Saturday, August 29, 2015

Marbling Paper (or Fabric) Using Stencils as a Resist

Over a year ago, I did a series of marbled pieces using stencils as a resist.   

Besides stencils, my other supplies were 140-lb. hot-press (smooth) watercolor paper, Japanese dyes (Boku-Undo), a marbling comb, and water in a plastic basin.

(What I liked about Boku-Undo is that these dyes are so easy to use -- even for me; I don't have much successful marbling experience, yet even I could do it with these!) 

Lots of Internet information is available, showing how to marble paper and fabrics. 

So I won’t repeat here the basic starting steps, and optional additional supplies, involved in marbling.  (With Boku-Undo, there are no supplies needed in addition to what I listed above.)

What I will do, however, is start at the point where (1) you have cut the paper or fabric to a size that corresponds with the size of the stencil and fits easily into the basin holding the floating fluid; (2) the marbling pigments have been floated atop the floating fluid; (3) the pigments have been stirred with a tool to create a marbled pattern. 

At this point, float the plastic stencil on top of the floater liquid.

Place your fabric or 140-lb. hot-press (smooth) watercolor paper -- face down – over the stencil floating on the fluid. 

You will see enough thru the paper or fabric to know when full contact has been made.

Once you see this, carefully lift off the paper or fabric.

Having lifted it and turned it right-side-up, you will see that it has picked up the imprint from the stencil.  Don’t expect picture-perfect results – there will be some (or a lot) of differences between your print and the stencil image.  That’s part of the fun – never knowing exactly what will happen. 

Set aside the print to dry.  Add more dyes and start again.  Or start anew with a fresh basin of water.

Here is one finished print of mine; it’s been immortalized by Bing, which now includes it among its collection of images to illustrate marbling with stencils.  This print was made with Maria McGuire’s stencil Stitch a Doily, available at

Here are more prints that I made in the same way, still using 140-lb. hot-press (smooth) watercolor paper:

Above:  This print was made with my 6"X6" stencil Kaleid.

Above:  This print was made with my 6"X6" stencil Feathers.

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