How to Make Marbled Paper – plus new Marbled Notebooks and Calendars from May Designs!

Making marbled paper is something that I’ve always wanted to try, but, thanks to the extensive supply list and unfamiliar ingredients, I’ve been too scared to even attempt. But today we’re in luck! Heather, Creative Director at May Designs, is here to demystify paper marbling and walk us through the entire process. The team at May Designs basically spent an entire day playing around with marbled paper patterns, with some seriously stunning results. We’ll start with Heather’s detailed tutorial (thanks Heather!!) for how to make marbled paper, followed by some photos of the GORGEOUS new May Designs collection inspired by their marbling experiments!

May Designs Marbled Notebooks / Oh So Beautiful Paper


100% cotton paper



Spray bottle

Measuring spoons


Dish soap

Large shallow tray

Bucket or large bowl (must have a capacity greater than one gallon)

Acrylic paint

Small cups

Coffee straws

Clothesline + clothespins

How to Make Marbled Paper / May Designs via Oh So Beautiful Paper

How to make marbled paper:

Step 1. First, prep your paper. Fill a spray bottle with warm water. Add 2 tablespoons of alum and mix well. Let the mixture cool and spray a thin layer onto your cotton paper. Lay flat to dry! Make sure to mark the side that you sprayed because it can be hard to tell once it’s dried.

Step 2. Next, prepare the water bath. In a bucket, mix 4 tablespoons of Methocel with 1 gallon warm, distilled water, and one tablespoon of ammonia. Mix with a whisk. Find a shallow tray that is just a little larger than your paper. We found the perfect shallow tray to use for our water bath at a restaurant supply store (these trays from Amazon will also work!). Pour water mixture into shallow dish and let sit until all bubbles are gone! This can take a while, sometimes an hour or so.

Step 3. You’ll also need to add a dispersant to your water bath. To mix a dispersant, fill a cup with ½ cup water and a few drops of dish soap and mix.

Step 4. Gather up your favorite colors of acrylic paints and squeeze them into cups. Add water to each color until you have the consistency of whole milk. Add one drop of dispersant/dish soap mixture to each color of paint. (A coffee straw works well for this!)

Step 5. Next, add diluted paint to the water bath. This is the fun part! Using coffee straws begin to drop paint onto the surface of the water bath. Keep dropping paint onto the water bath until it is pretty well covered with color.

Step 6. Time to Marble! Take a clean straw and begin to drag it across the top of the water bath to create designs. You can also use the dispersant mixture you made to move the paint around, but only use a small drop to start. A little goes a LONG way.

Step 7. Once you have a design that you like, take your prepped paper and gently lay it face down on the top of the bath. (Make sure you are placing the paper, prepped side down). Pat it down to make sure there are no air bubbles and then pull the paper up out of the bath starting with one corner and peeling it all the way up.

Step 8. Rinse paper with water. Don’t be afraid to get in there and clean the paper off with your hands. The paint is there to stay. Hang paper to dry!

How to Make Marbled Paper / May Designs via Oh So Beautiful Paper

How to Make Marbled Paper / May Designs via Oh So Beautiful Paper

How to Make Marbled Paper / May Designs via Oh So Beautiful Paper

How to Make Marbled Paper / May Designs via Oh So Beautiful Paper

How to Make Marbled Paper / May Designs via Oh So Beautiful Paper

How to Make Marbled Paper / May Designs via Oh So Beautiful Paper

How to Make Marbled Paper / May Designs via Oh So Beautiful Paper

How to Make Marbled Paper / May Designs via Oh So Beautiful Paper

How to Make Marbled Paper / May Designs via Oh So Beautiful Paper

How to Make Marbled Paper / May Designs via Oh So Beautiful Paper

How to Make Marbled Paper / May Designs via Oh So Beautiful Paper

How to Make Marbled Paper / May Designs via Oh So Beautiful Paper

How to Make Marbled Paper / May Designs via Oh So Beautiful Paper

How to Make Marbled Paper / May Designs via Oh So Beautiful Paper

From Heather: We’ve been excited to introduce this fun trend as a pattern collection since spotting it at the National Stationery Show. We first envisioned it as a collaboration. We thought we might need an expert, to guide us through the process, so that we could get the results we desired for the collection. BUT, when Mica had the idea to incorporate the marbling process into our brand new Desk Calendars, it changed our timeline quite a bit and we decided to roll up our sleeves and get our hands dirty!

We set aside a day that same week to set up our very own marble workshop in the studio. We’ve hosted a few different workshops in the studio; calligraphy, painting, cocktail classes, etc., but this was my personal favorite. The process is so free and each piece almost creates itself! We collected tips and tricks from several different videos and blogs to create the process outlined in the tutorial above. Here’s a list of little things that we feel made this a success:

  • Cotton paper is a must! The other papers we tried broke down in the water bath
  • Don’t go on a crazy search for fancy “dispersant” – dish soap works the same way! Oh and remember, a little goes a LONG way!
  • Turns out, restaurant supply stores have the perfect large, shallow dishes for water bath. And they’re white!

We hoped that by the end of the day, we would have 12 gorgeous pieces to work with, but the pressure was off. It was SUCH a fun day. Doors open, messy desks, lunch ordered in (of course) and selfies galore. A perfect exercise for our team to let loose and bond, and BONUS… we ended the day with walls covered in gorgeous marbled paper. We are so happy with the end result! The new calendars are are beautiful and the pattern collection for notebooks is a new favorite!

May Designs Marbled Calendar / Oh So Beautiful Paper

May Designs Marbled Calendar / Oh So Beautiful Paper

May Designs Marbled Calendar / Oh So Beautiful Paper

Photo Credits: May Designs

Stationery A–Z: Weekly Planner Notepads

As much as I love using a yearly planner, I really need room to spread out and plan my weekly schedule. So to help manage that weekly schedule and make sure nothing falls through the cracks, I rely on weekly planner notepads. I love revealing a clean sheet at the end of the week, not to mention the flexibility of just ripping off the current sheet and starting fresh if my week takes a random turn. I use my weekly notepads to keep track of everything from everyday errands and school events to business appointments and household tasks. So today I’m sharing a dozen of my favorite weekly planner notepads with you!

Weekly Planner Notepads Round Up / Oh So Beautiful Paper

1. Love the floral illustrations on this version from Shannon Kirsten

2. …and the jungle vibes version from Idlewild Co.

3. The slim profile of this weekly notepad from One Canoe Two is perfect for keeping on your desk

4. This weekly planner from Poketo is a cross between a notepad and a sticky note – it’s one of my personal favorites!

5. Okay, so technically not a notepad, but this weekly jotter from Moglea was just too pretty to pass up. There are three different cover options with gold foil and hand painted elements!

6. This weekly notepad from Rifle Paper Co. looks like my actual desk

7. This gorgeous weekly notepad from Smitten on Paper is printed in rose gold foil!

8. Nothing like bright color and a happy pattern from Thimblepress to keep you motivated for the week

9. A modern geometric weekly planner notepad from Ferme à Papier

10. I love that this weekly notepad from the Sugar Paper for Target collection has a space on each page for general thoughts and brainstorming for the week.

11. Technically this notepad from In the Daylight is a daily planner, but you could write things down (and cross them off) as you go and just keep a running list for the week!

12. This shoulda, woulda, coulda notepad planner from Farewell Paperie makes me laugh – it speaks directly to the procrastinator inside me!

I put a few more weekly planners up in the Market List – you can find them here!

Seasonal Stationery: 2016 Calendars, Part 4

I just couldn’t resist one last 2016 calendar round up! In case you missed them, you can find my earlier 2016 calendar round up installments right here, including food-inspired calendars, painterly artistic calendars, and illustrated calendars. This round up includes a little bit of everything, from a gorgeous color blocked monthly calendar to a copper foil moon phase wall calendar to a pretty painted floral calendar. So hard to choose just one!

2016 Calendar Round Up / Oh So Beautiful Paper

1. The future is bright in this limited edition letterpress printed calendar from People I’ve Loved

2. How cool is this color blocked cut out calendar from Plane Paper?! So bright and colorful!

3. Loving this Find Your Wild calendar collaboration between Lisa of Good on Paper and Jennifer Young Studio! The calendar features Jennifer’s images paired with Lisa’s lettering and copper foil text.

4. A beautiful floral calendar from Shannon Kirsten

5. Love all the patterns in this monthly desk calendar from Ferme à Papier

6. A gorgeous tea towel calendar from Linea Carta that you can continue to use year after year!

7. This Metamorphosis calendar is so pretty

8. This moon phase wall calendar from Little Lark is printed in beautiful copper foil!

p.s. More calendar round ups right here, and you can find even more calendars in the Market List here!

Seasonal Stationery: 2016 Planners

Somehow I blinked and we’re already halfway through January! So, if you’re like me and trying to get ahead of the curve once and for all, it’s time to get serious about a planner! Not just a weekly desk jotter, which are super helpful and will be addressed in another post, but a real deal planner that actually forces you to think and plan ahead. I shared a few favorite 2016 planners back in July, so I figured it was high time to share a few more!

Seasonal Stationery: 2016 Planners / Oh So Beautiful Paper

1. Ferme à Papier has some wonderful pocket-sized weekly planners with several fantastic cover options! I’m loving this palm print and the marbled cover options.

2. The gorgeous spiral bound 12-month planner from One Canoe Two has three different cover options, each with gold foil text!

3. The Get To Work Book is a goal setting workbook and daily planner made with small business owners in mind, with plenty of space for notes and brainstorming and twelve motivational text prints that can be removed from the book. And it’s Sharpie tolerant!

4. This gorgeous casebound planner from Snow & Graham features a navy faux leather cover with gold floral detail, not to mention weekly and monthly pages, spaces for notes, and a yearly overview section.

5. + 6. Julia Kostreva‘s daily planners always have the most beautiful minimalist cover designs! There are twelve gorgeous covers to choose from this year, each with gold foil details.

7. The spiral bound monthly planner from Sugar & Type comes jam packed with a monthly overview for each month, plus a weekly list for goals, to do lists, budget pages, and meal planning lists. She even offers access to free printables after purchase.

8. This pretty pink (!!) 5″ x 8″ planner notebook from Icey Designs features monthly and weekly planning pages, along with goal setting pages and an end of the year to-do list.

p.s. More 2016 planners right here!

Seasonal Stationery: 2016 Calendars, Part 3

Since we’re all getting ready to head off for the Thanksgiving holiday, I thought it would be fun to have a little food theme for our latest 2016 calendar round up! From food photos to cocktails to illustrated produce – there’s even a DIY embroidery kit calendar and a tea towel calendar to hang in the kitchen! Let your inner foodie shine with any of these beautiful food themed 2016 calendars!

Food Themed 2016 Calendars / Oh So Beautiful Paper

1. One Canoe Two homegrown goodness wall calendar

2. Heather Lins fruit of the month embroidery calendar

3. Whimsy & Spice a year in food calendar

4. Fox & Fallow cocktails calendar

5. Little Low 13-month World Tables calendar – it even comes with a market list!

6. Keephouse tea towel calendar

7. Redcruiser seasonal beer pairings calendar

8. Santiago Sunbird seasonal produce and botanicals calendar

You can also find more 2016 calendars in the Market List right here!