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How to do Simple Marbling

An Effective Method that is Well Within the Scope of an Amateur
By Ray Lewhite.

Simple marble effects carried out with oil paints are well within the abilities of the handyman, and there are several parts of a house which can be decorated most effectively in this manner. Marbling looks its best in bathrooms and kitchens, on window sills and bath panels, or to imitate splash-back over a hand basin. Fireplaces look particularly attractive, especially when marbled to tone with other colours in the room.


Simple Marbling
When I decorated my bathroom walls with a very passable imitation tiled effect, I began by giving the walls a coat of undercoat, followed with a coat of white eggshell. I mixed white spirit and linseed oil in the ratio of two parts to one, and to this I added a small amount of liquid drier. I spread this over the first wall with a soft 2in. paint brush.

Application, Stippling, and Blocking

Simple Marbling
A small amount of green artists tube colour was pressed out onto a piece of plastic. The brush used for applying the clear liquid was dabbed onto the artists colour and irregular patches of green were applied to the wall. Due to the uneven dispersion of the colour in the brush, various depths of colour were produced upon the wall. Using the same brush, the colour was stippled with the ends of the bristles. Then with a soft dry paintbrush, the stipple work was softened off by gently dragging the bristles over the work in all directions. The work was then marked off in blocks as shown in Fig.2. Using a piece of rubber attached to the end of a pencil and a straight piece of wood, lines were drawn by removing the colour and revealing the white eggshell beneath.


Simple Marbling
The side of the bath was marbled black with white veins. Having applied black undercoat and eggshell and allowed it to harden, the same white eggshell as on the walls was used for the veining. In this case the eggshell was applied with a bunch of chicken tail feathers (Fig.1) The feathers were dipped into the mixture of linseed oil and white spirit. This was applied to the black paint in an irregular manner by twisting the feathers between thumb and fingers. A little practice is necessary to obtain the correct charge of colour and irregular dispersion of the veins.


Simple Marbling
A more complicated marbling effect is produced by applying the clear medium to a previously prepared white eggshell ground. The decorating tube colours required are ochre, burnt sepia and a touch of prussian blue. Stipple the colours with a paint brush into a clear glaze in irregular patches. Dip a small piece of sponge into white spirit, and stipple this in various places over the work. This opens up the colour and reveals the white ground beneath. Finally charge the feathers with white paint and draw them over the work. Soften of the work with a clean dry brush and the effect is completed. .
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