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Marbling is a fun and relaxing printmaking method, a rewarding process that yields unique and mesmerizing compositions. It’s an ancient art, historically associated with bookmaking. The practice involves suspending pigment on the surface of a medium called a marbling size and then transferring the paint onto paper or fabric. The result is a colorful, wavy pattern that resembles the natural grain of marble and other stones such as jasper or malachite. Part of the attraction is that each print is a monotype, utterly singular and impossible to duplicate. Dip your toe into the world of marbling and browse our selection of the best marbling kits below.
Marabu Easy Marble Starter Set
This marbling set is a great choice when you already have the items you plan to decorate. What you get are the dyes themselves, which work with plain water to produce a vibrant rainbow of hues when transferred to paper, glass, plastic, or any other desired surface. These dyes, a little thicker than what you get in other marble paint sets, are quick drying—dry to the touch after only 15 minutes, and fully cured in roughly 24 hours. Because the dye is solvent based, it can be used with 3D surfaces. The starter set includes a half dozen 15-milliliter bottles of popular colors, and additional colors are available for purchase individually.
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Aitoh Boku-Undo Suminagashi Marbling Kit
While paper marbling is a thrilling activity for children, it is also a classical Japanese art form dating back to the 12th century. Like the Marabu kit, this one uses plain water as the base onto which the water-based ink is poured. Forgoing additives can make the paint harder to control, and the process of transferring the design to paper can take practice. There are several techniques to experiment with, but the kit includes reusable paper dots that can be employed to disperse and swirl the paint. Watching them zoom across the surface of the water turns this art project into entertainment. You get six colors of ink in 12-milliliter squeeze bottles.
Jacquard Marbling Class Pack
If you’re looking to marbleize fabric as opposed to paper, consider this set from one of the most respected names in fabric dye. The kit does not include trays, so you will have to provide your own, but it does come with 9 bottles (59 milliliters each) of pigment, carrageenan, two types of chemical additives, 10 droppers, and 2 yards of cotton fabric (which can be cut evenly into 30 12-inch squares, enough for a whole class). Once set with heat, the dyed fabrics are fully washable without any loss of color. The dyes appear bright and crisp on paper, too, which is a good way to use up any leftovers.
Jar Melo Water Marbling Paint Kit for Kids
This marbling kit has all you need for a fun art session. It comes with 6 colors of paint in 16-milliliter bottles, 10 sheets of paper, 3 needles, a straw, scraper, measuring spoon, tray, manual, and 15 grams of carrageenan powder (for thickening the water base). Safe and nontoxic, the pigments are made of environmentally friendly materials, which makes this kit an ideal choice for children. Even kids as young as 3 can successfully use the kit, though an adult or older child should measure and mix in the carrageenan powder.
Pebeo Marbling Paint Set
From the noted French brand Pebeo, this set is for marbling fans looking to expand and upgrade their tools. The set comes with ten 45-milliliter dropper bottles of marbling paint in assorted colors, including Lemon Yellow, Ultramarine Blue, and Bengal Pink, plus a bottle of thickener for the gel bath, 10 sheets of paper, 10 sticks, and an ideas booklet, all packed in a recyclable box. Prepare the bath and let it sit for two hours before applying paint to its surface. You can then transfer the colors to any porous material such as paper, fabric, or wood. The water-based paints are vivid and glossy when dry and can be mixed together to create new shades.