How to Marble Leather
2 new super easy DIY leather marbling kits
I've been experimenting with marbling onto leather for the past couple of years and am now really excited to launch 2 new DIY leather marbling kits - a Mini Envelope Marbling Kit and a Glasses/Pencil Case Marbling Kit.
My Paintable Mini Envelope Kit has proved really popular and I wanted to create another leather craft kit that gave people the chance to put their own unique imprint on the leather. Marbling definitely enables that. Each time you marble, the effects and patterns will be totally distinctive. No two marbling sessions will be the same. You kind of have to surrender control and just enjoy the process. And the process is incredibly addictive and all encompassing - from the slow dripping of paint onto the surface of the water, to watching how the colour spreads and interacts with the other shapes on the water. It's really mesmerising.
Best paint for marbling leather
I've done quite a bit of experimenting and found that slightly diluted water-based acrylic leather paint is the best paint for leather. Acrylic leather paint is designed to flex and move with the leather without cracking or flaking. Also, the intensity, opacity and purity of colour that you can get with these paints is far superior to ink based colours. Combined with the undyed vegetable tanned leather I have sourced for the marbling kits, these acrylic leather paints create gorgeously vivid patterns. Using undyed vegetable tanned leather means that there is no surface treatment or finish on the leather that may otherwise stop the paint from adhering properly.
Different marbling techniques
There are so many different effects and patterns you can create when marbling leather. From the traditional swirly, almost stripy pattern to the spotty (almost reminiscent of animal print) globules of colour. My favourite is the bullseye - when you drip different colours into the middle of another colour - circle within circle within circle within circle....! In the online tutorial I go through the different techniques on how to achieve the most common marbling patterns on leather.
How to thicken water for marbling
The leather marbling kits also include a little pot of carageenan powder which is mixed with water to create a marbling bath or 'size' - a thick, gloopy liquid that allows the paint to float and spread into swirling marble patterns. Carageenan is derived from red seaweed and is totally non toxic and edible (although it will probably taste disgusting!) but this does mean that you can mix up the marbling size using your kitchen whisk or blender! Many hours of trial and error have resulted in me determining the perfect carageenan to water ratio to get the best marbling size and allow the paints to spread and float. I've done a lot of the leg work in figuring out how to marble leather. Which is great, since you don't have to worry about all that faff - just plop the carageenan powder in luke warm water, whizz, leave to settle and then get marbling!
How to get the best results marbling leather
I have to admit that I was a little nervous when I first tried leather marbling. It is a little nerve-wracking but I include plenty of leather scraps to practice on and if you don't like a pattern on the surface of the water, simply grab a piece of scrap paper, lay onto the water and peel gently back to lift the colour off. Then you can start again with a fresh load of paint! I've found the most important thing to remember is, that if you like what you see on the surface of the water, then you'll like the end result on the leather.
Marbling colour palette
Just as with the paintable leather wallet craft kit, you can choose your own colour palette from a choice of 12 acrylic leather paints. You can stick with those 6 colours or choose to mix them to create more. When selecting palettes I tend to go with either a pastel palette or a muted palette and add a bright colour as an accent. The yellow, neon pink and Bahama blue add really lovely pops of colour. Also, the addition of the pearlescent rose gold or the pearlescent pewter adds a luxe feel to the pattern.
Marbling made easy
Here's a little breakdown of what's involved in marbling leather
- Choose 6 colours (from a choice of 12) of specialist leather paint.
- Mix up the 'size' which is the technical term for the liquid that the paint will float on and spread to create the unique marbling effect.
- Practice with the leather scraps included in your kit.
- Experiment with different marbling techniques.
- Marble your wallet or glasses/pencil case.
- Leave to air dry before adding the solid brass fitting and folding up to make the 3D shape!
- No sewing or needles involved in this satisfying make.
- All the leather is professionally die cut to make sure your finished piece is pretty perfect.
- With the make-along video tutorial and fully illustrated instructions booklet, you are supported through every step of the marbling and making process.
I really really hope you like these two DIY leather marbling craft kits. I've had a lot of fun working out the ratios, how to prepare the paint, and how to get the different marble patterns on the leather. And once you've enjoyed a little mindful marbling, you can fold up the leather (a little like a simple origami project) secure with the solid brass fitting and use your mini envelope wallet or glasses/pencil case day after day! Add the personalisation option to deboss your (or your loved one's) name or initials to your leather piece.