Turkish/ebru marbling, the colorful style known for its use in bookbinding, does require a few special materials for good prints.
1. Carageenan – this is used mixed with water for the “size”, the liquid on which the ink or paint floats. It thickens the water so that the ink will sit on the surface, and helps the ink spread at a reasonable rate. It costs about $2-3/oz. and is usually sold in 8oz or 16oz bags at art/craft stores or online.
Carageenan used to be more common, as it was used for thickening food products (like ice cream); there considered to be some toxicity, however, and it is not used as much these days. However, it’s very safe to work with, so you can use kitchen supplies to measure and mix it.
2. Alum – this is mixed with hot water as a mordant to get the finished pattern to stick to the paper or fabric being marbled. It costs about $1/oz and is also sold in 8oz/16oz bags at art/craft stores or online.
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