Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Marbling on fabric

I found a marbling kit at the art store the other week and thought I would give it a try. It said it was good on fabric or paper, so I am using fabric.

I am using the bottom of a broiling pan that is just used for art (I sometimes snow dye fabric on the broiler pan, since the water drips into the lower pan as it melts).

The kit comes with these paper circles that need to be pushed down to the bottom of the pan with a brush end, and when they float to the top, they are ready.  I squirt the inks on the circles, this keeps the ink from sinking to the bottom of the pan.  I used more than one circle to have more patterns. I squirted about 4 colors (sometimes repeating a color) on each dot.  I found it needs to be a healthy size squirt to have the color show up well on the fabric. Sometimes I used the circle patterns as they appeared, sometimes I ran the end of a brush through it, and sometimes I blew across the pan to get the colors to move around.

After dripping the paints.

 After a brush end is drawn through it.

 I hold the fabric in a U shape, and set the middle down first, then let the ends fall slowly to the surface.

These examples are on silk organza that I had previously done transfers on years ago. The transfers on the left are Paris metro stations, the transfer on the right was the front of a card.  I was afraid that the solvent used for the transfer would repel the ink, but they did fine.  The one on the left was the first marbleized piece I did yesterday, and it was very light because I didn't use enough ink. The one on the right was later and had more ink.

 Red and yellow ones. The red shows up as pink.  The one on the right was without moving the paint around, the one on the left I moved the paint with a brush end.

Blue and yellow/primaries. I put a lot of green in the left one but it really didn't show up.

If you look closely at the fabric samples, the color lines are rather jagged. I used a piece of newsprint to clean the ink off the water surface, and the lines and colors are much better on it.

Please note I emptied and refilled the pan about three times to get roughly 15 pieces done. The water gets dirty and I had a hard time finding the paper dots after a couple pieces. I think I accidently washed one dot down the drain that I forgot to take out of the last pan (they are reusable, good thing it came with twelve of them). The package said to rinse the extra ink off the fabric when it is removed from the pan, so I did this project right next to the sink. I put the fabric on layers of newsprint on the floor for them to dry.

I have some fun fabrics, but I think this kit would be best for paper.  

Last year or the year before, I did marbled fabric at the Art Students League with Jo Fitzell using carrageenan and Golden fluid acrylics and the results were way more spectacular. Carregeenan isn't cheap and has to be mixed up and then used within a few days. There is a lot more work involved, but the results were amazing.  She was a DVD available through Interweave Press if you are interested in learning more about marbling with Carrageenan. Here is the link for it.


  1. Hi its myhandcrafted.com.au. We love your blogs on handcrafting. We are also fabric marblers and it's nice to check out what everyone else has been doing. You have some interesting posts that we have just gone through and we especially like the soy wax staining and sun painting. Keep up the good work.

  2. Thanks! Glad to hear someone is reading my posts. I love the marbled fabric with black and white "feathers" with the colored dots on your website!