Techniques of Marbling


Marbling techniques reproduce the texture and appearance of real marble without the high cost. Different marbling techniques are available to help you obtain the desired effect. Your choice of marbling technique will depend upon your budget, your materials and the look you want to achieve.

Paper Modeling

  • Paper modeling is very simple modeling technique in which the artist creates the design and then transfers it to a sheet of paper. The paper is then used to transfer the marbling design to the final surface. Paper modeling is a popular technique for beginners and can use many different supplies to produce the marbling facade, including crayons, watercolor paints, oil paints and even shaving cream.


  • Suminagashi is a specialized paper marbling technique. Professional artist Jane Dickinson explains in her book, "The Paper Marbling Kit: Materials, Techniques and Projects," that suminagashi was first practiced by Japanese Shinto priests during the 12th century. The priests applied the ink using a horsehair brush to a wet surface and captured the design with rice paper. Suminagashi is believed to be the earliest marbling technique developed.

Vernacular Marbling

  • Vernacular marbling produces an exaggerated and almost unreal marbling image. Vernacular marbling originated in Italy and first became popular in England during the 16th century. The vernacular marbling technique is best achieved using a mix of acrylic pigment and varnish. The lines drawn by this technique are exaggerated and stylized.

Polite Marbling

  • Polite marbling, like vernacular marbling, is an amalgam marbling technique that incorporates different methods to produce a stylish and distinctive look. Polite marbling tends to be more refined than vernacular, however. The veins are less pronounced and the color tones tend to be more muted. As a result, polite marbling produces a more realistic marbling facade than the vernacular modeling technique.

Related Searches


  • "Kevin McCloud's complete book of paint and decorative techniques"; Kevin McCloud and Michael Crockett; 1997
  • "The Ultimate Marbling Handbook"; Diane Maurer-Mathison; 1999
  • "The Paper Marbling Kit: Materials, Techniques, and Projects"; Jane Dickinson; 2006
  • Photo Credit John Foxx/Stockbyte/Getty Images
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