How to Marble Dye Fabrics

Written by andrea griffith
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Tie-dyeing shirts, trousers and other fabrics can give your clothing a cool, colourful -- and groovy -- new look. But if you are looking for a little different way to dye your fabric, consider marbling it. With the same dyes that you would use to tie-dye with and some shaving cream, you will be able to create a whole new look for any fabric made of natural fibres like cotton, silk or rayon.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you need

  • Mild detergent
  • White fabric
  • 1 cup soda ash
  • Large bucket
  • 1 gallon hot water
  • 2 teaspoons of each fibre-reactive dye colour
  • Small bowl, one for each colour
  • Stainless steel spoon
  • 1/2 cup warm water for each colour
  • 1/2 cup foam shaving cream
  • Plastic squeeze bottles, one for each dye colour
  • Large bowl
  • 1 cup of water
  • Whisk
  • Baking tray
  • Straw
  • Spatula

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  1. 1

    Wash your fabric -- even if it's brand new -- using a mild detergent to remove dirt and preservation sprays.

  2. 2

    Pour 1 cup of soda ash into a large bucket. Fill the bucket with 1 gallon of very hot water. Place your fabric into the solution, and allow it to soak for 10 minutes. Remove the fabric, wring out excess water and air dry it.

  3. 3

    Pour 2 teaspoons of your desired fibre-reactive dyes, each in its own small bowl. Add 1 teaspoon of warm water to each bowl, and stir the dye with a stainless steel spoon to dissolve it into a smooth paste. Add 1/2 cup warm water to each bowl.

  4. 4

    Add 1/2 cup of foam shaving cream to each bowl of dye.

  5. 5

    Pour each dye colour into a separate plastic squeeze bottle.

  6. 6

    Squeeze out half the can of foam shaving cream into a large bowl. Add 1 cup of water to the shaving cream, and whisk until the cream and water are well-blended.

  7. 7

    Pour the shaving cream mixture onto a baking tray until it is about 1-inch thick.

  8. 8

    Squirt the dyes from the squeeze bottles on top of the shaving cream in your baking tray. Swirl the dye into a marbled pattern in the shaving cream using a straw.

  9. 9

    Place your fabric directly on top of the baking tray and the marbled dye. Gently "squeegee" the fabric with a spatula to remove air bubbles. Keep your fabric on top of the dye for 5 minutes.

  10. 10

    Lift the fabric off of the dye, and place it onto a flat, clean surface. Keep the fabric dye-side up. Let the fabric sit for a full 24 hours for the marbled dye effect to react properly.

  11. 11

    Rinse the excess dye and soda ash off of your fabric with cold water. Then, continue to rinse your fabric under hot water until the water starts to run clear. Hand wash your fabric with mild detergent and hot water to remove all excess dyes and to seal the coloured, marbled effect in.

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