Saturday, November 10, 2012


A few months ago, I stumbled upon an art project I really wanted to do. I cannot remember the initial blog, newsletter or book that inspired me. I can only remember thinking my kiddos would love it. The problem was that we were living out of state, so my fall back art supply was blick's. I checked online, and the store was sold out of what I needed. So I waited and eventually forgot about it. Then a few weeks ago, Amy, at mamascout, posted about the same art project. My interest was renewed, and with glee I  found the paints in stock. We were set to do some sumingashi or Japanese marbling.
The Innovation Marbling Kit paints used for this project are special dyes which essentially float on the water. With bins I picked up at the dollar store, the kiddos and I set about learning this art method. I filled a palette for each of the kiddos and handed them toothpicks and paintbrushes. We found regular printer paper worked best for us. I had mistakenly bought calligraphy paper when finding supplies. This paper did not work at all. It tore easily and folded onto itself. A couple sheets of watercolor paper were also used with success. Eventually I would like to buy copperplate paper, but it is a bit pricey for us when purchased online. I will need to see if I can find some locally.

With the knowledge gleaned from an online video, we set to creating. Initially the kiddos used the brushes and toothpicks to place the inks onto the water. They blew the paints, used the paintbrushes to swirl the colors and made concentric circles by alternating colors. We experimented with the amount of ink on the brushes finding that those prints with more ink made more vibrant colors. The kiddos also used the floating dots included with the kit to apply drops of ink directly from the bottle. This created amazing results.

Piles of prints cluttered the floor as they created. Eamon was the most enthusiastic churning out paper after paper. He perfected his technique and enthusiastically raised the paper from the water to see the result. He would then meticulously blot the creation and lay it on newspaper to dry. Aine and Benton even stopped at one point to watch him. Everyone had such a good time with this art medium. We now have a large stack of paper to create books, pictures, notecards and greeting cards. There was even talk of teaching grandma to do it. I foresee many more days spent doing sumingashi in our house.


  1. those look awesome! what a great project. i am thinking the kids would love it. :)

  2. WOW!! Those look incredible! So do they paint on the paper like normal painting, or is there a special method to create such beautiful results? I really like the black and pink/red one on the right side of the picture... it immediately caught my eye (as did the one directly below it).

    1. You deposit the inks onto the surface of the water. You can whirl it and adjust the patterning. You then place your paper onto the surface thus transferring the ink. If you watch the video, you can see.

  3. Very cool! Eamon of course created a plethora! I also wanted to let you know that Dick Blicks was the goto store for art supplies when I was in college. They had a huge store in Allentown. They truly have everything...or can get it.

  4. I used to love doing this...