Create Fantastic Abstract Art by Marbling with Acrylic Paint on Fabric
The wonderful thing about being in a group of like-minded people is that although we are like-minded, we’re not same-minded. There’s an abundance of variety in thought, skills, and talents which make the group dynamic.
I’m a member of a small art group. There are six of us in the group. We meet once a month to discuss and share our art.
One of the members of my group – Dwight Lopes- has been exploring marbling with acrylic paint on fabric for a long while. He’s always exploring and trying new things. He even traveled to Turkey to see this ancient art being done. I look forward to seeing his new surface designs via marbling (with acrylic paint on fabric) at our monthly meetings.
Marbling involves floating inks and paints (acrylic, watercolor etc.) on a liquid or gel medium. Then you lay paper or fabric on top of the liquid to pick up the paints. This creates beautiful patterns that can result in fantastic abstract art.
Dwight offered to treat the group to a workshop where he’d teach us how we can create our own marbling with acrylic paint on fabric. I could hardly wait to take the workshop. I have so many tubes of acrylic paint which were gifted to me a while back. They’ve been sitting in my studio to be used. So this workshop to me, was just the inspiration I needed.
Here’s a quick overview of our marbling workshop.
Supplies for Marbling with Acrylic Paint on Fabric
- Acrylic Paints (available at Art stores like DickBlick.com) UPDATE: Formula for thinning paints below
- Mixture of methocel marbling medium, fabric medium, and water (affiliate link)
- PFD Cotton available at Prochem, Dharma Trading)
- Alum Sizing for pre-treating cotton fabric (affiliate link)
- Pipettes for dropping paint (affiliate link)
- Combs, sticks, other implements for creating patterns
- Newsprint for removing bubbles in marbling medium
- Water for rinsing
- Flat surface to hold marbled fabric
Formula for Thinning Acrylic Paints
2 parts Golden Fluid acrylic paint
1 part water
1 part GAC 900 acrylic medium (affiliate link)
Step by Step Instructions for Marbling With Acrylic Paint On Fabric
Fill a tub with marbling medium and remove bubbles from the medium using folded newsprint.
Drop different colors of acrylic paint onto the marbling medium (some paints move faster than others)
Create patterns by using combs, brushes, sticks and other implements to move paint drops around. You can make swirls, flowers, organic shapes etc.
Gently lay alum-sized fabric on top of floating acrylic paint-pattern
Gently pick up your fabric, which would have in turn picked up the paint patterns
Rinse with water
Hang to dry
Iron on the wrong side for several minutes (10 minutes or more), using pressing sheets to protect your iron and ironing board
You can download your own copy of the instructions below.
Designs Created from Marbling With Acrylic Paint on Fabric.
Here are the designs I created.
I used a stick to create patterns in this one.
No agitation to the paint drops here- I just picked up the paint as-is
I splattered paint on the marbling medium to create this marbled fabric
I used 2 different combs to create this pattern
Here, I used a stick to gently move the paint drops around the tub to create patterns
Our workshop was wonderful. I stayed long past the time the class was supposed to end because I was having such great fun. There’s a lot more to explore. I’ve got to make time to try it out in my studio.
It’s a very exciting technique. Dwight has studied the topic in depth and still continues studying it. It’ll be fun to see some of the new discoveries he makes with this surface design method.
For me, I’m still thinking of ways in which I can incorporate it in my current work. I look forward to finally using some of the acrylic paint I’ve got sitting here in my studio.
UPDATE: See how I used these fabrics to create some really awesome textile art.
Questions: Are you interested in surface designs? Have you tried marbling with acrylic paints and how do you like it? What are some of the challenges that you’ve had with marbling? Start a discussion and let’s talk about this fun surface design technique.
This post contains affiliate links. I receive a small percentage of sales made using affiliate links. Thanks so much!
PS: If you enjoyed the tutorial, share it with all your friends using the share buttons below!