OK, I confess!
We’ve got a little addicted to our marbling craze and it’s led to finding the absolute best way to use the Marabu Easy Marbling inks which we bought a couple of weeks ago. This is not an affiliate link, and you will find plenty of other similar products, but living in Germany, we’re awash with Marabu, and it was the only product on offer in our local craft shop.
Let’s get straight down to business:
You have very little time to work the Marabu colours after dropping them onto the water. Marabu colours set on the water like nail enamels much like the tiny sample I made the other week (the pink one which looks a bit like a biopsy), and once that happens, all you will do when trying to swirl the colours is lift them out on whatever tool you are using (we unravelled a paperclip). We watched several YouTube videos of people demonstrating the Marabu colours, and they all had the same problem – good to know that it’s not just us!
This need for speed is clearly a disadvantage for traditional marbling and the pictures which we would like to have created, although we were still able to make flowers and other complex patterns once we discovered a few product tricks. It’s not that easy to marble something as large as a sheet of A4 paper, but we still managed a few feathered patterns, which you can see below.
The thing is that the Marabu colours are designed to be easy, and that also means easy patterns. If you want to marble A4 paper, be sure to have your colours open and ready to use and get straight on with swirling the colours the second that the droplets have expanded into their space. As soon as you’ve done that, get the lids back on your pots of colour! You don’t want them to set. Oh, and wear gloves to avoid marbled hands!
Despite the speed limitations, you can still push the product to do something more complex. We managed to produce a few flowers – of sorts. How? You need to work on the background colours first, then insert drops of your flower colours (so far, just like traditional marbling). Be careful, though; if your background is too dense, it simply won’t allow the new colours to expand. Also, unlike a traditional marbling technique, you need a ring of colour around the outside if you want to shape your newly laid colours by dragging a tool (paperclip, cocktail stick, etc) through them. If you don’t, you will end up wrapping around your tool the background colours which have already set, and that would be annoying. Also, because of the way the background colours set, you can end up with weird shapes – it’s tricky to plan. Again, YouTube videos can show how other people tackle trickier patterns.
So far, it sounds as though working with Marabu Easy Marbling isn’t that easy, but here’s where it really comes into its own to produce fantastic results:
The trick is to work on small items – especially 3D objects. These don’t even have to be absorbent, which you would normally expect from marbling colours. And that is the BIG advantage! These colours will stick to everything we’ve tried so far – even plastic and glass. The only thing I would say about the non-absorbent items is to leave them a good 24 hours after marbling to be sure that the colours have completely cured. I haven’t tried scouring a glass item yet, either, but I’ll update later to mention how that works out.
Take this Christmas plant pot decoration pictured on the right which started as a plain gold bauble complete with nasty casting lines. The colours remained tacky for some time, but it was completely set by the following day. Follow Marabu’s tutorial for Easter Eggs and you’ll achieve great results with your 3D items.
Wandering into our local Woolworth’s the other day, I discovered some Easter leftovers in the form of glitter bunnies! They are just so ugly that’s it’s no wonder that we only had to pay 50 cents for a bag of four. They’re made of that rubbery foam stuff which you can also get in sheets to make models, but these ones are over a centimetre thick and covered in glitter on one side. At that price, they were the perfect experiment for a non-absorbent 3D project, and here are the results – I love them, and they’ll definitely be adorning a few plant pots next Spring!
What’s the verdict?
Although the quick drying colours are a limitation to production complex patterns, Marabu Easy Marbling is absolutely brilliant for marbling small 3D objects. It’s a fun product to use and produces vibrant results. With a little imagination, a bit of experimentation and a few tricks, you can even marble large items. Being able to marble glass and plastic is a huge advantage, and we now have a huge queue of things about to be marbled at our home – glasses cases, pencils, USB sticks (careful not to get water or paint inside or on the metal contacts), office trays, scissor handles – if you can dip it, you can marble it!