Thursday, September 3, 2015


Suminagashi, meaning floating ink, is the Japanese art of paper marbling.
I always held this project out as the last of the year to offer my middle schoolers for good behavior.

Here is my set up.
The box of inks can be purchased from Dick Blick.
You cannot use just any paper. 
This is printmaking paper called Copperplate, that is made without sizing.
For those of you who are unfamiliar with the term Sizing.
It is a coating agent applied to papers and fabrics to make the fibers stronger and less absorbent.
Unsized papers allow the surface to quickly take in the liquid applied to them.
These papers can also can be found at Dick Blick, 
but any printmaking papers that have not been sized will work.

A shallow, clean tub of water.
A small amount of inks to start off.
Great colors and of course you can mix for more variety.

Begin with two small brushes, one in each hand, 
dab point of brushes in your color and just kiss the surface of the water with the point of the brush.
Alternate to create concentric circles, then dab around as your little heart desires.

Your picture painted on water.

At this point, experiment away by slowly blowing on the water surface or draging the end of your brush through the shapes. whatever you do, slow and easy is the way to go.

Drop your paper in. 
You will begin to see your design through the paper.

Pull out and lay on a clean surface to dry.
I like to pack them between the sheets of a newsprint pad as I work.

You may use newsprint to clean the surface from one design to another.
Here I cut up an old, already read paperback.

And that's it! You will get better as you continue and experiment.
I have done this with papers up to 18" x 24" ( tricky on large sheets so practice a smaller size first)
to create beautiful abstract prints.
They are instantly permanent, brillant color and easy clean up.

So two hours and tons of paper and fun later,
these are my favorites.  
there are so many things you can do with these papers,
make cards, calligraphy quotes over the pattern, cover small sketch books…
How about using some beautiful reds and greens to make 
3D cut paper Christmas ornaments? 
It goes on and on.

But for now I've mounted them on foam core board and 
tommorrow I will see where it takes me.


  1. This is a beautiful project, Carmella! You can push the colors you prefer and have a lot of fun with the outcome. The idea of writing a quote on the paper must be interesting, or using it for decoupage projects too!

    1. Oooo decoupage! I didnt think of that.. I like it!
      I tried Origami but the paper is much too thick.
      It might work with folded Japanese paper boxes. I'll have to look up some instructions and try.


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