Paper marbling is a graphic process. Different colors are sprinkled onto a liquid bath. This liquid is made of a jelly which is extracted from seaweed and allows the colors to remain floating on the surface without mixing.
Patterns are then created in the paints by using special combs, stylus or rakes like the classical fan-tailed pattern and the marble veins pattern.
At this point the pattern is transferred by carefully laying the paper on the surface (the marbling process changes into dip dying when using objects).
Then the extra color is cleaned off and the paper is hung to dry.
This whole process is repeated for every print and each of it will be slightly different from the other so that each pattern is unique.
This is what gives great value to the marbled paper and makes it a lot different from machine printed paper. It takes a while and a lot of practice to master or to get good at marbling, however as long as you have good knowledge and decent instruction you can achieve excellent results.
The gelatinous liquid upon which the marbling colors are dropped and formed into patterns. GUM TRAGACANTH over the years has been the most frequently and successfully used marbling size gum, but other gums and substances have also been used with varying degrees of success, including CARRAGHEEN MOSS ,IRISH MOSS , FLEA SEED , and even LINSEED OIL . The last, however, was very seldom used because, although it is easier and more economical to prepare, it deteriorates quickly. Flea seed is stronger and lasts longer but it is of little use in the nonpareil and other combed patterns because the colors are dragged off by the comb. Carragheen moss, which was first used sometime after the middle of the 19th century, is still popular; however. it quickly decomposes unless a preservative such as sodium sulfate. glycerin and water, or formalin is added.
marbling combs Instruments, generally with wire teeth, used for combing marbling colors while on the surface of the size. They are usually of two basic types: those with relatively short teeth, used for combing on the surface of the size (and sometimes called "top combs" because the teeth are allowed to touch the floating colors); and those with relatively long teeth, which touch the bottom of the trough while the comb is being drawn (and sometimes called "bottom combs"). In the production of comb patterns, four combs with variously spaced teeth are used; the most common are: four teeth to the inch, two to the inch, and double combs. in which the spacing of the teeth is alternately wide and narrow.