A TECHNIQUE DRIVEN Blog dedicated to mastery of surface design techniques. First we dye, overdye, paint, stitch, resist, tie, fold, silk screen, stamp, thermofax, batik, bejewel, stretch, shrink, sprinkle, Smooch, fuse, slice, dice, AND then we set it on fire using a variety of heat tools.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Experiments Using Methocel

Hi Everyone, 
Here are some recent experiments with using Methocel as a base for marbling.  Rosalita and I spent a day doing  "what if" things, trying Tsukineko inks, Setacolor, and Jacquard marbling colors.
We used the Mini Marbling Kit from Jacquard for our experiments, Versatex surfactant, and "Creative Marbling on Fabric" and "Marbling" as references.
This is our laboratory setup.  lol
I mixed the Methocel (4 Tbsp) in 1 gallon of warm water in the large bucket.  Since I had this wonderful hand blender, that's what I used to do the blending, together with 1 Tbsp of Ammonia....I had no regular, so had to use Lemon Ammonia.  As you can see, the hand blender resulted in a large amount of foam which had to be scraped off the surface of the Methocel before it could be used.  Using a whisk would probably result in far less foam.
Using Jacquard Lumiere paints, we started to lay colors on the surface of the Methocel.  These were thinned a tiny bit with surfactant.  However, as you can see, the paints were just too thick/heavy and started to sink to the bottom rather than spread nicely on the top.  This was our first lesson.  We then added some Jacquard Marbling paint (white and red), but we hadn't thinned these enough either, apparently.  Hmmm.  
Somewhat disappointed, but undeterred, we continued to add drops of paints, then swirled the colors using a wooden skewer.  The pattern developed nicely, but the paints were sinking.  Our conclusion is that the Methocel mixture was too thin.
This is the treated fabric laid on the surface of the paint.
Here is the fabric just after pulling up from the surface of the Methocel.  We'd forgotten to drag it across the edge of the tub, so there was still a major amount of paint and Methocel which dripped down the fabric.  This rinsed off.
This is the dried print.  We found that the last, black paint retained its vividness the best, most of the previous paint having started to sink.  Also, the metallics in the Lumiere flaked off.  
After using newspaper to scrape off the surface of the Methocel, we decided to try using Tsukineko inks.  These we found had differing consistencies and thus different abilities to float.  The more transparent the ink, the better floating and dispersing qualities it had.  White just sank.  We were getting quite a body of paint and ink under the surface of the Methocel at this point, some of which (particularly the metallics which broke apart) came to the surface.  It looked a little like a tidal pool with algae and rocks.  
Here I am using the outdoor 'facilities' to rinse off the Methocel.  This allowed me to keep it from going into the septic system, however, the water is cold!
Tomorrow, I'll post pics of the dried and ironed pieces which we finished.  This coming week will focus on using the carageenan as a base....hopefully with far more satisfying results.  Since we were experimenting, perhaps we should be happy with the learning experience!


  1. I'm so glad someone finally posted with marbling results, I've been waiting impatiently! Interesting about the Methocel--think I'll go with the carageenan instead, since I can only afford one or the other.

    Can't wait to see your results from the next experiment, and also pics of the dried & ironed pieces you've created here.

  2. Fascinating experiments! Look forward to seeing how the finished pieces look and to hearing about your carageenan experiments....xx

  3. We did the same, wit more or less the same results, http://verfvirus.blogspot.com/2011/04/stof-marmeren.html
    I look forward to see how the cargeenan works out!

  4. I had to do a lot of experimenting with the methylcel to get my marbling efforts to work. First off, I hand blended (using a wire whisk) the powder & water and then stirred in the ammonia, continuing to whisk.

    And the only paints that seemed to work with methylcel were Creatix (or Jaquard) Airbrush colors. If I used regular acrylics, the patterns just washed off and bled in the "rinse off" process.

    I usually go the expense and trouble of marbling with carageenan because it works with most heavy body acrylics (that have been watered down slightly). Airbrush colors also work well. It takes a lot of experimentation to find out WHAT works and what doesn't. But it's satisfying when it all works out.

  5. Glad to find this old post since I was thinking about buying the methylcel since it's so much cheaper. I've had great success with carageenan so guess I'll just bite the bullet and buy more. Thanks.


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