Marbling Kit - Methocel query
  • I bought the Paper Marbling kit the other day and had my first attempt at marbling yesterday. I have a question that I'm hoping you may be able to help me with?

    I followed the instructions for making the methocel size, however, amended the quantities to suit how much I required (I didn't need a whole gallon for my first attempt). I therefore added 1 tablespoon of Methocel to 2 pints of warm water, whisked it for about 5 mins and poured the liquid into my tray (leaving for about 1 hour before my first marbling attempt). What I noticed was that the size appeared to sink to the bottom (there was a layer of thick gluggy size at the bottom and a layer of what seemed to be more of a water consistency at the top). I wasn't sure if this was right but went ahead anyway and the marbling worked quite well although the paints moved around the size more than I thought they should (They were very fluid). I tried again with the combs and this is where you would normally get some patterns coming through, however, they didn't work as the paints moved around too much and again I thought it may be because the size wasn't mixed properly?

    Can you please let me know if I mixed the size properly or if there was a problem with it? If the size does seem to sink to the bottom leaving a layer of water on top, can I mix it up again or should I start again?

    Any help you can give would be great. Thanks!
  • Hi,
    Did you add a tablespoon of amonia? That should help a more even dispurtion of the Methocel.
  • I have had a similar problem. I have tried twice. The first time there were bits that sank like in the OP I did add some ammonia both times. The second time I used an electric whisk and the dispersion was much better.
    However the results on the silk were disappointing. The red colour spread too far and ended up a very pale pink on the silk, barely visible. The black would not spread at all. It stayed in a tight drop. When I tried to spread it with a cocktail stick it just ended up looking like dead insects. The blue and green worked the best but still came out pale tho not as faint as the pink. The methocel mix turned blue.
    I tried the black again diluted with a little water it spread a bit but looked grainy. It ended up a very pale grey on the silk.
    Images I have seen on the internet show much more vibrant colours.
    Do you have any idea what the problem is?
  • Well, how frustrating! The best advice I can give you is to have you call into customer service and ask for either Monte or Asher - they both have the most experience with the Marbling Colors and I am woefully uneducated in that area.
    The toll free number is 800 442 0455 - tell them Annette sent you:)

  • Hi Annette, I am in the UK so presumably it won't be a toll free number for me?
  • oh fiddle!
    Okay, yes, it wouldn't be toll free for you, not to mention all the time difference fuss! Let me talk to them and I'll see what I can find out. I suspect they'll have more questions (which is exactly why I thought it best to send you directly to the folks most in the know) but we'll do our best to get to the bottom of this.
    One thing I know they will most likely want is the batch number off your kit - it is a stamped number - usually near the bar code.

  • Thanks Annette The batch code is 37062
  • Tessa,

    Thanks much. It will be Monday before I can speak with the fellas, but I'll be back to you as soon as I get some info.

  • Hi Tessa,

    So, I had a conversation with the chemist and here are the points he made that are significant to your situation:
    First, when mixing the methocel you should see no grains left at the end of mixing - the more mixing the better. He described the methocel hydration as a flower uncurling - it needs water, high ph (ammonia) and considerable sheer (mixing) to encourage the 'uncurling'.
    Also, regarding the methocel and spread - the thicker your size the slower the paints will disperse. That would help with the problem with the red paint.
    Oxgall or other dispersant will help with the black paint.
    In tooling around the web I did find a reference that noted that softened water used with the methocel to make size can cause colors to be 'pale & fuzzy'. ( Instructions.html)
    One last thing I didn't confirm with you - are you treating your fabric with an alum mordant before marbling?

    if you have any more questions don't hesitate!
  • Hi Annette, thanks.
    I did use the alum to treat the silk as in the instructions that came with the kit.
    Can the alum solution be reused or does it get weaker once silk has been soaked in it?
    I will try the methocel thicker which as you say should help with the red but what about the black that doesn't spread as I mentioned above?
  • Tessa,

    Yes, the alum solution can be stored and used until it is gone.
    For the black paint you want to use some sort of dispersant. Oxgall is a traditional medium used for this, but a tiny bit (dip a toothpick into soap about 1/4 inch and then mix that into paint) of liquid dish detergent might help, too. It is a good idea to add the dispersant to only the amount of paint that you are using at the time.

  • Is the oxgall ok for using on silk?
  • I've never heard anything to indicate that would be a problem, in fact, a quick google came up with several suggestions that it is a component of stain removal products specific for use with silk.

  • Interesting, thanks Annette I will try it the ox gall.
  • Let me know how it goes!
  • Hie, I have been reading all the comments.. it so helps.. can you help me with my issue please?? I was doing screen print on fabric using white color... after 3 washes, the ink seemed to block the screen and now the print doesn't come out to be clear as per the design.. Can you please tell em how to unclog the ink stuck in pores of screen????

  • Dear Pumma,

    Thank you for your question.
    It sounds as if the paint dried in the screen or began to dry in the screen. I presume you have wash your screen thoroughly and if you've been unable to remove the dried ink then I'm afraid to say you screen is probably not savable.
    Working with white inks - particularly high pigment white ink, calls for close attention to the ink in the screen. The higher pigmentation in white inks can result in quicker drying in the screen. You'll find the same true of opaque colors. Ambient temperature and humidity can affect the drying time of the inks as well so if it is warm and dry that can contribute to inks drying in the screen more quickly, too. And in general, when working with water based acrylic inks one wants to give the screen good attention once you've started screening.
    So sorry not to have better news for you.