Marbling paper or fabric in water using special "marbling inks" that float on the water's surface:
There are many ways to marble paper on water, most of them include using powders in the water and coatings for papers that can
be expensive and complicated to set up. The method I tried here simply uses special formulated inks that are fast drying oil-based pigments that float on water and adhere
to any dry surface you dip onto it.
Pouring or dripping effects with acrylic paints for canvas or wood surfaces:
This method can be done with thinned acrylic paints by diluting with water or pouring mediums (such as Liquitex Pouring Medium, or Golden's Gac 800).
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Five easy methods for marbling and swirled paint effects: 1) Shaving cream acrylic paint transfers. 2) Using marbling inks floating on water for paper or fabric dipping.
3) Thick acrylic paint on canvas or wood swirled with stir stick or comb. 4) Thick acrylic paint on canvas or wood applied by pouring or dripping techniques. 5) Paint
applied to a non-stick craft sheet, water misted and paper dipped into it. Compare the different types of acrylic paints, liquid acrylics and distress paints.
Shaving cream transfer technique:
This method is ideal for any sturdy cardstock or watercolor paper using acrylic paint. It is very inexpensive, I used less than 10 cents worth of shaving cream in the photo
tutorial below from my $1 can of Equate. Only buy regular foam (not gel or any kind with special moisturizers).
Using a comb, tooth pick or needle tool to create marbling patterns in thick applications of acrylic paints:
Because this method requires a thick enough layer of paint to be swirled, I prefer to use inexpensive craft acrylics.
Water misted acrylic paints applied to a non-stick craft sheet to be picked up with heavy cardstock or watercolor papers:
Distress paint is the most popular product used in this method, but here I will explore all types of acrylic paint products from the cheapest craft acrylics, liquid acrylics,
watered-down heavy acrylic paints and more.
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Shaving cream marbling transfer tutorial acrylic paint swirl decorative paper DIY craft project
Acrylic paint marbling comb technique tutorial step by step pictures canvas fine art project gold olive pearl
This pattern is created by squirting out acrylic craft paints in stripes of
alternating colors next to each other on a canvas.
Use a hair comb to
drag through the paint, waving the stroke with the comb as you go.

I recommend using a light body acrylic
, not heavy or liquid, such as the
inexpensive types in a bottle commonly found at Michaels/JoAnn craft
stores. Apple Barrel and Deco Art brands have a nice semi-liquid light
body (not too thick to swirl the paint, not too thin to instantly blend
together) and average only 50 cents to $2 per 2oz bottles.

Step by step pictures and more projects made with this technique
coming soon. Stay updated with what is new on this page on the
"coloring tutorials" board on
pinterest.
Another similar brand is Easy Marble by Marabu. These marbling paints float
on water for use with paper and absorbent 3d surfaces.
I personally tested this marbling kit and found only a couple problems:

You have to very lightly touch the ink to the surface of the water to get it to float,
otherwise it sinks to the bottom of your pan. You can use the paper floating circles
in the kit to help you if you keep having sinking issues, as placing drops onto the
"float paper" avoids this. I don't like the paper in the water though, as I feel it blocks
your creativity of making the marbling design.

The color selection wasn't wonderful, but it has the primaries so don't be afraid to
mix colors together to make your own.
I have seen several comments about distress paint being "just watered down acrylic" so I did some testing, and it plainly is not. Distress "Paint" is actually a
hybrid between Ranger's ink products and a unique chalky opaque substance that lacks the typical acrylic paint binder. It is not the same as any of the acrylic
paints I tried, not even heavily watered down paints or liquid acrylics. The binder that makes up "acrylic" is a glue-like substance, it creates a film with a bit of
shine. You can literally peel acrylic paint off of a non-stick surface because of this binder. Distress paint lacks that thick glue-like shine, leaving a page decorated
with it easily drawn on with pen or pencils. It also does not thin with water the same way acrylic does, the chalky opaque substance makes it less transparent
than acrylic paints when diluted with water.
You can not use acrylic paints straight from their bottles like distress paints for this technique. You have to create a thin mixture of paint and water before
applying it to your non-stick craft sheet. If you attempt to mix water onto acrylic on the sheet, instead of mixing it before hand, you will get uneven spots/thick
clumps of shiny acrylic. It's like glue, a shiny film that will peel off.
Distress Paint: A chalky, opaque ink product that Instantly plays
well with water, mixing with little effort to blend together. Not a
traditional "paint" (it is not acrylic binder based).

Liquid acrylics such as Golden: Instantly releases vibrant color
into the water when sprayed, but leaves little pools of undiluted
paint. This creates spots of shiny and thick color on your paper
when you pick it up from the non-stick mat. Because of this, it
should be diluted before applying to your non-stick mat.

Regular thickness acrylic paints and craft acrylics: Does not
mix well when misted with water. Did not mix when the paper
was placed down on top of the heavily water misted acrylic.
Requires pre-mixing of thinned out acrylic and water to be
applied to your non-stick craft sheet, then picked up with your
paper.

Liquitex acrylic INK!: These are different than Golden fluid
acrylics, as they are even thinner - an ink like consistency versus
a thick milky paint. They play very well with water, instantly
diluting to a lighter transparent version of the original color.
Distress paint vs Acrylic paint comparison on water reactiveness when spray misted on a non-stick craft sheet before applying to paper backgrounds. Art project backgrounds for mixed media, rubber stamping and drawing techniques.
Distress paint instructions background marbling technique step by step pictures artist trading cards rubber stamping cardstock
Comparing water-reactiveness of paint products when spray misted on a non-stick surface:
Golden fluid acrylics background paper marbling with mini mister water mist non stick craft sheet dilute with water
Distress ink vs acrylic paint craft paper marbling effect mini mister non-stick craft sheet
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