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Paper Crafting: Skills and Technique

Lesson 9 of 22

Paper Marbling - Part 1

Robert Mahar

Paper Crafting: Skills and Technique

Robert Mahar

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Lesson Info

9. Paper Marbling - Part 1

Lesson Info

Paper Marbling - Part 1

I have to say not unlike children, you never want to be asked like who's your favorites and with craft projects it's really hard to pick one but I have to say I think we've saved one of my favorites for the last. This is a really wonderful technique and as I had mentioned in the last session, I really feel like it's full proof you can get some excellent results without having felt like you needed to study this for months, which is kind of genius. I really love it these air just I'm holding up a few examples of some papers that I have done previously, but paper marbling is another craft tradition with a very long history and long before your paper marbling was tackled in the western world, japanese masters were hard at work developing it themselves. And I have to say, I've tried several different methods of paper marbling, and many of the western methods have made me feel is though I needed to be a chemist in order to successfully attempt them. Suman gashi is the name of this particular...

style of ink marbling and I have to say it's really wonderful because money modern manufacturers have made this ink that will very effort little effortlessly float on the surface of the water bath, allowing us then to capture these designs on most any type of paper surface so the materials that you're going to need for this again, we're back to our standard dish pan. This is one that would fit in your kitchen sink. All of us have one at our station today, and they're filled between half and I would say two thirds full of just standard tap water, and we're going to start today marbling and transferring our design just onto some simple construction paper. There obviously are many different kinds of machine made manufactured paper, and I have found that the construction paper works well because it has the least amount of starch and sizing, innit? Oftentimes that's added in during the manufacturing process to help repel water, but the less that it hasn't it actually, the more readily it absorbs up the marbling designs, which is kind of fantastic, eh? So it's, a really great place to start. If you're just tackling this craft for the first time and construction papers so inexpensive you can just work your way through a stack of it. Another thing that you would like most likely want to have on hand is some news prints now you can use recycled newspaper from home. I just have some fun printed news print here. This is also a really inexpensive materially combine and large reams at your art supply store. And then, while I do try very hard and most of the craft projects to have materials that you can in most instances find around the house, sometimes you didn't do need tio venture out and go to the craft store, and so for this project, you're going to be using suman oh gosh, she thinks they come in the six colors you see here from black to red, you can mix them to achieve your own special hughes, but when you're first initially starting it's, just a simple to start using them right out of the bottle um, another thing you're going to need are two paintbrushes, and we're all going to become ambidextrous today and use one of these in both of our hands. And then finally, what comes in very handy is a simple little paint palette the's air usually right around fifty cents at the arts and crafts supply store on dh. They're a good thing to have in general because you can wash them out, use them for a multitude of projects, these air really what we're going to start with, and I'll discuss some of the other materials as we progress through this segment, but the first thing you don't want to do is just pick out two of your colors, and I'm going to begin today with a black ink and an orange inc and these go a surprisingly long way you don't need to use an enormous amount of them and what I'm going to do is I'm going to put about five drops one too two three four, five into one of the paint wells and then I'm going to do the same thing with the orange one two, three, four five um now a couple things about application of the ink to the surface of the water the inks floating on the water are very sensitive to air currents in the room so we have actually turned off the air conditioning here in the studio today just for this segment just to kind of cut down on any of the breeze is flowing around but you'll find as we get into some of the manipulation techniques aa lot of them have to do with your breath and blowing onto the water to move them around. So at this point I think I'm going to ask if the ladies in the studio audience if you wouldn't mind just coming up and gathering around this is a two least initially a nice thing to see up close as faras demonstration is concerned and what I am going to be doing is taking a brush in both hands and I'm going to be dipping the bristles down into the yanks and you're just going to hold it there for second, allowing them to kind of soak up into the bristles and then you're gonna bring them over and you can if it's more comfortable you can kind of rest your wrists on the side of the basin and you're going to begin by just lightly tapping the surface of the water you don't want to plunge the brush down into the water. The goal is really just a kind of lately touch it on the top and you can kind of see that it just magically spreads out then right in the center of that I'm going to touch it again with the orange and I'm just going to start going back and forth building up this beautiful pattern of concentric circles and you will see that some of the ink will sink down below the surface of the water not to worry that in no way is going to effect the design that you create when you get to the point where you feel like very little link is coming off of your bristles it's probably time to go back and reload, so I'm just gonna go back over to the paint palette I'm gonna add in a little bit more allow it to soak up into the bristles and then I'm going to go back and just continue on with this pattern now you can build up this pattern as large as you would like and you can kind of see the brushes that I'm using are just really simple children's art supply brushes they're probably a little bit irregular in shape and as a result some of this shapes instead of coming out as perfect circles are getting these little sort of swirls and eddie is around them I'm going to go back a one more time to load up the brushes and see if I can get a little bit more on the surface of the water and the longer that you hold it to the surface, the larger ring it will appear because you're allowing more ink to flow down onto the surface of the water so at this point, then I want to manipulate the ink in some way I certainly could create a pattern not unlike this one with the concentric circles that almost looks like fobo our tree ring pattern but one simple basic way to manipulate it is to turn your paintbrush around and drag the handle end through the surface of the water and you can create some nice sort of interesting patents that so I'm just going to sort of plunge it down to the center and drag it out and I'm going to do this at intervals around and you can kind of see is I'm pulling it through it's creating these little curly cues and swirls and eddies and then between those I'm going to go drag in just to kind of get the opposite movement and you can kind of see theirs you have a little control that it also has a little bit of a mind of its own on dh that's really part of the beauty of the marbling is getting these very sort of like free flowing almost organic like designs so once we've gotten to that point I am going to take one of my pieces of paper in place these place these samples aside and I'm going to take some paper towels and I'm just gonna lay a few of them down on the work surface beside me and you can see even as I'm talking that the ink is continuing to sort of like migrate around the surface of the water bath but what we want to do is we just want to lay it down on the surface and you're going to allow it to sit for just three to five seconds and then lifted up so we'll lay it down and you can sometimes it will soak up enough that you can see it coming through the paper and then we'll lift it up immediately he can see this one is a little bit muddy um we're gonna play around with that a little bit and I'm gonna take a second piece of paper towel I'm gonna block the surface here it's gonna get up a little bit of that excess ink but not an awful lot honestly she can kind of see it did bring up some of it and with that it became a little less muddy, andi as it dries, the tonal quality of the paper will even out a little bit, but that's a good starting point and you can see in our water bath now there is a lot of this ink that's just sort of floating around in there, and we want to get rid of that in order to be able to reuse the water back that's one of the nice things is you don't have to change your water between each of the the designs, so you simply just take it through, and you can see it's starting to capture some of that and that I think that has floated down to the bottom. We don't even need to worry about it's not going to affect us on the surface of the water and creating our next design, so that is our basic for the first one, so if you want to go ahead and return to your seats, everybody's got a water bath and we're going to experiment with some different ways of manipulating that ink on the surface of the water. Now we don't get too far ahead, robert, we're asking, can you use this with fabrics as well? You can in a limited way, and I have to say one of the things that I have done in the past is taken silk scarves silk in particular seems to work quite well I've tried it with heavier cotton fabrics and again I think it's the situation with some of the paper manufacturing where it's got a certain amount of sizing it that repels the water but silk scarves you can lay down in a very similar manner. There is just one additional step you'll need to get a an ink die set and this is ah product that they will sell it the craft supply store you mix it in with some water allow it to soak for about five minutes and it permanently sets the inks into the fabric so that you can then wash or dry clean them. So great question though there any particular weight of papal card stock that you're using think of using today honestly is just an expensive construction paper there were going to experiment a little bit later in the session with some nicer stationery and making stationary sets again with the sizing the paper, the more sizing there is thie lighter the design will be but again it's ah it's a process of experimentation and kind of playing around with that so I see our students are already jumping into this I love it so feel free to go ahead and start and we're working with our first two colors this is fantastic gently going back and forth between the two colors, creating your pattern of concentric rings and you will find with this particular red as I'm sure rachel is seeing on her surface here it does tend to come much more in a pink hue when it's when it's transferred tio the paper so I am going to as the ladies are working on their first pattern as well, I'm going to do that to, um few people mr robert again is the ink type you're using here? He inc is called suman togashi inc and it will be on the materials list for the course, which is another great incentive to get ahold of that because like I said, most of the materials for the projects that we are going to be seeing I'm trying to source them from things you can find around the house, but this is one of those instances where you really do need the specific material. Now, ladies, you are all quietly at work. How are you? How are you doing? It is it's a little psychedelic the way those tanks just sort of float around there on the surface. I'm going to go in now for a second round and I'm loading up my two paintbrushes one with the red and one with blue, and I'm going to start building up that pattern by simply tapping the surface of the water again trying to be mindful not to plunge the brush down below the surface and as a reminder of the longer you hold the brush to the surface of the water, the larger that particular ring will be, and you can certainly see the ink just flowing out of the bristles onto the surface of the water it's a little bit easier to see with certain colors than other than others with the red and blue that I'm dealing with right now, you can certainly see it just streaming from the bristles out onto the water I'm going to set these aside and for this particular one rather than try and manipulate the ink in any way I'm going to just try and capture this beautiful concentric rings design and so again I'm taking my piece of construction paper and very gently laying it down over the surface of the water I'm going to allow it to sit for three to five seconds, so three, four, five and then lifted up by the corners and you could see how beautifully it captured that design. I'm going to set this first one aside and place this down on a paper towel it's nice to have a good role of paper towels next to you. They're going to come in handy in this project and I'm just going to gently place it over the top of the design I just pulled in balad away any of the excess inc and I see the ladies are all cleaning up their first runs which is fantastic and again, this is where that, um inexpensive newsprint comes in handing again you can use um some recycled newspaper from at home but you really just kind of want to stick it in your water bath and drag it across the surface of what that's going to do is capture any of that excess infant was not transferred onto your piece of paper the first time around. Now I run one through but I feel like I can still see a little bit of income there so I'm gonna do it one additional time just to make sure that it's clear so ladies before you dive into your second design um hang on just one second let's I'll do that together because I want to show you um another method of manipulating the ink so we'll give everyone a second just to clean up their water baths get ready to go on to the next piece how's everybody doing you feel like you going okay goods but I love that um our water bass I'll feel clean kind of got all that excess sank off of their perfect all right then so if you have two new colors or the same colors that you want to work with let's go ahead and put those into our paint palette so they're ready to go I think I am going tio try a little bit of green this time around one two three four five again you really only need to do about five drops of this at a time ah little goes a long way and you'll find that thiss set will last you for a good long time if you don't um you know put it an over abundance of it in your paint palette because you really don't need that much use more than one color are more did the two colors or can know you certainly can um you can I have seen people doing this where they've got multiple paintbrushes tucked between each of their fingers and they're kind of just alternating between them one way you can do that a little bit simpler is by creating your design with your two rinsing out your brushes adding another two and then start building up the pattern in a different area of the water bath and then as you're manipulating it, you kind of gently start to swirl some of those designs together to incorporate all of those great colors so if we're ready to go on the second one let's go ahead and take our paint brushes that we've rinsed in our glass of water and we're going to dip those into the to paint colors that you would like to use what do I do when I think I'm going to do a green and an orange this time around and um do exactly what you did the last time around and build up that pattern of concentric circles by lightly alternating your paintbrushes tapping them on the surface and you will see um that some colors initially show up much more translucent than others like I'm working with the green and the orange right now and you can barely see them on the surface of the water but you know that they're there and the more that you add incan build up those those concentric circles it'll become more dense on the surface of the water in those rings will become more visible I've gotten to the point where I feel like very little ink it's now coming off my bristles so I'm going to go back to my paint palette and load them back up again I'm again just holding it vertically into the ink and allowing it to soak up into the bristles on dh then I'm going to go back and continue to add more okay so once you have built up this little pattern on the surface of your water another really simple way to manipulate the ink is with a straw and all of you have if not some bendy straws in your little caddies at your desk and as I was saying the banks are really sensitive to any sort of breezes in the room which is why we've temporarily turned off the air conditioning in here just to prevent any of that from you know, swirling our pain around, but what you want to do is with the bendy straws, you can kind of gently get down to the surface of the water and very lightly blow through the straw and what you're going to see happen is it's going to push the water forward and kind of spread it apart and create these wonderful little swirls so and you can in this way almost chase the ink across the surface of the water, which is kind of cool someone like this just sort of push it further and you can see in many instances the integrity of those rings that we created in our initial application of the ink is still there. So all of those little swirly lines have just become finer and are moving around the surface of the water. Now it is possible to overwork the yanks and it's nothing you necessarily need to be too concerned about, but I have found that if I spend too much time fussing with it and blowing on it and and moving it around, it can start to muddy up a little bit. But again, this is just a process of experimentation, and if it happened once and you don't like the results, you just won't do it again so after you've used your straw to kind of move the ink around, go ahead and let's apply our paper and try and capture that design and again we're just putting these on paper towels not unlike the handmade paper from our previous session these air going toe warp a little bit because of the water during the drying process and teo to sort of correct that you can simply staff he's under a pile of books and they will help flatten them out they also after they have dried completely can be placed between two pieces of paper towel like are handmade paper and iron flats well, I like that one that's good and you can see that the way that these colors are translating onto the particular paper we're working with today is somewhat different than how they look in the paint palette these my red looks very pink my green looks almost aqua marine um and again these are the results of thie amount of sizing in the paper and you'll find that if you were to do this exact same design with a different kind of paper you might get a different sort of tone ality or different hue eh? So it's really it's fun to experiment with all sorts of paperweights and types so go ahead and clean your water baths but before you move on to your next design hold off and we're going to do a little interim step but let's do take our, uh, scrap news print here and drag it across the surface now while uh using the newsprint to clean out the ink between passes is relatively effective. You will find at a certain point, like after you've done, maybe a couple of dozen thatyou most likely will want to empty out your water and start with a fresh tub. All right. And actually, before I move on to the next step, I just kind of want to walk around for a second and see how the students designs have turned out. And I love this is so great it's, kind of very sort of ethereal feeling, the way thie edges have been manipulated and it's interesting the way that the tone ality between the reds and the blues have become very sort of light. It's almost blurred together. I love it. These air so great. Okay, look at this great distinction between the red and the black. I love that the red obviously, as we've just spoken about, has come out a little bit more in the pink room. But this almost looks like courts. I just I love that really, really nice. Oh, yeah, yeah. Come on, you guys. This is great, these air beautiful. And really I know that in most cases the designs don't go all the way to the edge of the paper, you can see madeleine, she obviously added she built a per pattern a little bit larger. Maybe win a couple more times. So that continue to feel the surface of the water within the confines of the base and on doing something like that, you're more likely to get more paper coverage. But there's also something really lovely about the simplicity of thes designs, where they just kind of organically grown across the page. So really, really nice.

Class Description

From making your own paper to marbling and stamping to sculpting hand-crafted objects, paper crafting is an incredible way to express yourself. Join Robert Mahar to explore everything this simple, sophisticated art form has to offer.

You’ll embrace your inner recycler as you learn to create paper pulp and form it into sheets of handmade paper. You’ll also explore the Japanese art of suminagashi and use this centuries-old technique to create gorgeous, marbled paper. You’ll learn basic stamping and patterning techniques that add extra flair to any project. You’ll dive into creating three-dimensional paper crafts as well, from hand-crafted flowers to papier-mache projects to other decorative and functional objects.

Whether you’re looking to create handmade gifts to share with friends or to add new paper craft goods to your Etsy® store, you’ll leave this course equipped and inspired to create dozens of new projects.

Class Materials

bonus material with purchase

Robert Mahar - Paper Flower Directions.pdf

Robert Mahar - Paper Garland Directions.pdf

Robert Mahar - Paper Marbling Directions.pdf

free bonus materials

Robert Mahar - Course Supplies List.pdf

Robert Mahar - Syllabus.pdf

Robert Mahar - Letters Sample.PDF

Ratings and Reviews

Student Work

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user 1400000665814257

This class if filled with new and fun ways to use the paper that we have in stock. In addition, the paper technique that utilizes Suminagashi Ink is mind blowing! Anyone who loves to create beautiful things will enjoy this class. Robert is one who is an exceptional instructor, in that when he is demonstrating a new technique, he has an ability to use clear concise language. I have enjoyed the class, and plan to use the gorgeous floral pieces in my studio and home, along with creating a lovely party. Thank you!

a Creativelive Student

Really enjoyed watching this two day Paper Crafting course with Robert Mahar. It was full great paper techniques and inspiration. Roberts has such a calm and positive teaching style. Watching him work through step by step of each project you really pick up lots of wonderful tips and tricks of the trade. Highly recommend it.

Holly Herick

Robert Mahar is an excellent teacher with many great examples on paper crafting. Robert has encouraged me to continue working on my sculpted watercolor paper flowers—now I have a bunch of new tips and tricks to try. This class is well worth the price