was widely used in Pompeii, in a style
called incrustation. The
craft was revived in Europe during
with two schools of faux
marbling developing. The Italian school
was loose and expressive,
while the French school was formal
and realistic. It took most apprentices ten years or more
to fully master the art.
The most recent revival of faux-marbling started in the 1980s.
Some advice on how to do faux-marbling can be found at the end
of this article.
"Marbling" can also
refer to the application of oil
paints floated on water onto paper.
Marbled paper was commonly used as endpapers in booksbound in the nineteenth century.
Professional faux-marblers use
a variety of techniques to closely imitate real marbles. Amateurs
should be content simply to suggest the appearance
of marble rather than accurately represent
a particular stone. It is quite possible for a beginner to produce
a pleasing effect with a little practice. using scumbling,
sponging and feather-streaking
techniques on a gessoed and
How to paint faux marble:
White oil-based eggshell paint
-- sometimes known as semigloss of softsheen.
oil -- available at a hardware or paint store. It is used
to slow the paint drying time.
Clean the surface
well, then cover it with eggshell paint and let it dry overnight.
The following day, paint the surface with a thin coat
of linseed oil. This slows
the drying time of the paint considerably and keeps it workable.
Next mix the black oil paint with a little of the white eggshell
to produce a light gray. Scatter texturing passages
of this over the linseed oil base. Use other shades of gray to
fill in gaps so there is a swirly design of color.
Use a soft, dry paintbrush (two
or three inches wide) to blend the color. Dab a rag over the
surface to break up the color and remove excess paint, then blur
the surface again with the dry brush.
Use a thinner brush to add passages
of light veining in a middle-value
gray. Veins should not cross one another, neither starting nor
stopping suddenly, nor should they ever radiate
from any point. They must
progress in what appear to be random diagonal
directions, never straight
or otherwise predictable ones. If required, color
can be removed from part of the surface by dipping a brush in
mineral spirits, and lifting
the color off with the brush. Then thoroughly scumble
the whole surface with a dry brush, a natural sponge or a crumpled
Add fine veining with a feather. Dip the feather in mineral
spirits and roughly brush backwards to separate the barbs. Then
add fine wiggly veins by brushing them in with dark
gray paint. Use a feather to add light
colored veins after dipping it into off-white paint or after
into mineral spirits. If you use mineral spirits, a light vein
will appear when you drag the feather, by dissolving the uppermost
layer of paint. Finally, unify
the whole suface by gently scumbling it again with a very soft
brush -- badger hair brushes are traditionally