Home INSPIRE An Introduction to Turkish Marbling – Turkish Ebru

An Introduction to Turkish Marbling – Turkish Ebru

Paper marbling, sometimes called ebru, is a method of transferring an aqueous design onto paper or a porous material, often cardboard.The result is a true monotype, meaning that each print is one-of-a-kind.

image credit: AICUSA

Although the term “Turkish marbling” is sometimes used to describe the practice, Turkish people were not the only ones to develop paper marbling. It’s been traced back to 986 CE in east Asia.

image credit: AICUSA

The credit to Turkey is likely because many Europeans would first encounter the practice in Istanbul. These Europeans collected the paper into “books of friendship”, similar to a modern autograph album. Today, marbled paper is used primarily for stationary, book making, and collaging.


The patterns are the result of color floated on either plain water or a viscous solution known as size, and then carefully transferred to an absorbent surface, such as paper or fabric.

Through several centuries, people have applied marbled materials to a variety of surfaces. It is often employed as a writing surface for calligraphy, and especially book covers and endpapers in bookbinding and stationery. Part of its appeal is that each print is a unique monotype.