Sylvia and I love trying out new crafts and last summer we tried our hands at marbling on fabric. The results were very exciting and quickly became a bit addictive. The collection of pretty patterned fabrics pieces we had created started to grow so this winter we decided that we needed to find a use for them and slip covers for small notebooks seemed a perfect answer.
The size of the marbled fabric you can make depends on the size of the ‘floater bath’ of marbling solution you make, and we had a couple of plastic supermarket meat trays about 24 x 16 cm which just fitted around an A6 notebook. Marbling works best on natural fibre so we cut up old cotton sheets into 30 x 20 cm pieces (the fabric needs to be just larger than the bath) treated them with Alum so that the colour would not run and left them to dry.
You make the floater bath by mixing Methocel with water and leaving it to become thick and viscous, about 24 hours. We found that the floater worked better if we used Ionised water (available from Car Spares suppliers as it is used in batteries) The container for the floater needs to be a couple of inches deep and you need to fill the container to the top so that it easy to lay the fabric over the sides slightly, this makes it easier to lift off the fabric without disturbing the pattern.
Once you have your floater bath ready and your fabric treated with Alum and dried overnight you can start to carefully drip small amounts of colour onto the surface of the floater. We used plastic pipettes as you can control the drips better. You can use any Acrylic based paints, fabric paints or the special marbling paints but most will need to be diluted slightly so that they float on the surface and don’t sink to the bottom. You can experiment to find out how much to dilute the paints by dropping the colour gently on the surface of the floater and seeing if it sinks. If it does, add a little more water. Once you have a few colours floating and the surface is mostly covered you can either use an old comb to make regular swirls or pattern or just one cocktail stick to swirl the colour around.
The exciting patterns and colour combinations are fascinating and as I said completely addictive. We still have some marbled pieces of fabric left and I plan to use them to make Ipad covers when I have time. You can buy marbling kits from Marbling for Fun