Paper Marbling | Natalie Stopka | The Crafter's Box



Get creative with color and pattern! Paper marbling is a delightfully fluid way to design, utilizing paint floating on the surface of thickened water. Join artist and educator Natalie Stopka in the studio to learn the fundamentals of paper marbling. We’ll prepare the marbling tray, mix paints, and explore techniques for manipulating our designs. After printing, use the included templates to turn gorgeous marbled paper into envelopes, party hats, or party crackers.

In this workshop, Natalie takes us through every step of the paper marbling process, starting with preparing our paper using a mordant. We then learn to mix paints and prepare our size (the viscous liquid that goes in our tray). Natalie shares several historic marbling techniques and teaches us how to play with designs for a polished result

Once finished, we learn how to make an envelope with our marbled paper using the included template. Use the marbled creations for any paper craft you can dream up including bookmarks, stationery, and notecards. Natalie encourages us to have fun with our designs as we work, sharing “Is it beautiful? Is it ghastly? Don’t pass judgment until you have a print.”

Paper Marbling | Natalie Stopka | The Crafter's Box


Natalie has been paper marbling for a decade—she first discovered the artform while studying book binding. With her extensive knowledge of both the chemistry and artistry behind the craft, Natalie has curated a kit that includes everything needed to get started in paper marbling, including heavyweight paper, acrylic paints, a marbling tray, and mixing supplies. The aluminum sulfate, carrageenan , and Photo Flo are used to get the optimal surface tension and viscosity throughout the paper preparation and painting process.



Not only does Natalie share a detailed and thorough tutorial of the paper marbling process, but she also explains the fascinating chemistry that makes this artform come to life. Let’s learn more about some kit components that may be unfamiliar to you. Aluminum sulfate is used to prepare the paper, it bonds to both the surface of the paper fibers as well as the paint to create a permanent and lightfast print. Natalie shares that it is “chemically charged to bond to other molecules” and is used to create a “mordant” that coats the surface of the paper. 

Carrageenan is a natural derivative of seaweed and creates a viscous liquid for our tray that has a higher surface tension than water alone. Photo Flo is a surfactant added to certain paint colors in order to decrease surface tension and let the paints float long enough to manipulate into a design. And here’s where the magic happens! The low surface tension of the paints combined with the high surface tension of the size allow for us to get creative with marbling patterns and create each unique print. 

The Curated Kit of Tools & Materials

This workshop includes: 

  • Tools & materials to make twelve sheets of marbled paper
  • A detailed digital workshop led by Natalie Stopka
  • A Maker Chat Q&A with the artist

The tools & materials included in this workshop:

  • Twelve sheets heavyweight paper, 8 x 10"
  • Acrylic paint in red, blue, and yellow; 1oz each
  • Carrageenan, 1oz
  • Aluminum sulfate, 1oz
  • Photo Flo, 2oz
  • Marbling tray
  • Three plastic transfer pipettes, 3mL
  • Foam brush
  • Four pairs nitrile gloves
  • Four clear mixing jars with lids
  • Mixing container, 1qt
  • Ten newsprint sheets, 11x17"
  • Two plastic drop cloths
  • Digital templates to make envelopes, liners, party crackers and party hats

Gather from home:

  • Tablespoon, whisk, apron, paper towels, pencil, 1 gallon of bottled spring water, drying area or drying rack with clothes pins
  • Optional: stiff-bristled brushes and stylus/toothpick/awl
Paper Marbling | Natalie Stopka | The Crafter's Box
Paper Marbling | Natalie Stopka | The Crafter's Box

More About our Artist: Natalie Stopka

Natalie Stopka is an artist and educator focused on historical surface patterning techniques including marbling, dyeing, and printmaking. She loves to explore natural and historical colorants, incorporating botanical dyes and handmade pigments in her work.

Homegrown and foraged plants provide a seasonally evolving vocabulary of texture and color generated from the soil beneath her studio and the water moving through it. Natalie’s freelance studio and dye garden are located in Yonkers, New York.

Materials for More Exploration

Paper Marbling | Natalie Stopka | The Crafter's Box

Marbling Paints

Experiment with jewel-tone acrylic paints in your paper marbling projects. The four additional paints in this bundle include deep hues in pine, slate, mulberry, and a goes-with-everything ecru.

Paper Marbling | Natalie Stopka | The Crafter's Box

Paper Marbling Materials Kit

Craft more paper marbling prints with this bundle that includes twelve sheets of heavyweight paper along with carrageenan and aluminum sulfate powders to prepare your mediums.

Paper Marbling | Natalie Stopka | The Crafter's Box

Paper Marbling Notebook Kit

Create two customized notebooks by marbling the slip covers. This bundle also includes washi tape to protect the journal surface and additional carrageenan and aluminum sulfate powders.

Share with us! We look forward to sharing this fulfilling and joyful experience with you and cannot wait to see how your crepe paper flowers turn out. Be sure to share your creative journey and finished creation with us by tagging @thecraftersbox and @nataliestopka in your social posts, and use #thecraftersbox so our community can also see your workshop come to life! Happy making.

Paper Marbling | Natalie Stopka | The Crafter's Box
Paper Marbling | Natalie Stopka | The Crafter's Box
Paper Marbling | Natalie Stopka | The Crafter's Box
Paper Marbling | Natalie Stopka | The Crafter's Box
Paper Marbling | Natalie Stopka | The Crafter's Box
Paper Marbling | Natalie Stopka | The Crafter's Box
Paper Marbling | Natalie Stopka | The Crafter's Box
Paper Marbling | Natalie Stopka | The Crafter's Box
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