Thursday, May 15, 2014


As an art teacher and mom I can recommend this as one of my "go to" activities. The simplicity of the technique means everybody (seriously EVERYBODY) can achieve AMAZING results. It is a fast and easy project that requires few materials and little preparation (reason #1 I said you would love it too!) It is also a great way to tie in a cultural lesson as "Suminigashi" is a Japanese technique.

"Suminigashi" literally means "spilled ink" and is one of the first techniques used to create a marbled surface. The ink is suspended on a water surface and is then transferred to paper. Because of the ever-changing qualities of water it is difficult to create a controlled print, but Japanese artists who studied Suminigashi were considered masters of control. One of the lovely qualities of Suminigashi is that each piece is unique, no-one will be able to replicate your work!


Large pan- I purchase metal roasting pans from the dollar store which come in packs of 2
Watercolor paper
Acrylic paints from craft store
Paper plates


1. Cut watercolor paper to size, making sure it fits in the pan.
2. Fill pan with about 1/2"-3/4" water.
3. Squish paint onto paper plate or palette.


1.Traditional Japanese printing involves making many concentric circles using multiple colors (note- the shown piece is not necessarily traditional).To create a traditional print use two colors of paint and two toothpicks (I used about 6 colors on this piece). Dip the toothpick into the paint and very gently rest the tip on the surface of the water. Do not move the toothpick in a stirring motion or touch the bottom of the pan. The idea is to let the paint fill the surface of the water. As more paint is added you will be able to see the paint sitting on top of the water.

2.Continue to touch paint to the water and watch as it moves across the surface creating intricate patterns. This is a wonderful time to explore the medium and experiment with creating different colors and shapes.

3. When you feel that your piece is ready to be printed (I usually work on dipping paint for about 20 minutes) grab your piece of watercolor paper.

4. Hold the paper by the corners level to the surface of the water. Drop it to the water as flat as you can. Without spinning the paper, submerge it under the water, and lift up. 

5. Lay your print to dry. You have completed your Suminigashi print.

6. To make another piece just switch out your water in the pan and start again. I have found that the water is too muddy to result in a clear second print.

I love that each print is as unique as your fingerprint!
Happy printing!