Summer Break – Experiments in Marbling

Summer Break – Experiments in Marbling

With summer all but over, I’m wrapping up my summer break project with some fun experiments in marbling!

While prepping for my July Marbling Magic class, I noticed my yard was covered in little pieces of bark from a neighboring tree. As I started gathering them up, it occurred to me that they might make an interesting marbling substrate. So, I alumed* a bucketful to experiment with and share with my students. They were a definite hit and above is a piece I made with one of my favorites.

*In marbling, substrates are prepared with a solution of water and aluminum sulfate (aka “alum”) to help the paint stick.

I started by preparing two pieces of watercolor – one to fit my shadowbox and one on which to mount my marbled bark. I added photo corners to the smaller piece of watercolor, mounted it on a slightly larger piece of coordinating scrapbook paper, then sewed the whole thing to the larger piece of watercolor. Next, I scavenged a nice little bit of weathered wood from the yard and wrapped it with a variety of coordinating fibers from my stash. The whole thing was then mounted in a shadowbox (which I picked up with a coupon at my local hobby store) and voila – a cute little piece of earthy art that cost me next to nothing!

Above is another little project from my summer experimenting – marbled clay pots. I ended up sealing these because I was afraid the paint might wear off over time, especially if they were going to live outside. I tried several different types of sealer and all have ultimately developed a film as you can see in the photo. I suspect it’s water seeping through the clay and reacting to either the paint or the sealer I’ve added on top. I still love them – especially filled with succulents – but sadly won’t be able to list them in the shop. 🙁

Another marbling project I’m finishing up this week is a phone-sized crossover purse, made from some of my hand-marbled white denim. I love working with denim! Partly because I’m a denim-girl from way back (t-shirts and jeans are still my uniform) and also because it’s just a great material for the types of projects I like best – grabs paint wonderfully, easy to sew and holds up to wear, tear and time! I also experimented this time with fabric paint and I’m thrilled with the results – the paint worked great in the marbling tank and it hangs-on well through a delicate wash cycle!! This little beauty will hold most phones and has a zipper pocket for your ID and credit cards. I’ll be crafting more over the next few weeks to take to Lucky Star Art Camp and for my Etsy shop, so stay tuned.

My last little summer marbling project was something super fun – a tiny, inspirational marbled book, inspired by this tutorial from Ruth Beakley. I filled them up with tiny quotes & messages like the one shown and made a whole basketful!

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