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Fifi's Craft: Oil Paint Marbling

With Fifi Colston

You can make really beautiful paper for craft use by marbling it. It's a very traditional technique going back centuries that works on the basis that oil and water don't mix. You can try this technique without the paste and just use water, but the results aren't quite as lovely. The paste makes it possible to make better patterns by holding the paint in place. I have heard that a gelatine mix will work well too if you want to use what's in the panty!

You will need:

Oil paint
Turpentine (doesn't need to be the expensive artists sort)
Wallpaper paste or size (about a teaspoon of dried powder mixed up with water- follow the instructions on the packet)
Card or thick paper
A baking dish- use a disposable foil one for a quick clean up
A skewer/toothpick
Lots of newspaper and paper towels

Fill the baking tray nearly to the top with the made up wallpaper paste.

Mix up different colour oil paints in small containers with the turps. It needs to be thin enough that it won't sink the bottom of the baking dish when dropped in and thick enough so it doesn't spread too quickly across the paste surface.

Carefully drop blobs of thinned paint onto the water in your baking dish.

Swirl them around with a skewer- you can try different patterns.

Carefully lay a piece of paper over paste surface so that it all of it touches all of it. It won't sink- the paste holds it up.

Lift it off before it gets soggy; it will lift your paint pattern with it.

Let the paste drip off it- you can even run it under a tap, then lay it aside on an opened out plastic bag to dry. If you have room, peg it on a string line somewhere that won't make a mess if it drips.

You can get different effects by using a wide comb made from toothpicks and cardboard to pull patterns through the paint, swirling the colours in different directions or letting the blobs of paint be completely random.

Uses for marbled paper:

Cards, gift tags, to cover small boxes and notebooks, bookmarks, origami ...

Now if you want to get really tricky, try marbling 3D objects, like blown eggshells, candles and jars.