· 2 disposable trays any size and 2 inches deep
· Alum (DickBlick or Jacquard sells this)
· Carrageenan (DickBlick or Jacquard also sells this)
· Paper – any sort but it has to be thick enough not to buckle too much when it is dry. E.g. printer paper is too thin.
· Newspaper – plenty of it
· Diluted liquid hand or dish soap – a couple of drops to 1 cup of water
· Brushes – one for each colour and a fan brush for the soap
· Disposable cups
· Sink for washing the paper after you have printed
If you have to, cut the paper to a size that will fit entirely into the tray. Cut plenty of sheets too as this is fun and you will go through a lot when you get going.
Dissolve ¼ cup Alum in 4 cups of warm water. Pour into one tray.
Dip the paper into the alum, soaking both sides so you don’t have to remember which side is treated. Make sure there are no little bubbles adhering to the paper when you do this. If there are any bubbles this will prevent the colour from sticking to the paper – not a good thing. Knock any off that you find. Flip the paper and check for bubbles and detach them from the paper. Pull out and drain briefly and lay on newspaper and allow to dry completely.
While the paper is drying and preferably the night before you want to do the marbling, make the carrageenan solution. Mix 1 tablespoon of carrageenan with 4 cups of warm water in a blender for 1 minute. Pour into the other tray. Add 4 more cups of warm water to the carrageenan and mix. Carrageenan is found in ice cream so OK to use kitchen stuff. Allow it to rest for 12 hours so all the fine bubbles come to the surface and pop.
This is my setup
This is the fun part. Dilute the colours you want to marble with, so that they are fairly watery. I am not sure on the exact ratio of paint to water but you will get the idea by how well the colour floats on top of the carrageenan. If the paint is not watery enough it will sink and if too watery it will disperse across the top of the carrageenan that when you dip the paper the colours will be faint. Also, use bold colours. These seem to work the best. You are looking for a dispersion of colour that is still bright but not clumped in one area.
I use brushes to flick the colours across the top of the carrageenan. 2-3 colours are best. More than this it becomes too busy looking.
I liked this look, so I got a piece of paper and bowed it in the middle. You want to dip the center part of the paper in the carrageenan first, working out to the sides. Lift off, and rinse under running water to remove the unadhered paint and carageenan. The water should not be running too fast or the paint will slough off the paper. Then wet the back of the paper so it will dry flat. In this print the white bit in the middle was where I got a bubble and it did not contact with the surface of the paint. Not attractive at all.
Let dry completely. Do not touch. Recondition the surface of the carrageenan by dragging a piece of folded newspaper across the surface to remove any remaining paint.