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!
How to Marbleize Containers
What You Need
- Disposable container
- Nail polishes
- 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)
- Alum (find it in the spice aisle at the grocery store)
- Blank paper (thick uncoated paper works best)
- Acrylic paint in at least two colors
- Liquid starch
- Clothes hangers
Step 1: Setup
In one tray, mix a starch bath with 4 cups liquid starch and 1 tsp. alum. Fill the other tray with water. (Note: Trays should be larger than paper.) In cups, dilute 2 parts of each paint color in 3 parts water; stir
Step 2: Drip Paint
Use cocktail straws, eyedroppers, or spoons to gently drip paint into the starch bath. The paint should cling to the surface. Continue adding paint until the surface is nearly covered; you can add more later if needed.
Step 3: Make Paint Patterns
Start experimenting. Manipulate your paint by swirling a straw or stick through the painted surface. Drip new paint colors inside other drops of color to form concentric circles. Go slowly, and let paint spread organically.
Step 4: Marbleize Paint
To create a classic feathered look, drag a rake through the paint. Make a rake by duct-taping toothpicks spaced 1/2-inch apart to a cardboard strip. Try multiple pulls, different directions, or zigzags. Paint will continue to shift, so have paper ready for the next step
Step 5: Transfer Paint
Slowly lower paper onto the painted starch surface. Once the full sheet is in contact with the surface, peel it back and rinse gently in the tray of water. Lay flat to dry. Repeat the process with clean paper until starch is murky, then start over.
When you're done with the starch bath, it can go down the drain. Afterward, run water for 1 minute.