seizure alert dogs and other medical alert dogs. Very clever dogs.

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