A couple of months ago, I heard about using nail polish in water to marble paper and other items, but it wasn’t until a few days ago that I learned you could use something a bit more economical: spray paint!
The way water marbling works is: you take a big, shallow container (like a Rubbermaid bin), fill it with a few inches of water, drop and drizzle your paint onto the surface of the water, and just press your paper straight into it!
Now, nail polish isn’t cheap by any means, and you can be limited by the color selection that’s available.
But Montana Gold Acrylic Professional Spray Paint is currently on sale for only $6.99 a can AND there are over 80 beautiful, vibrant colors to choose from!
Plus, spray paint will give you a greater spread of color, while nail polish would only give you streaks.
Working here at Cheap Joe’s gives me some amazing opportunities and perks–like being able to do my projects in our Workshop, where there is a projector set up to where you can see everything that’s happening on the Instructor’s desk.
With the help of CJ’s Search Engine Optimizer, Megan, taking photos of the projector, I was able to get some great action shots to help explain my process!
So, I started by filling this plastic concrete mixing tub with about 3 inches of water.
Using a container that is wide is very important because you need plenty of surface area to lay down your paint, especially if you’re working with full sheets of paper or large objects.
I’d also recommend that you learn from my mistake and consider wearing some gloves because the paint is going to stick to ANYTHING that is dry–including your skin… The Montana Disposable Black Latex Gloves are awesome because they have a special micro-grip system on the palms that keeps anything (specifically spray cans) from slipping out of your hands, and since your hands will be getting wet in this project, that’s a pretty useful feature!
As you can see, I put down a mostly-solid layer of Blue Magic.
Then I followed that with some sporadic splashes of Malachite.
While the layer of Blue Magic was more consistent, I got a little crazy with the Malachite and made a few bursts to really liven up the design.
And would this really be one of MY projects if I didn’t use gold as an accent color? Besides, I couldn’t pass up Montana Gold’s Goldchrome. It’s the most brilliant metallic gold I’ve ever seen in a spray paint.
Here’s what I’m working with on my first sheet of paper–ah, yes. Paper. The most important part!
I used Mitz TerraSkin Multimedia Art Paper in the Multimedia Bloc format because it’s a great size (9″x12″).
If you haven’t heard of TerraSkin paper, then hold on to your hats because you’re not gonna believe this…it’s made of STONE! That’s right! And that means it’s tear- and water-resistant, making it ideal for this kind of project–you know, where it’s being submerged in water–and completely bleed-proof. It’s also Acid-free and eco-friendly!
Here’s a video of Joe himself demonstrating watercolor painting on TerraSkin!
Now where we were…oh yeah! The fun part!
I pressed my paper right into the surface of the water
Then lifted it up!
Not 100% coverage, but that’s okay! You can just go back for round 2!
The second time, I dragged my paper all over the surface and let it collect the paint.
That covered a little bit more, but the best way to get more layers is to let the first one dry completely and then submerge it into a new batch of paint…which is what I did for this one!
Once the paper dried completely (the paper was only wet with WATER, the paint itself was not wet), I pressed it into a batch of just Malachite and Goldchrome and got this!
You can clearly see where the two layers meet:
I also got this gorgeous little golden mountain range that formed from air pockets being trapped between the paint and paper.
Now onto the next one!
There were still a few clusters of paint left in the water from my first batch, but since I’m using the same color scheme for all of these sheets, it was okay! It could only add more interesting designs!
So I went with another Blue Magic base layer–it’s important to remember that whatever color you lay down FIRST is going to be what you see the most of.
I sprayed this one on a little less thick because I did want to present an opportunity for other colors to shine through.
Again with some Malachite.
And, of course, some gold.
By now, I had garnered an audience. And one of the curious onlookers asked why I’m not marbling it with a toothpick or paperclip, and that’s because spray paint marbling works differently than nail polish marbling in that even the tiniest specks of paint are sitting on the surface of the water, and if they touch each other WHILE still on the water, they’ll clump up (like where I’m pointing in the photo above).
Since we want the clumping to happen ON the paper, it’s important to keep the paint as spread out as possible while it’s still on the water. Just let your paper do the work!
So here’s what I had for the second sheet of paper.
Just like before, I pressed it onto the surface and let some paint stick.
Pushed it around to collect a little more…
And here’s what I got!
This guy gave me some very cool textures and lots and lots of dimension in the colors!
For the last one, I switched things up a bit.
Still keeping the paint leftover from the former batches, I started off with Malachite.
Got a nice gradient going.
Then I put Blue Magic over it.
And then lots of gold.
Pressed my paper in…
And swirled it all around.
I mean, I REALLY dragged that baby around the water.
And here’s the finished product!
The huge chunk of white on the left was kind of a disappointment, but the rest of the sheet MORE than makes up for it!
Just check out these thick ridges of color!
And I am losing my MIND over how stunning the flecks of gold are against this swirl of blues and greens! Plus all of the interesting little air bubbles left behind!
Try getting THAT with nail polish!
This was easily the most fun I’ve had in a blog project so far, and I’m really looking forward to making some more!
Typically, this kind of uncertainty in my work makes me a little nervous, but everything turned out beautifully! I could even keep adding layer after layer of color to these sheets, the TerraSkin can take it!
As for right now, they’re ready to be made into cards, bookmarks, negative paintings, or just hung up as is!
Let me know what kind of experiences you’ve had in marbling paper in the comments below!