“Sumnigashi” Japanese Marbling Technique

The Japanese marbling technique called “Sumnigashi” makes beautiful works of art by creating concentric patterns and wavy designs on paper. The technique is rather simple but it requires the right materials, a steady hand and a soft touch to create.

Acquire a tray large enough to fit the size paper of your choosing that is capable of being filled with water. Use hardy paper, preferably 100% cotton paper or watercolor paper. This will be the paper your designs are transferred onto. Fill your tray with water and allow the water to be completely still. You don’t want any ripples or waves in it to start.

Dip a fine tipped paint brush or a sumi-e ink brush into black (or colored) ink. Then starting in the center of the tray, lightly tap your brush on the surface of the water. Continue to do this and you will begin to see ink patterns forming in the water. The designs created in the water are the designs that will be transferred onto your paper.

Once you have the design you want in the water. Gently place the paper on the surface of the water. Allow it to sit for 20 – 30 seconds. Gently remove the paper and see your japanese marbling design!

Start with black ink and as you fine tune the technique, you can expand upon your designs by using different colors.