Spray Paint Marbled Paper

One of my absolute favorite projects that I've done on the blog is to marble paper with spray paint. It's fast, easy, and incredibly satisfying. Since it's my favorite, it's one that I've revisited a couple times. The first time, I had a ton of fun, but didn't wear gloves (and regretted it). The second time I tried spray paint marbling, I tried to make combs to stir the paint (it didn't work). And the most recent time I marbled, I made red and green paper for the holidays. This time, I got my husband to help. It's a project that you have to work quickly to complete before the paint starts to dry, so having a second set of hands allowed me to take more pictures of the process (and to avoid getting paint on my camera). Also, I think he had a good time. It's a great project to try with folks who think they aren't terribly crafty or artistic.

You'll need:
A plastic tub or bin that you don't mind getting paint on (a plastic dishpan works perfectly)
card stock (110lb works best--I got mine at Walmart)
spray paint (the Rustoleum 2X seems to work the best, but any kind you have will work)
Gloves (dish gloves, nitrile, or vinyl are all fine)

The first step is to fill your tub with a couple inches of water. Warm water seems to help keep the paint fluid a bit longer. Then you spray paint onto the water until you can visibly see the paint. Make swirls or straight lines or add multiple colors--it's up to you. (Hubby was going for a stripey thing here.)

If you want to swirl your paint, you can jiggle the tub a bit, but you don't have much time to mess around with it. Then just dunk your card stock into the water making sure to get the corners under the water so the paint sticks all the way to the edges.

Then flip your paper over and voila! All you have to do now is figure out how to dry all the wet sticky paint covered paper. We worked on our deck (good ventilation is important when working with spray paint) which had the added benefit of working on a glass table top. Our patio table cleans up easily...if you can't wipe it off, you can probably take a razor blade to the paint after it's dried. However, I'd generally recommend covering a table with an old vinyl table cloth or some parchment paper to dry all your wet papers on (you'll find out why later).

Once of the really great parts of having my husband help out with the craft is that he tried stuff that I hadn't thought of yet. He figured out how to spray the paint into the center of the water and create circles or rings in the paint.

They were a little fussy, but when they worked, they turned out really cool. He also generally opted for not jiggling or jostling the bin of water before he dipped his paper in, so the paint stayed where he sprayed it. It was so much fun to get his perspective on the project, and he had a ton of fun making the marbled paper. After making several sheets, we swapped out the water and kept marbling.

After some of the papers had dried to the touch, I laid them out on the kitchen table so we could keep decorating paper outside, but we didn't let it dry quite long enough, and I ended up with several splotches of paint on the kitchen table. I was really worried I had ruined our kitchen table, but learned that Goo Gone and some elbow grease would clean it up. The card stock takes several hours to dry out all the way, once they are almost completely dry, you can stack the papers up and put something heavy on them to help them dry out a bit flatter. Be careful though, if the paint isn't completely dry, they can stick to each other.

Even with the paint on the kitchen table, this project was a blast (and extra fun to make something with my husband)! I can't wait to use this paper in future projects!


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