Do you look forward to work on a Monday morning?

marbled paper with waves

marbled paper with waves

For the past few weeks I have pedalled in to Blueberry Academy to run a paper marbling project. Its fun, its creative – Monday mornings are great!

Blueberry Academy provides specialist support for adults with learning difficulties.

Based in York with branches in Selby, Scarborough and Northallerton, as well as shops in several local towns, the organisation provides a range of activities that involve practical and creative skills for learners with a range of abilities.

Bags, tags and boxes

combed pattern

Combed pattern

I worked with a small group to develop skills in planning and producing new designs and items for sale in the York Shop.

We worked as a team to learn new paper marbling techniques, and develop ideas for things that would be popular with customers.

We generated a lot of ideas but finally decided on bags, tags and boxes as our main production lines.

Introducing Traditional Paper Marbling

marbled papers on table

our marbled paper

This is a wonderful technique that is very accessible for people of all abilities. You can get great results almost instantly, and with practice you can become very skilled at creating intricate designs.

The international history of Paper Marbling includes traditional patterns from Japan, Turkey and Europe. We practiced recreating all these patterns and learnt words from the different countries to describe the techniques.

Unlike the more commonly used oil-on-water marbling we used acrylic paints on a bath of size so we could control the patterns. This is similar to the traditional craft of paper marbling as used in bookbinding since the seventeenth century in the UK.

(If you are interested in finding our more about paper marbling I will be doing more posts soon with information about how to do it yourself)

The fun of learning a new technique

marbling tray with design

size with coloured design

We spent the first couple of weeks learning paper marbling.

This involved preparing the paper, mixing and choosing colours, manipulating paints on the size, and taking prints from the designs.

marbled paper

transferring the image to the paper

It is a very exciting process but also requires you to be calm and focussed. These aspects make paper marbling very absorbing – it is easy to lose track of time.

It is also easy to produce quantities of marbled paper; the next challenge is what to do with it!

Cards are always popular

choosing paper marbling for cards

choosing paper marbling for cards

We had a lovely time choosing nice areas of the marbled paper to use for cards.

Some pieces were great just as they were, and we also developed different designs using collage.

This meant nothing was wasted – every tiny scrap of marbled paper could be used for cards.

making cards from marbled paper

Making cards from marbled paper

Bags and tags for presents

folding marbled paper for bags

folding marbled paper for bags

Everyone helped on the bag production line, folding, glueing, punching and threading to make a stock of beautiful gift bags for the York Shop.

With our ‘no waste’ hats on we also used up smaller pieces of marbled paper to make unique gift tags so customers will have a complete range of present giving accessories.

marbled gift tags

gift tags

You can never have enough….. boxes

tower of folded marbled paper boxes

Tower of boxes

I love MASU boxes and so did everyone else by the time we had finished.

These easy to fold Japanese origami boxes are very satisfying to make, and marbled paper is perfect as the designs flow all round the box.

There are many places on line with instructions so I am not adding any here but if you would like to have a go here is a good site to visit.

More marbling please!

By the end of the project we had developed into a strong team of paper marbling enthusiasts and our range of unique products involved contributions from everyone at all the different stages of production.