home marbling setup
just some notes for posterity on my home setup.
trays should have square edges, ideally less than 1/4" so that a nonpareil comb can be used in both directions on the tray. it's nice to have a drain hole. i have three trays, two acrylic and one "generic" plastic:
- 5 x 7 (acrylic), 3/16" wide, 1" tall straight walls
- 20 x 26 (acrylic), 3/16" wide, 1" tall straight walls
- 24 x 30 (plastic), angled walls (so hard to measure accurately)
the large tray was ordered from a rabbit supply store. it was useful for its purpose, but i wouldn't recommend it since the lack of straight walls make fine patterns quite difficult. it's good for large scale work though (and quite cheap, relative to custom work).
ideally (for longevity), a stainless steel tray would be used. but recently quotes have been very expensive (as compared to anecdotes from other local marblers) – anywhere from $150 to $200 for a mid-sized tray (16 x 19 or 20 x 26) versus $30 to $50 for acrylic.
see more under rakes.
in order of usefulness (in my opinion) of the standard combs:
- nonpareil (¼")
- skip comb (italian sisters etc.)
- carrageenan (if you're not buying from an existing marbler, make sure to get lambda carrageenan (versus iota or kappa – they will not work))
- it is important that the carrageenan, after sitting overnight (or however many hours you have for it to sit), it is allowed to warm up to room temperature. cold(ish) carrageenan can cause all sorts of weird problems with paint.
- alum (make sure it's pure alum)
- some way to spray and spread the alum on the paper. i bought a microfiber mitt and spray bottle from the chemical guys, a car detailing supply company
- some sort of plastic board for washing papers off (i found the corrugated plastic boards in the acrylic section at menards work well)
- a small cup/bucket for scooping water and rinsing paper with it
in a perfect setup the tools here would always be soap free, to prevent carrageenan contamination, but i think you could get away with just being really thorough in washing if soap does touch them.
- bucket for carrageenan (unless you're working with large format, 1 or 2 gal is probably enough)
- liquid measuring cup
- dry measuring spoons
- mixing bowl (for alum)
last updated: 2022-10-15 20:58:16