About Us

Short History of Marbling

In 12th century Japan written scrolls were decorated with fluid ink printed from water, this was known as suminagashi. It is believed this art form slowly made its way west, transforming as it met with new influences and cultures.

Persia and Turkey particularly harnessed its power and it became intrinsic to their artistic traditions.

By the time it had reached Europe the papers were used to line boxes and furniture but it was the French who discovered the beauty of binding them to books and this craft took off all over the world. The 17th 18th and 19th century saw a heyday of paper marbling for books, with marblers developing all new and exciting patterns.

It was only mass production of books by the early 20th century which caused its popularity to decline.

Since then, desire has waxed and waned with fine binders and hobbyists until now where we are begininning to see a worldwide marbling renaissance.

The Process

Every sheet of paper to be marbled has a coat of alum solution applied the day before so it can be dried flat overnight. This process is essential for the paint to bond to the paper during printing.

The water which the paint is floated on is also prepared the day before, as it is mixed with carrageenan moss to thicken it and needs time to settle.

The next morning is when the magic begins! Paint of all colours can be floated on the water, then moved and combed into wondeful patterns.

When ready the paper is gently laid over the floating paint, bonding the two together.

Only one print can be made at a time and, like fingerprints and snowflakes, no two prints can ever be the same.

The Pigments

Each pigment has its own special relationship with the water and paper and over the years of marbling we have selected various favourite colours from different sources. We make our own paint from raw pigments, purchase high quality mineral based marbling paint and take in some acrylics which are waste from industry. 

The Paper

The papers we use are all recycled or end of line and diverted from landfill. We are firm believers in a circular economy and it is the way forward to preserve precious wildlife and the biodiversity which we depend on. 

There are more and more fantastic suppliers of recycled paper so we do not have to curb on quality and variety. 


Explainers & Disclaimers


There are many causes which result in a marbled paper ‘second’ some may be a purely down to the marbler, a hesitation in laying the paper, an air bubble, mismanaged pigment, and some are purely down to the elements, a speck from the atmosphere casing a void or the heat of the day effecting the behaviour of the water. We, at marbling magpie, see these impish occurrences as unique marks, setting the process apart from any digitally created image. No papers are seen as seconds, however the price of the individual paper reflects the amount the imp has influenced the design.


Every endeavour has been made to capture the colours of the designs accurately but due to differences in digital applications there may be slight variations.

Often, a product is made as part of a set and the image shown may not reflect the exact piece but will be the same colour scheme and design.

If you would like to see the exact product please contact us and we will be happy to send over images to choose from.


All packages are made from 100% recycled or repurposed material with eco paper tape. Please choose your own delivery option from the checkout page. Ensure you have the correct address on the form so they reach you safely. We cannot take responsibility for untracked lost items.


Thank you for respecting the many years the artist has put into learning this craft by asking permission to copy any works, both digitally or physically, even if you own the physical image.