How to make a statement marbled vase in minutes with DIY expert Zeena Shah

Marbled vase with posy

In recent years, marbling has become a major trend in home decor, thanks in no small part to the work of art director, stylist and author Zeena Shah who champions the craft through DIY tutorials and Sunday Crafternoons on her Instagram page. account @heartzeena.

In her new book marbling, Zeena explains everything you need to know about marbling everything in your home, including how to make a marbled vase using ready-to-use inks. It’s an easy DIY project to give a glass bottle or jar a new trendy look in minutes, without spending a fortune.

When marbling a vase, the first thing you should start with is choosing your color combinations. This can be intimidating, but Zeena’s best tip is to lean on contrasting colors.

Knowing where to start with color can be daunting, so my best tip for choosing your color combinations is to start with two contrasting colors. Pink and green should always be seen and look good together’, says Zeena.

“A great way to get a more sophisticated look is to work with shades of the same color so that light greens, medium greens and dark greens create a really nice palette to marble with.”

Pink ink in a water bath

Pink ink in a water bath

How do you make a marbled vase?

In the excerpt below: Marbling: Projects, Design Ideas and Techniques for a More Colorful Life Zeena Shah explains everything you need to know about making a marbled vase with ready-to-use inks.

This is one of my favorite marble brands because it is such a quick and easy creative transformation project. It’s also waste-friendly and a brilliant upcycling project – take an empty jam jar or glass soda bottle and turn it into a colorful and chic statement vase in a matter of minutes. This is also one of my favorite gifts because they are such beautiful gifts; give them some extra dried or fresh flowers and a tie to make it extra special.

Technique – Water marbling with ready-to-use premixed inks

I’m a big fan of anything that’s going to save time. I often think that one of the blocks to trying a new craft is that you think you don’t have enough time or that you need expensive materials and a lot of space to do it. None of these things are true when it comes to marbling because, thanks to the magic of ready-to-use inks, the hard work is done – so I’m a big believer in the premixed marbling inks.

I’ve tried a range of these inks (there are many varieties and brands) and my favorite is the Marabu Easy Marble ink because you don’t need to measure or pre-treat the water to make the inks float. The basic color palette is huge and you can easily mix these colors together to create an even better range. As with many things in life, you may not succeed the first time you try them, but practice makes perfect. When it comes to marbling, if you don’t have a few disasters, you’re definitely not doing it right.

As with all water marbling techniques, start by making your water bath with distilled water, then add drops of ink to the bath before manipulating and submerging paper or fabric to print.

Pink ink in a water bath

Pink ink in a water bath

1. Use room temperature distilled water for best results. Use newspaper or paper strips to skim the water to remove any lint or dust, as this can also damage the print.

2. Cover the bath evenly with the first color and then work this layer in with the remaining colors in your palette. Dropping the ink close to the water will extend the processing time.

Pink ink in a water bath

Pink ink in a water bath

3. Experiment with the way you drop the ink into the water. Drop by drop works best, but as you gain confidence you can experiment to create more complex patterns.

4. You have about 2 minutes before the ink starts to dry, so use a stylus to gently manipulate the ink as quickly as possible to create a variety of unique patterns.

Pink ink in a water bath

Pink ink in a water bath

5. Taste all the colors and note the way they spread in the water. Colors with more pigment spread differently than colors with less pigment, so if you’re hoping for a certain effect, make sure you taste, taste, taste first. Personally, I really enjoy the freedom that marbling offers and enjoy letting myself go and enjoy the organic patterns that can be achieved with this craft.

6. Carefully lower your paper, card or object into the water, making sure to collect all the marbling ink.

With paper, I recommend sliding it into the water at a 45 degree angle, bending it in the center and then working it out from the center, or lowering it into the water from the opposite corner to the corner to cover the sheet in pattern.

Pink ink in a water bath

Pink ink in a water bath

7. Gently blow or draw off the excess ink from the water bath before removing the paper or object. The ink will become slippery as it dries, so pull these threads away from your work if anything starts to appear. Set aside to dry and voilà!

Keep your space well ventilated when using this technique.

you will need

  • Deep bowl or bucket with enough

  • space to submerge the vessel

  • be fully marbled

  • Distilled water at room temperature

  • Marble inks suitable for glass in

  • 2-3 colors – I used Marabu Easy

  • Solvent Based Marble Inks

  • Gloves

  • Cocktail sticks or wooden skewers

  • Clear glass jam jars or bottles

  • Drying room

  • Spray clear coat


Thoroughly clean the glass vessel with soap and water, then rinse carefully as any soap residue will corrode your marble ink.


Marbled vase with posy

Marbled vase with posy

Fill the bucket or bowl two-thirds full with water.

Drop ink into the water bath according to the technique (described above).

Dip the barrel in the water bath, then pull it away to reveal the pattern.

The barrel will be touch dry after 20 minutes, but I would let the glass dry completely for 24 hours.

Seal the marble print with some spray lacquer for a nice even result and to protect it against wear.

Try dipping the barrel into the ink at a 45-degree angle to create some variety in your patterns.

Pots can be decorated and used as tea light holders.

Marbling by Zeena Shah, Quadrille, £15

Learn about marble techniques and projects to try at home in Marbling, which is on sale today and available for purchase on Amazon. The craft is perfect for beginners and paperwork enthusiasts alike. You just need some ink to get started.

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