How to Marbleize: Two Ways

Check out two unique ways to marbleize home decor. Don't worry; these methods are fool-proof!

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Jump on the marble trend with these two different techniques for creating a faux stone finish. One method uses nail polish to apply a marbleized look to clear glass jars, and the other uses alum (a kitchen staple) and acrylic craft paint. Apply this technique to paper and use it as artwork, or upload your design to a fabric printing service such as Spoonflower (spoonflower.com) to apply your design to fabric. We show you below how to succeed at both marbleizing techniques! 

12 Ways to Make Everything Marble

How to Marbleize Containers

What You Need

  • Disposable container
  • Water
  • Nail polishes
  • Skewer
  • Glass container
  • Paper towels
  • Decoupage medium

Step 1: Pour Polish

Fill a disposable bucket with water. The water should be high enough to submerge the glass container you're planning to work with. 

Slowly pour various colors of nail polish into the bucket. Be sure to drizzle the polish around the surface; do not dump it all out at once. Work fast so the polish doesn't dry.

Tip: The better quality polish you use, the better your project will turn out. 

Step 2: Swirl Paint

Use a wood skewer to swirl the colors in the bucket. To get the best result, dunk the skewer into the water straight up and down, not at an angle. Slowly move the skewer around until you see your desired marble look. Draw the skewer straight up and out of the water when done. 

Step 3: Dip Glass

As soon as you remove your skewer from the bucket, hold the glass container by the top and slowly dunk it into the water. Stop when you're about 3/4s of the way down and pull the container back up. Hold it over the bucket for a few second to the the drips fall back into the container.

You should make the dip as smooth and controlled as possible. Swishing the glass container in the bucket can ruin the design. 

Step 4: Dry and Finish

Set the glass upside-down on a stack of paper towels to dry. If desired, you may paint a layer of decoupage medium over the marble effect to protect it from scratches. 

How to Marbleize Paper

What You Need

  • Two shallow glass or aluminum pans at least 2 inches larger than your paper (do not use plastic)
  • Water
  • Alum (find it in the spice aisle at the grocery store)
  • Blank paper (thick uncoated paper works best)
  • Iron
  • Acrylic paint in at least two colors
  • Liquid starch
  • Toothpicks
  • Tweezers
  • Clothes hangers
  • Clothespins

Step 1: Dissolve Alum

Gather materials. In one pan add water, 1 cup at a time, to a depth of 2 inches. Mix in 1 tablespoon of alum per 1 cup of water. Let dissolve.

Step 2: Submerge Paper

Submerge paper in the alum solution. (Alternatively, you can use a paintbrush or sponge to paint the alum mixture onto your paper.) Rinse lightly and let dry. Use an iron on the lowest heat setting to remove wrinkles from the paper.

Step 3: Dilute Paints

Use water to dilute the acrylic paint by 50 percent. Repeat this process for all of your colors. Tip: Remove half of the paint from a paint squeeze bottle and replace it with water. This makes it easy to apply the paint in the next steps.

Step 4: Add Starch and Paint

In a separate pan add at least 2 inches of liquid starch. Test the weight of the paint by squeezing a tiny drop of diluted paint into the starch. If it sinks, dilute the paint further. If it floats, proceed.

Squeeze diluted paint in a swirly, random pattern onto the surface of the starch. Add the other colors to starch, and use a toothpick to swirl.

Step 5: Set Paper

Gently place paper on the paint for 8-10 seconds. Carefully lift the paper by one edge from the water. If desired, use tweezers. Try not to shift the paper or remove it too quickly as the pattern could smear.

Step 6: Dry Art

Hang the paper from a hanger using clothespins. Dry for several hours.

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