Monday, February 28, 2011

Supply List for Paper Transformed - Basic Water Marbling

I know, I know, I really have to start updating my blog on a regular basis. Once I started making videos on You Tube, my blog kind of fell by the wayside. But, now that I'm starting a new video series, I plan to stay on track so that you all can come here and find supply lists and see the results of my latest paper experiments.

For those of you who don't watch me on You Tube, I'm starting a new video series. It's based on the book "Paper Transformed" by Julia Andrus. It's chock full of techniques and different surface design recipes. A GREAT book for all of you technique junkies out there.

Tomorrow I'm starting with the first technique.....Basic Water Marbling. Here's a list of the supplies you will need if you want to follow along.
  • Watercolor paper or rice paper (these are papers that hold up best in water and are best designed to grab pigments)

  • Watercolors - no more than 2-3 colors at a time or the water will get muddy

  • Glass plate or shallow baking dish (I'm using a shallow plastic dish I found at the dollar store)

  • Mordant solution (don't be scared! I'll explain this one.)

I did do some experimenting today and found that my watercolor paper wasn't really picking up the pigments very well. I tried a number of different types of pigment, and the only ones that were really picked up by the paper were Distress Ink reinkers. I tried concentrated watercolors, tube watercolors that I thinned down, and even Starburst Stains.

Julia says in her book that cold pressed watercolor paper works best, and should pick up color, but if not, you can treat the paper with a mordant solution. This is a simple solution that is brushed on your paper and helps the pigments grab onto the paper. All you need to make this is some hot water and some alum. Alum is a type of salt that is most commonly used in pickle making! But we're going to use it on paper. It can be found in the spice aisle of your local grocery store.

The book says to mix 2 cups of hot water with 2 tablespoons of alum. This is fine if you're planning on treating a LOT of paper, but I would halve or even quarter this recipe. I'm not quite sure if you can store this solution and use it later, so for now, I would recommend making it in small batches.

Once the alum has dissolved in the hot water, brush it on one side of the paper that you want treated. Mark the untreated side of the paper lightly with a pencil, (I drew a large X), so that you will know later on which side has the mordant on it. Lay the wet paper aside and let it air dry.

Now you are ready to try water marbling! Stay tuned for my first video and we'll see what kind of results we can achieve. I don't know what the outcome will be, but that's part of the fun!

Hope you can play along!!


  1. I saw your video and you did a marvelous job on the marbling technique. I will have to give it a try. I think i have that exact tray too, lol. Keep it up. :)

  2. Heather...this is awesome! And hey....I've given you a "Stylish Blogger Award", check it out here:

  3. Heather, I have this book, too, and am so happy you are taking it on this way. Thanks for the inspiration and doing a lot of the legwork. I'm happy to be on this journey with you. Bridget :0)

  4. Heather, I'm so excited you're doing this. I've been working my way through this book (and two others) in a very random fashion since Mid-January.

    I'm about to try the marbling. In fact I found some really old Alum in my spice cabinet. The papers are drying as I type. I'll let you know how it turns out.


  5. sounds like fun, heather. can't wait to see all the yumminess!