Splash Inks are versatile fun in a bottle. I’m on the Yasutomo Design Team, and Splash Inks is one of the products I got to use. As soon as I found out you could marble paper with the inks, I had to try it. Here’s how it works:
In addition to the Splash Inks, you’ll need a flat deep, non-reactive pan about 10 inches long and at least 2 inches deep (25 x 5 centimeters). Shown (above) is an enameled meat tray you can buy as a palette in most art supply stores.
The medium to float the inks is Sta-Flo liquid laundry starch. It comes in a blue half-gallon bottle. A spray bottle with a fine, misting spray and a roll of paper towels come in handy, too.
Add an eye dropper, a big-tooth comb, a shower squeegee and a group of small containers to mix your favorite color inks and you are ready
Choose a sturdy paper to marble: I like Strathmore and Canson Mixed Media papers. You can also use Arches Velin, or 90-pound watercolor paper by Bee. Start by protecting your worktable with newspaper and wearing gloves if you want to keep your hands ink-free. Shake the bottle of starch to blend the ingredients. Pour the starch into the dish so you have at least an inch of fluid in the dish. Stir gently with the comb or a gloved finger to remove the bubbles.
Using an ink dropper, add several drops of ink to the surface of the starch. The first time you do this, the drops will be small and sink. Expect one or two test sheets till the starch is tempered.
You can use colors right out of the bottle, or you can mix inks into small containers. A color blending chart is included along with the four bottles of Splash Ink.
Save your test sheets for collage work. When the ink drops get larger and float well enough so you can put drops within drops, you are ready for marbling. The pattern above, (called ‘stone’, is fine, or you can use the comb and gently drag the teeth through the liquid.
Drag the wide teeth of the comb left to right.
Drag the narrower teeth up and down. The more you comb the finer the pattern. Colors will blend with a lot of stirring.
When your surface has the appearance you like, you are ready to place the paper on the surface.
Place one end of the paper onto the surface then “roll” the paper and drop the other end to keep air from getting trapped under the paper and leaving a white spot. You can see (above), that the bottom, left-hand corner of the paper is picking up from the surface. That’s a sign to pick up the paper, the marbling is done. It takes about 10-15 seconds for the color to transfer.
Carefully pick up the paper and put it on the newspaper. To get the starch to run off, tilt the paper slightly by putting it on a piece of crumpled newspaper. After about one minute, spray the paper with a mister to rinse off extra starch. If you like a very crisp look with distinct lines, wipe the excess starch off the paper with the shower squeegee. It will take off some color with it.
To make pastel shades of paper, drop the sheet on the surface, let it absorb color, then use a palette knife (or the comb) to push the paper under water. The back will become marbled in a pastel swirl of color.
Make many sheets at once to have choices. To clean the surface of the starch, float a paper towel on it to absorb the ink, then add more ink. Above, you can see several sheets–upper left is a sheet made with the four colors in the bottles; upper center, a pastel effect by sinking the paper; bottom left is a piece scraped with the shower squeegee.
The papers may curl while they are wet. To get them flat, put them between two sheets of parchment paper and iron them on a medium setting till they are flat.
You can also marble directly onto your looseleaf journal pages, then write on the front or back (or both). Here are three examples of that:
This is part of a Robert Jeffers poem. It completes on the back, along with some comments I made about the poem.
I found this a handy way to use those quotes I save for journaling. And “llustrating” them with abstract marbling poses an interesting challenging.
This is one of my “fish out of water” pages. It’s an interesting theme I explore–what makes us feel uncomfortable, what gives us community? So the background is blended in blue (water) and green (land) and the fish is adapting.
On the Niji Design Blog, I used the marbled pages to make two different kinds of postcards. You can read about that project here.
—Quinn McDonald is a member of the Yasutomo Design Team. She experiments and designs projects for Niji/Yasutomo. She receives free product from the company to complete the projects.