Friday, October 20, 2017

Experimenting with DIY Simple Marbling Ink/Paint Techniques

I'm a fan of swirly marble patterns and colours, and often use marbling techniques when working with clay and dough (especially in fancy doggy treats); however, I haven't dabbled much in the paint or dye techniques. With the pending excitement of moving to a new house next year I figure there's going to be plenty of opportunity for creating new decor as well as make-over/upcycle projects, so I thought I'd start with a few simple tests on inexpensive materials to see how the techniques work in practice before working with larger or more valuable materials. The verdict?  

Nail Polish Marbling came out better than I expected for a ad hoc quickie test. I don't actually wear nail polish very often, but have accumulated a little stash over the years as crafting is a great way to actually get a little use out of my collection. Haha!  It is very quick (VERY quick, so work fast!) and not too messy, although if I was doing this craft again I would mask off the tops of my pencils. Clean-up was easy with nail polish remover, but it did leave a slight tint behind on the whites of the erasers.  The coating is very thin and sleek, although you can feel the slight variation in texture.  Will I use this technique again? Yes, but I will spend a little more time on prep to ensure that any areas I don't want marbled are masked.  Kids, especially older kids and teens, would enjoy this craft technique. Use gloves, work in a mess-safe area, and have nail polish remover on stand-by.  So many things to marble! I've seen this technique used with soft materials, but I think its better suited to hard surfaces because of the dried nail polish affect on texture. I may also try it with spray paint to see how that affects time and finish.  For tutorials, check out this crafty post from Design Mom or Brit + Co's photo tutorial on polish marbling. 

Sharpie Marbling/Watercolours came out more or less as anticipated. Not as nice as I would have liked, but I did "rig" the experiment a little.  I wanted to see how different colours, shapes, and intensities bleed, so kept this test widely spaced.  Rubbing alcohol (or alternatively acetone) bleeds the ink to create a watercolour effect, but the final result was less vivid than I had expected. If  I was using this technique again it would likely be to blend adjacent colours on a heavily coloured item as opposed to a spaced out abstract or ad-hoc watercolour.  For actual watercolour fabric projects, I'd probably prefer to just paint with dye directly, although this is definitely less muss and fuss than real dye. I did notice that my metallic sharpies did not bleed the same as the standard inks so I would avoid using these in any future blending projects.  Will I use this technique again? Probably, but only for more structured/inked designs with modifications as noted above or perhaps for a different effect on hard surfaces. I do like the look of the heavily coloured galaxy shoes that I've seen created with this technique. Although older kids and teens might enjoy this craft technique, between the Sharpies and alcohol/acetone, younger crafters would need significant adult collaboration and assistance.  For tutorials and project inspiration, check out Google or Pinterest, as most posts/articles are specific to a design and material. For a general how/why of the technique, this article from Scientific American covers the basics. 

Shaving Foam and Dye Marbling came out as I expected for a ad hoc quickie test, but was much easier to do than I thought before trying!  It was quick and easy, but quite messy - although the materials clean up well as long as you aren't working on/with anything that could stain.  Because I used food colouring with my shaving foam, I was able to use a glass dish instead of hunting for a mess-able container which was easy as well. That said, if I was doing for a real project, I'd like to work with different mediums such as paint, for a wider range of colour and finish options.  The budget shaving foam made the whole house smell man-tastic though, and my papers still smell! Haha!  Will I use this technique again? Yes, both with basic food colouring as well as other mediums as noted above. I think that this would be a fun craft to do with kids, especially if you don't mind a little bit of mess! Because it require very basic supplies and works well with paper, it's easy and inexpensive to try, but work in an area where messy ink/dye won't cause damage and make sure that you have plenty of space to lay out your finished creations to dry.  For tutorials, check out Honestly WTF's DIY Paper Marbling post for a great step-by-step with photos.

What will I be marbling? Only time will tell my crafty friends, but I will be sure to share how we go and what we make in future posts.  Until then, have fun experimenting!  If you find an awesome idea or create something fab yourself, don't be shy to share. We love your comments. :)

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