Blog, book review, Book Reviews

Making Marbled Paper

Paint Techniques and Patterns for Classic and Modern Marbleising on Paper and Silk.

Heather Fletcher of HRJ Design Studios

Published by Fox Chapel publishing

When this book fell into my in box I was delighted as it is a technique that I have tried out myself and the results can be rather random. Heather Fletcher is a true professional and manages to get great results, and with her clear, photographed step by step instructions you dear readers will be able to do the same.

Heather is a surface designer who works in many different mediums including marbling, suminagashi, pochoir, linocut, and woodblock printing, Heather incorporates them into her current practice focused in the following areas: artist books, hand lettering, graphic design, surface pattern design, quilting, and illustration (hand and digital).

After a brief introduction to the author, the book opens with a short history of marbling. The first half of the book divides into three chapters starting with the studio and how to set up, the tools and materials needed and paints and colours.

One of the bonuses of choosing marbling as a craft is that it requires very little in the way of specialist tools, most of them you will find in your house. You are given instructions on how to make your own marbling combs.

Heather teaches classes on marbling and other surface design techniques at Minnesota Center for Book Arts, Textile Center in Minneapolis, and around the world.

As she says

‘There are many “systems” for marbling paper, each using a different kind of paint (ink vs. watercolor vs. oil

vs. acrylics) and different substances to float color on the surface. In this book, we use fluid acrylic paint and carrageenan. Through teaching marbling, I found that these two materials are the easiest to work with for marblers of all levels—from beginners to seasoned professionals. Both carrageenan and acrylic paint are easily available through online retailers and at your local art store.

The recipe is given for making your own carrageenan ‘size’ and as it is a seaweed extract it is often used in the food industry as a thickener. It can be safely poured down the sink after use.’

The second part of the book is called patterns and describes and shows the foundation patterns and further patterns based on those.

The reader is then given techniques to marble on paper and then on fabric. Finally there is a troubleshooting section and a resources guide. 

Heather’s surface designs are represented by MHS Licensing and licensed to manufactures and put onto products for home décor, hydration, wall art, tabletop, wallpaper, and quilting fabrics.

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Marble your own fabric to create these stylish cushions!

Recently I found an ancient, well 1990’s Dylon leaflet about marbling on fabric and so intrigued were we that we decided to create a marbled cushion.

Traditionally marbling was done on paper and was achieved by floating oil colour on water or size. If you try and do this on fabric, the fabric feels hard and unpleasant.

I did a few experiments on different kinds of cloth and the ones that give the best colour and luminosity are Silk and Satin. I have used a heavy slipper satin for these cushions. For best results use a white or light coloured fabric.

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You will need

Shallow plastic trough. This needs to be bigger than the pieces of fabric that you are going to float in it. The fabric needs to be large enough to fit over the cushion pad

Bucket or large jug

Whisk

Fabric pieces. Satin or silk

Dylon fabric paints

Tool from one of the following: Knitting needle or a barbecue stick or toothpick

Roll of kitchen paper

Sewing machine

Scissors

Pins

Thread

Ruler

Fabric marker pen

Cushion pad we used a 29cm sq

Lots of newspaper to cover the work surfaces and access to a sink

Waterproof gloves

Spatula

2C2A2125 copy

Instructions

1.Put on your gloves to protect your hands. Whisk the wallpaper paste into water according to the manufacturers instructions, until it is the consistency of yoghurt. Pour into a shallow trough until it is almost full. Leave to stand for at least 15 minutes. Tip: Whilst you are waiting for the paste to set, use the time to cut your fabric so it fits in the troughwith enough border to lift it in and out. Cover the work surface in newspaper.

1.whisk wallpaper paste into water

2. Apply drops of colour onto the surface of the paste and then use your tool to swirl them around. This can look pretty messy at this stage.

2 Drop ink onto surface and then draw a stick through it..jpg

3. Carefully lower a piece of fabric onto the paste surface. Leave for a few seconds for the paint to absorb, you may need to push it down with your fingers.

3 another pattern.jpg

4. Carefully lift off the fabric. It will be covered in paste as well as a pattern below the paste. Leave on a work top for at least 5 minutes.

5. Wash off the paste from the fabric under running water. Leave to dry.

6. When dry, iron the fabric o the back, using a hot setting for 1-2 minutes to set the colour.

Tip : To clean the paste between applications use a spatula to remove the surplus colour.

To make the cushion cover with an envelope back

1. Measure the cushion and cut one piece of marbled fabric to that dimension for the cushion front. 29cm x 29cm

4 lay cushion on wrong side .jpg

2. Cut two further pieces the width of the cushion cover by approximately 2/3 the length. (29x 20cm) For the cushion back.

5 meaure mark and then cut out front

3.Turn under by 0.5cm and 0.5cm again and pin and then neaten with a running stitch along one 29cm side of each back piece of fabric .

6 turn under by 0.5cm and again and neaten.jpg4. With right sides facing, and neatened edges overlapping in the centre, pin the 2 backs onto the cushion front and sew round the edge.

7 sew round edge with runnng stitch.jpg

5.Turn the right way out and fit the cushion pad into the cushion

8 Turn right way out .jpg

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Three super stylish marbled fabric projects

Marbling in its many forms, on furniture paper s and fabrics is very popular at the moment. The easiest way to marble is to float oil paint on water as oil and water don’t mix. I did this in my previous marbled cards project. This is great if you are marbling paper but it isn’t really suitable for fabric as it sits on the surface and feels hard. I discovered  a brilliant kit on line made by homecrafts direct  

Rather than just plain cloth I decided to marble some baby items, a couple of headbands and some yellow napkins.

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the kit includes a marbling ground and a selection of different colours which you can also buy as a pearlised set. You will need to mix up the dye bath in advance. so allow time for this.

You will need

Apron

Newspaper

Kitchen roll

surgical or vinyl gloves

Marbling ground

A shallow dish that is large enough to fit the largest garment or piece of fabric you wish to marble onto

Marbling colours

Items to marble natural fibres and light colours or white are best.

Instructions

  1. Prepare the bath by mixing 50gms of marbling ground with 2.5litres of water until it is the consistency of thin cream.
  2. Cover the work area with newspaper. Put on vinyl gloves and an apron to protect yourself.
  3. To break the surface tension of the bath, skim over it with a piece of kitchen roll.
  4. Immediately after skimming drip the marbling colours onto the surface of the bath.
  5. Use an old pencil or back of a paint brush to spread and manipulate the colours.
  6. when you are happy with the design lay the garment or fabric on the surface of the bath and then once the colour has taken gently lift it out.
  7. At this stage I wash off the size from the dye bath and then leave my fabric to dry. Other people leave the fabri c to dry with the size still on it and then wash it off later.
  8. Once dry iron on the back to fix the design.

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