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An Expressive and Innovative Mixed Media Art Ezine for Paper Crafters, Collage and Assemblage Artists

Chalk Marbleizing In Depth Tutorial pg1

By Chris / CS Designs

I have always considered myself somewhat of a paper-holic and for many years I made my own hand screen paper as well as various  types of decorative paper. Among my favorite decorative paper techniques have always been Paste Paper, and Paper Marbling. 

Although I haven’t had much time to devote to this lately, it is one of those things that is both a lot of fun and also rather therapeutic. It is one of those things that I can spend literally hours doing. There is something quite mesmerizing about watching  bright wonderful patterns emerge on what use to be plain paper and even more satisfying is being able to use those papers in my art.

There are many different ways to create Marbleized Paper, with an equally wide range of materials. As an example, I have made Marbleized paper using, Drawing Ink, Watercolor, Acrylic, Oil Paints and Chalk. Some Marbleizing techniques also use other ingredients such as Alum, Methylcellulose, Gelatine, Turpentine and a few others but for this tutorial I am going to keep it as simple as possible and use only chalk and water for the base. Although this simple technique does not give you as much control over your patterns as other Marbling techniques it still produces beautiful papers which can be incorporated into art projects.
A note about Chalks:
Just as there are many types of Marbling techniques, there are equally as many types of chalk. Some are reasonably prices and some more expensive and although some types of chalks produce better and brighter results, it is not necessary to have the very best or the most expensive to try this technique.

For my marbling I use mostly High Grade Artists Chalks as they are harder, denser, float well and come in many vibrant colors, but I have also used some Children’s Chalks with nice results. The only kind of chalk I did not have much success with was one brand of sidewalk chalk and one I got from a dollar store. Various brands and types of chalks will float on the surface of your water and  disperse differently.  Chalks like Artist Grade Chalks create more of a fine film and produce smoother blends and streaks where softer chalks look more like sprinkles and the patterns are less fluid and seem to break apart more.  All it really takes though is chalk that will float when scraped onto the water and has a deep enough color to lave a visible pattern behind on the paper.

Note about Chalk Brands:
I have at least 3 different brands of Artist Chalks  and several types of children’s chalks but I have had them for so many years and used them to the point that I no longer have any pieces large enough to read the name of the manufacturers and also no longer have the boxes, so I can not give you much help as far as which brands to buy.

Material  you will need to try this technqiue:
Colored or White Chalk
Flat tub, Pan or Glass Baking Dish
Knife, Emery Board or other Scraper
Any and all Colors of Paper (Text weight, Card-stock or Vellum)
Iron for flattening warped paper, or Something Heavy or a Vice

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  1. Hey, Chris! Thanks so much for the informative and very in depth tutorial. I love working with chalks and was pleased to see a new way to expand my skills. I just started working with the creams and have not has as much success as with the hard artist chalks. I just bought a new set of 36 chalks and added to the pieces I have quite an array of colors.

    I am working on a couple of DT projects, but I will try this technique when I am caught up!

    Thanks much and

  2. I did this technique once, but they didn't come out nearly as pretty!


Thank you for stopping bye and for taking the time to leave me a comment. :) Chris / CS Designs