of marbling as a printing process. Paints or inks are suspended
on the surface of a prepared solution of size. Size, is a
jelly-like mixture of a thickener such as Manutex
RS, Methyl Cellulose (CMC
powder) or Deka
Marble Medium and water. The marbling medium (size) is poured into a shallow tray and the colours
are dripped onto the surface. As the colours sit on the surface
of the size, they can be dragged around and manipulated into
patterns with a stick or comb or with the addition of further
colours with a dropper. Fabric or paper is carefully lowered onto the surface of
the size, allowing the paints to make contact with the material. The fabric or paper is lifted off
to reveal the patterning.
Marbling On Fabric
When you choose fabric, always check the surface texture.
Fabrics, natural or synthetics, with a smooth surface and
tight weave provide the best prints. If you plan to use the marbled
fabric in quilts, choose tightly woven cotton with a high
thread count, such as Prima
cotton. If you're using your marbled fabric in garments, choose
any tightly woven fabric
with a smooth surface including satin, polyester, polyester blends,
chintz, percale, batiste, rayon, and particularly silk which
provides outstanding results. For subtle prints, choose organza, organdie, and chiffon,
or tightly woven gauze fabrics. Avoid fabrics with uneven surface texture or a coarse, loose
weave. Silk noil, silk doupion, silk shantung, linen, and
napped fabrics, such as velveteen and corduroy, marble poorly.
To get started, you may want to go through your collection
and cut an 20 x 20cm square from each fabric. Be sure to include
your experiments in a notebook.
Marbling is also a great
technique for patterning items such as ribbon, canvas bags
and trainers, silk scarves, T-shirts, handkerchiefs, socks,
satin balls for Christmas trees, wood and paper boxes, wooden
buttons and picture frames. Most items with a slick surface
Deka Marble and other marbling paints are
permanent on fabric once heat set with an iron. For
other types of paints the fabric should be pre-treated with
Alum to help make a permanent bond with the surface fibres and
Fill a bucket with 5 litres of warm water and add approx.
3 tablespoons of alum to each litre of water. Stir thoroughly
till the alum is dissolved.
Place the fabric in the alum bath. The fabric should move
freely and soak for 15 to 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Thinner fabrics need less time than thicker ones.
Remove the fabric from the bucket, gently squeezing the
excess solution into the bucket.
Hang the fabric on a line to drip-dry carefully so that
no part touches itself (where fabric touches itself, the
alum is concentrated and can cause a weak or pale print).
Do not use a clothes dryer.
After the fabric has dried, use a dry iron to remove wrinkles.
Be careful; steam and water drops will remove alum and create
a blotchy print!
To prepare paper with Alum; either paint the surface of
the paper with a large brush or apply with a spray bottle.
Try to ensure the paper is covered evenly and lay it flat
Marbling On Paper
marbling process is also very effective on paper. The marbled
paper can be used to good effect to cover books, wrap presents
and decorate cards, lampshades and photo frames.
How to Marble using Deka Marble
Deka Marble which is an intermixable water based paint giving
brilliant intense colours and formulated specifically for the
marbling process. The paint is light fast and wash fast up
60°C and suitable for use on all natural fabrics, especially
cotton, silk, satin and paper. Test on synthetic and blended
fabrics before your main project. Although alum will help with
the bond, it is not necessary to treat your fabric when using
this product. The acrylic base will adhere the paint to
the surface once the marbled fabric is ironed on the reverse.
Use 2 heaped teaspoons of Manutex RS to 1 litre of water
or Deka Marble Medium.
Stir the mixture well and leave to stand for 2 hours until
it has thickened into a gel. The solution will keep for
up to 24 hours.
Pour into a flat, plastic container so that it is 2-3cms
Drop colours onto the surface where they will begin to
spread. Move the paint around with either a comb or a stick
until you are happy with the pattern.
Carefully lay the wrinkle free paper or fabric onto
of the size and leave it to rest for 10 seconds.
Lift off, rinse gently under cold water,
squeeze out and hang up to dry. To fix the paints onto
fabric, allow to dry and iron on the reverse with a hot iron
for 3 minutes.
To extend the colour range, Jacquard
Lumiere and Neopaque
paints can also be used for marbling, as can any acrylic
To use the
size again, the surface can be cleaned by laying sheets of
paper kitchen towel onto the remaining paint so that it is
blotted up. Any marbling paint that has sunk below the
surface will not affect future prints.