Marbleizing paper is something I’ve been wanting to try out for a while now. There are plenty of sources that sell marbleized paper, but if you want custom color combinations you may have to DIY. I threw around a few different ideas about what I would make out of the finished product, but ultimately, I decided on drink coasters for all those frosty summertime drinks.
To get started here are some of the key ingredients you’ll need:
Note: Alum (helps paint adhere to paper) and Methyl Cellulose (thickening agent) are not available at every craft store- however, any dedicated art supply store like Blick will have them in stock. Everything else can be purchased at any craft store or are things you probably already have in your kitchen
1. To allow the marbleizing mixture to adhere to your paper, prepare the alum solution: pour 2 tablespoons of alum powder into 2 cups of warm water. This solution only needs to be brushed on the side of paper you will marbleize. Since the solution is clear, mark the paper on the side you want to prepare before you brush the solution on so you will know which side is which. Hang the papers on a clothesline to dry. In a pinch, you can simply tie yarn or twine between two sturdy objects.
2. Meanwhile, prepare your marbleizing solution. Combine 1/2 cup methyl cellulose powder with 4 quarts of cold water in a large bowl. Whisk the mixture until it is lump-free and let it sit for an hour (stirring occasionally). When it is ready, the mixture should be slightly syrupy.
3. Pour the methyl cellulose mixture into a shallow pan. Thin your acrylic paints with a little water so they will not immediately sink to the bottom of the pan. To get your paint colors in the pan, you can either dip a paintbrush in the paint and tap it to create a speckled effect, or you can lightly drizzle it. You can use as many colors as you like, but I would stick to four or less. To create a swirl pattern- use a chopstick or knitting needle to combine the colors.
4. Hold your prepared paper by two of its corners and lay it on top of the solution. Smooth out any air pockets and let it sit for up to 15 seconds. Lift the paper off the solution and rinse with water (marbleized side up) to remove excess solution from the paper.
5. Hang dry for two or more hours. After the papers are dry, trace the shape of your coaster on the paper and cut out the shapes.
6. Paint or stain your wooden coasters to the desired color(s). Take your glue sealant (I used Mod Podge) and brush the back of the paper and the coaster surface. Smooth out the paper and relieve any air bubbles beneath the surface. Brush the top of the paper and the entire coaster with the glue sealant to create a water resistant seal.
While doing this project, I definitely picked up few tips along the way. A few of my papers came out a little smeared in the begging. I came to learn that this was the result of not letting the paper sit long enough on the solution. Also, when you rinse the paper, be sure to wash away all the marbleizing solution. It will lighten the color but if you let the paper sit longer on top of the solution, the print will still be dark enough. My advice is to prepare more papers than you plan on using so that there is room for a little trial and error.
As summer inches closer, these would make for a great homemade hostess gift or even a customized engagement or housewarming present!