Let me off the grid! A journey toward artful, holistic living in the middle of Sin City...

A journey toward artful, holistic living in the middle of Sin City...

Friday, October 3, 2014

Paper Decorating Tutorial: Bubble Marbling

Here's a really messy, fun way to decorate paper for stationery, envelopes, art journaling or anything else you can think of! Did I say it's messy? Yes. And sticky. And kids will love it.  You will, too!

This is what you need:
Yes, those are tomatoes in the background. Also a cool balsamic vinegar bottle I can't throw away and a can of the best chai tea ever - Big Train.  Just like you get at The Cow's End in Venice, California.
* small containers, one for each color you intend to use. Don't use plastic, unless you don't care about the container
* bubbles - a regular, one person size is fine. You'll have lots left over. Trust me.
* food coloring
* sugar
* a teaspoon measuring spoon
* straws - one for each color is ideal. I only had one, so I had to wash it off each time I changed colors. A pain.
* paper for decorating. This can be regular copy paper or card stock, white or colored.

This is what you do:
Pour a small amount of the bubbles into each container. By small, I mean like 1/4" - 1/2". Do Not Fill Up Your Containers. You'll have more bubble dye than you know what to do with. I promise. Trust me.

Next, add the food coloring to each container.  I used orange, green and purple, because you know what month it is...

I had to mix my own orange. The local grocery store had neon colors! Of course I had to buy them. I used neon green and neon purple.
 Mix up your colors. Don't forget to use separate spoons or wash your one spoon after each color. I don't mean to sound insulting - it's just that I forget about stuff like that and end up with mud. I don't want that to happen to you!
I started with about 10 drops of food coloring. You might want to add more, depending on how intense you want your colors. Also, the neon green didn't show up as well as I wanted, so I added some regular green.
 Add 1 teaspoon of sugar to each color and stir until the sugar is dissolved. The sugar makes the bubbles stronger so that they don't pop as soon as you blow them. It also makes the dye stick to the paper. And it makes your fingers and the counter sticky. Remember when I said this was messy? Add "wet rag" to the "This is what you need" list above.
 Here's the fun part: blowing bubbles! Because there is a small amount of bubble solution in the container, you may need to tilt it a bit so the tip of the straw is immersed. 

Once the bubbles have risen over the top of the container, hold the paper over the bubbles and gently touch them with the paper.  Move the paper around so the bubbles pop in different areas. After a couple of times, you'll need to blow more bubbles. Change colors at will (don't forget to wash the straw if you only have one. Better yet, pick up some extra straws from the take-out place before you do this! I wish I had done that...)

I apologize for not having a picture of the actual paper-over-the-bubble-container process for you. To my dismay, I discovered I needed three hands for holding the paper, holding the camera and pushing the button to take the picture. (Monsanto hasn't come to our house, so everyone here only has two and the husband was busy. Click here to see what I'm talking about.) 

First color

See why I added more green food coloring to the bubbles? This wasn't getting it.

You can see how the sugar makes the  bubbles stick to the paper in this and the next picture.

When you pop the bubbles, they have a kind of "skin" and leave shiny spots on the paper.

So, at this point
the entertainment value has kind of worn off. And I still have a bunch of bubble dye left:
Not sure what the shiny blue stuff is behind the purple bubbles.  My counter isn't that color...
which I didn't want to waste, but I was sick of bubbling. So, down the drain it went. And into the shower I went. Did I mention that this is a sticky, messy project?

Here are a few tips:
1. Clean off your workspace so your tomatoes don't get purple sugar bubbles on them.
2. Get a bunch of straws before you do this. (Toward the end, I was forgetting to wash my lonely straw before changing colors. Muddy bubbles = not pretty)
3. Do this early in the day when you have lots of energy - especially if children are involved. Don't start this at 8 o'clock at night after being up since 5 a.m. (Trust me. I speak from personal experience.)
4. Enjoy your cool paper! I'm sure you'll find all kinds of fun stuff to do with it.

If you try this, or have done something similar, I'd love it if you'd share your experience!

I found the information for this project in a book called Creative Correspondence by Michael & Judy Jacobs. They've got a lot of great ideas for mail art in this book.  I highly recommend it!

Shared on Homemade Mondays

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