- I have had very similar experiences to what Nelle mentioned. Being in South
Carolina, it is challenging to keep the size cooler. Iris had suggested
using bottles of ice water to keep the size chilled, and that seems to help
me. I use a larger 2-3 liter soda bottle filled with ice directly in the 5
I also purchased a water distiller, and made all my size with it. It took
forever, heated up my house, and was more work than I anticipated. I still
use the distilled water, but only for adding to the paint ( I make my own
from pigments), not for size.
I recently purchased a small water deionization unit, which is used by
Aquarium owners. It works GREAT. It processes water much more quickly than
a distiller, and while it isn't sterile like distilled water, it doesn't
contain any contaminants (biological or mineral- it removes water hardness.
The model I bought is called a "Tap Water Filter" and is made by Aquarium
Pharmaceuticals. They don't sell directly, but you can find them at your
local pet shop that features aquarium supplies, or several sources on the
web. The replacement filters are pretty cheap- about $15, but it will
filter a lot of water before it needs changing, DEPENDING on what exactly
your contaminants are to begin with. The City of Columbia has a low Ph, but
I think the pipes in my house have biological contaminants galore (mold
grows everywhere here, and is in the air).
Reverse Osmosis water which you can buy at some grocery stores isn't
reliable. The bladder which it uses to filter water can easily become
Finally, I don't think adding bleach to the size is good for your viscosity.
Margo Snape in an issue of Ink & Gall a number of years ago mentioned that
she started adding a pinch of salt to her size due top rapid decomposition
in the hot Australia sun. The article is entitled "Marbling with a Pinch of
Salt" . i don't have the article, or the bibliographic info. Can someone
else supply that?
It's been a while since I tried that, and I don't remember the results. Has
anyone else on the list tried it?
Benson's Hand Bindery
Fine Custom Bookbinding & Conservation
Hand Marbled Papers
1319 B Summerville Ave.
Columbia S.C. 29201
- Never tried the salt.....but the Clorox...ugh....made the paints fuzzy if I
used enough to preserve size, if I cut it down to a tsp. per gallon it did
Talas has a size preservative, or at least used to, but it is made with
formaldehyde....it nearly keeled me over just opening the bottle. Awful.
I think the best bet is to mix up only what you will use for the day and
keep it cool. I also make it with a little extra size powder in summer,
which compensates for the loss of viscosity in hot weather. That works like
I use excruciating hard, lime filled tap water for my size and it is
great.....no complaints. I use distilled water for the paints I
manufacture, because if there is ever a problem we can always rule out the
water. I do notice when I teach in NYC though, with its soft water, I need
less carrageenan powder to get the same viscosity.
I may try Jake's filter for the fun of it!