How To Use Marbling Inks

How To Use Marbling Inks

Use Marbling Inks to create marbled gift wrap, book covers, decorate gift bags and more.


Carol Kearns decorates paper using Marbling Inks
Carol Kearns decorates paper using Marbling Inks


This decorative art form was favoured by the Victorians and has been used to decorate paper for centuries.  You can see excellent examples on the inside cover of older books.

Marbling is a method of decorating paper or fabric to imitate marble and other stone where colour is suspended in a thickened liquid and manipulated into various patterns.  Paper or fabric is then laid upon the mixture and the pattern prints onto the surface.


Marbling Inks

What Do I Need To Do Marbling?

You will need the following Art Supplies:

– A large tray with deep sides, a foil roasting tin or plastic tub is ideal.

– A large jug of cold water.

Marbling Thickener & Marbling Inks in different colours.

– Paper or fabric.

– Cocktail sticks or Marbling comb.


Using Marbling Inks Step By Step Instructions:

How To Do Marbling


1. Prepare the bath by adding 2 heaped tablespoons of Thickener to 1 litre of cold water and stir thoroughly.  Leave to stand for 2 hours before pouring a 1 – 2cm layer of the bath into a flat tray or plastic tub.  This should be larger than the piece to be printed.

2. Using the dropper or a pipette carefully drop the selected Marbling Inks onto the surface of the mixture.  Let the colour spread and settle before using a cocktail stick, point of a knife or comb to swirl and move the paint around the tray until you achieve the pattern you want.


How To Create A Marbled Pattern With Marbling Inks


3. When you are happy with your pattern place your paper or fabric onto the surface of the bath by rolling it on making sure it is completely flat.  Leave it for 10 – 15 seconds before carefully lifting out by rolling back.


Lifting Up Your Marbled Paper


4. Quickly rinse under running water to remove excess ink and dry flat.

5. If you are marbling onto fabric just iron on the reverse side of the fabric for 3 minutes using a hot setting.


Carol Kearns is a freelance illustrator.  She also runs bookbinding workshops.  We asked Carol what she thought of Marbling Inks:


pebeo marbling inks book


“I’ve marbled with oil-based marbling kits before and have got very quick results. However, you tend to be left with some oily patches which take a very long time to dry. The Pebeo Marbling Inks give a really nice marbled surface so the paper is ready to use for art projects as soon as it is dry and it is also extremely easy to use.”


 Carol Kearns Creates Marbled Paper
Here Carol has combed the inks up and down and from side to side with a cocktail stick giving a very complex pattern.


“I worked with 100gsm printer paper – this was thin enough to ensure it rested on the surface of the marbling bath but strong enough to be lifted and rinsed before drying.  All the effects were achieved with a cocktail stick which I used to manipulate the inks on the surface of the bath.  I also used lots of plastic pipettes to better control the placing of the inks on the bath; only using the dropper supplied in the lid of the inks to mix colours in separate small containers (those tiny single portion jam jars are ideal).”


Marbling Inks Straight From The Bottle
Carol used Pebeo Marbling Ink straight from the bottle in this piece. Although the colours are not subtle the feather like appearance is beautiful.

Carol’s Top Tips For Using Marbling Inks:

1. Mix the colours to get a wider variety and add varying degrees of white for added subtlety.

2. Really work the paints with the cocktail stick.

3. Achieve different effects by using different tools to manipulate the ink.  Try a comb or a feather.

4. Don’t let the paper go under the water.


Create extra special book covers or gift wrap for this year’s Christmas presents with Marbling Inks.


Buy Marbling Inks and other Art Supplies online with Pullingers Art Shop.

3 thoughts on “How To Use Marbling Inks

    1. Hi Tessa!

      The Pebeo Marbling ink will work on most fabrics, but silk is a bit different. It will transfer on to the silk, but won’t be an exact copy of the design in the marbling bath / tray because the ink will probably run all over the place due to the fine fibres in silk. However, it’s worth experimenting to see what kind of results it gives. Let me know if you try it and how you get on!

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