Make Marbleized Paper!

What You Need:

  • Paper cups
  • Craft sticks
  • Food coloring
  • Cooking oil
  • Flat tray – aluminum roasting pan or clean kitty litter box
  • Small eye droppers or squeeze bottles
  • Plastic forks
  • Rubber gloves
  • Old t-shirt or smock
  • White paper and or envelopes

What You Do:

  1. Fill several paper cups about 1/3 full with cooking oil and add several drops of food coloring. Stir them thoroughly with a craft stick.
  2. Fill your tray with about 1 inch of water. With your dropper, add a few drops of color to your water.
  3. Gently swirl the color around until you like the pattern. Make sure you do not mix the color into the water, you want it to sit on the surface.
  4. When you have a pattern that you like, carefully place your paper so it lies on top of the water without any air bubbles under it.
  5. Lift the paper off immediately and let it drip for a minute.
  6. Hang the paper on a clothes line, a drying rack, or a flat surface to dry.
  7. Gently stir the surface of the paint in the tray, or add some new colors and swirl them. Practice patterns like circles, hearts and squiggles. Don't worry about mistakes because it will all be beautiful!

Did You Know?
Marbleized paper started over 700 years ago in Turkey. They used it in government papers to keep people from forging documents. A good question to consider is why the oil doesn't mix with the water and why it floats. Oil is a different substance and has a different molecular charge than water, and therefore it cannot dissolve into the water. Oil is less dense than water, so it floats to the top.

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