Monday, August 13, 2012

Marbling experiments

About a year ago, Kathy Molatch sent a mini marbling kit for me to try it out.  There are lots of things you need in order to marble fabric, and this kit contained almost everything (alum, methocel, paints) except for the fabric and a tray or pan to do the actual marbling in.  Also, last week Jenny Williams let me watch a video she had downloaded from Quilting Arts about marbling.  It was fantastic--after watching it Friday afternoon, I really couldn't stop thinking about trying this out--by Sunday I was ready.

First, I had to find a pan big enough for marbling.  I went to Tractor Supply and found a "droppings pan" made of plastic that measures 24"x24", and it's about 3 inches deep.  This allows me to marble a piece of fabric that size, which is actually a pretty good-sized piece.  (If you're going to try this for the first time, it might be easier to start with a smaller piece of fabric, which I learned the hard way!)
I mixed the methocel according to directions and poured it into my pan.  The directions said it should set up firmly in 1/2 hour or so.  While I was waiting, I cut some pieces of fabric into 24x24" pieces, soaked them in alum, and hung them on the clothesline to dry.

After over 2 hours of waiting, the methocel hadn't set up, so I took my blender out in the garage, set it on a stool, and scooped all the liquid out of the pan a few cups at a time and blended the heck out of it.  That seemed to work, because it set up within an hour or so, and looked good. 

The Quilting Arts video said to thin your paints out half-and-half with water, so that's what I did.  I then proceeded to drop the paints on the surface of the methylcel, and nothing happened.  The paints didn't sit on the surface, they sank right to the bottom.  Different colors of paints behave differently, so I tried each one, but all of them sank to the bottom. 

I then got the idea to squeeze the little bottles of paint directly onto the surface, not water them down, and it worked.  At least the red and blue colors worked wonderfully, the black and green didn't.  The yellow had a mind of it's own. 

If you look closely at the two pictures below, the blue paint spread out into big blobs, but the green and black are just little dots that didn't do ANYTHING but sit there. 

This was my first attempt at marbling, and there are so many variables involved.  The videos make it look SO really isn't, but it was a lot of fun.


  1. Love this! I marbled paper a 100 years ago in high school and I would love to marble fabric. Maybe sometime, I will have time to play! Looks great!

  2. I think you did real well with this marbling. It's funny that different colors move faster than others. One think about this technique, you have to let go of control something I learned from ice dyeing. I hope you do try it again with the acrylics. It's so much fun. What about marbling over these and see what happens. That's what I plan to do with a couple of mine. Thanks for dropping by my blog.