I have tried marbling with inks on shaving cream and I will be trying thickened dyes on shaving cream, but for my money, you just can't beat marbling with paints on a size.
These pieces are from a couple of weeks ago. I gave the best one to my friend Judy who blogged about it here.
There are "mistakes" in these that an experienced marbler may notice, but because it's fabric, the mistakes are merely design opportunities. Marbling is a good way to perk up those not so lovely fabrics.
The fabric is soaked in a solution of alum, then air dried. It has to be done within 24 hours of marbling because alum "tenderizes" the fabric and will cause the fabric to disintegrate if it stays on for too long. I air dry it because it's very sensitive to heat and I am afraid to use my dryer or iron on it. The alum is a mordant which makes the paint stick to the fabric. I had problems today because it was a bit breezy and the fabric kept whipping around and folding in on itself. It needs to hang straight to have a nice even coating of the mordant.
I use something called "Methyl Cel" that I get from Dharma Trading or Prochemical and Dye. It is called a "size" -- we refer to it as "the goo" -- and it's a lot like loose Jello. We float the paints on top and using tools that I made, we move the paints around until we're satisfied, then lower the treated fabric onto the paint. The fabric is then pulled off the size and gently swished around in a bucket full of water. I let it hang out to dry, then after curing the paint for a couple of days, I heat set it with my iron. After a gentle wash and dry, it's ready to use.
Sometimes the paint left in the tray is prettier than the stuff that floated. I always forget to save a piece of fabric to soak up this stuff -- today I did use a paper towel for one bit that was left.
My daughter and I spent her day off school today doing this and I will post pictures of our results in a day or two.