How to Dye Fabric: Marble Dyeing with Shaving Cream


Marbling has been around for centuries. It mimics a natural design that’s found in stone or a nice piece of ribeye. You’ve probably seen the marbling technique used on things like the end pages in a book, or in stationery store. But did you know that you can marble dye fabric? Hi, I’m Cathy from Online Fabric Store. Today I’m gonna be using some liquid Rit dye and shaving cream to spruce up some plain boring white pillowcases. So let’s Dye-ve right in. Here are the materials you’ll need: a press cloth, a trash bag or plastic to cover the working area, Something to dye, I’m using some cotton pillowcases, shaving cream, liquid fabric dye or fabric paint, I’m using Rit all-purpose liquid fabric dye, a flat edge, I’m just gonna use some cardboard, a medicine dropper, a paintbrush, paper towels, gloves, an old t-shirt, and an iron. First off if you actually care about the clothes you’re wearing, you’re probably better off putting on an old t-shirt. You’re gonna want to match your fabric to the type of dye you’re using, or vice versa. All-purpose Rit dye likes cotton fabric so I’m using 100% cotton pillowcases. If you’re using new fabric make sure to pre wash it ahead of time to remove any sort of finish it might have. Lay out a trash bag, so it’s large enough to cover your work surface. Cutting it open will double the amount of space you’ll have to work with. You don’t need to use a trash bag, it just makes cleaning up a lot easier. Depending on the size of what you’re marbling you can even use something like the top of a pizza box if you don’t want to waste a trash bag. You can lay out your object first and make a few dots at the corners to better gauge the area you’ll need to fill. Distribute the shaving cream across the surface so it’s large enough for your object. It doesn’t need to be too thick, about one inch of cream all around will do, just enough to cover the surface. Smooth it out a bit using your fingers or a flat edge. I’m gonna use my fingers because it feels cool. Next drop the dye on top of the cream, but make sure to shake the bottle first. If you don’t want to stain your hands, now’s the time to put on some gloves. In the end, less is more so be careful of how much dye you’re adding into the cream. You can use however many colors you’d like, but you should probably keep it to about 2 or 3 or less. When trying to figure out what colors might look nice together, or what colors combined will create other colors, using a color wheel helps a bunch. Using whatever tool you’d like, swirl the dye into the surface of the cream Be careful not to press your tool in too deep as that will push the dye to the bottom of the cream which isn’t what you want. I went ahead and used the bristle side of this paintbrush to give a more speckled effect. There’s no right or wrong way to do this. It’s all about personal preference and experimentation. Another technique for marbling is to create smaller batches of cream with the dye mixed into it. Then add that colored batch to the larger shaving cream surface with a small tool. You’re basically replicating the process of adding color onto a blank surface. Doing this will create more prominent veins in the design and allows you to play around a bit with texture. You can also reverse this technique by creating a larger batch of dyed cream then add white cream into it I’m also going to experiment with my fabric being damp as opposed to dry, just to see how well each retains the color. Gently place your pre-washed fabric on top of the cream starting from one side and going to the other. Lightly press down with your fingers and let it sit for a few minutes. Make sure the entire surface is touching the marbled dye. You can push the fabric down a bit to get to the corners if you have to. Gently remove the fabric by pulling it up from one end or corner and set it aside on to another covered surface, cream side up. After letting the fabric sit for a few minutes, use your squeegee or a sturdy flat edge and scrape away the excess shaving cream. Be careful not to press too hard or you risk smudging the dye. If you need to dye another item, you can just reuse this cream by adding a little more to the top and smoothing it out. This creates a blank canvas without having to start all over again. Just be careful while smoothing it out as you don’t want the dye from below to mix with the new cream. Additionally, if you’re only using one color, here’s a good place to try out that reverse technique I mentioned with as little wasted cream as possible. If you have to go in for another pass, make sure to wipe the blade clean first. After most of the shaving cream is removed, heat set the dye with a hot iron and a press cloth. Make sure not to iron directly on to the fabric. I reversed this lovely ironing mat Clara made, so I didn’t ruin it. Rinse out the fabric in cold water until the water becomes clear, and hang to dry. And here are the results. I’m pretty happy with how it came out, but I do have some reservations about the damp pillowcase that I dyed. Keep in mind that no two marbled things are exactly alike, so have fun with it. Despite everything I read on the internet, using dry fabric as opposed to damp fabric seemed to work better. I used the same techniques on both dry and damp fabric and found that the colors transferred better, didn’t bleed, and were more vivid when the pillowcase was dry. If you’re planning on marble dyeing separate designs on something with two sides like I did, it might help to place a piece of cardboard or something flat and sturdy in between the fabric. This prevents the dye from bleeding through and transferring on to the reverse side. I’m not sure if it was the shaving cream or the dye, but I noticed with the first technique that the dye congealed a bit on the shaving cream surface. When I went to swirl it, it clumped up a bit and that translated onto the fabric, which leads me to my next point: Remember what I said about being careful not to press down too hard when wiping away the shaving cream? Yeah, make sure to listen to that advice, nice and gentle. And you can marble more than just fabric. Why not create some card stock, or water marble your nails with nail polish? What do you think about this whole marble-but-not-marble trend? Let us know in the comments below, and thanks for watching this OFS project.

32 comments

Shop Online Fabric Store: https://www.onlinefabricstore.net/
Visit OFS Maker's Mill: https://www.onlinefabricstore.net/makersmill/
Check out our selection of Rit dye: https://www.onlinefabricstore.net/brand-rit.aspx
Feel free to comment, like, and subscribe!

Why not marble fabric the old fashioned way? You have a lot more control in the swirl design and are not wasting shaving cream and adding garbage empty cans every time.

I like the marbling! Okay, I LOVE the marbling! I want to do a pattern looks like gently rippling water, with two different colors; Rit DyeMore Kentucky Sky and Rit DyeMore Sapphire Blue. Do you think this would be a good way to get that effect??!?

I fkn LOVE her personality. I am subbed to this channel bc I sub to all craft youtube bc I’m a crafter & have a home business selling what I make. I’ve never seen a video w/ this lady before but this is so refreshing. You don’t always have to be professional ‘stuck up’ (for lack of better words) sometimes a chill teacher just makes the entire experience better & much more fun. Please make more videos featuring her & don’t censor her personality. You can censor (edit her) after production but tell her to let lose & just be herself. 🤗🤗

Thank you for the demo. I do have a question, with any other "How To" I've watched, it's recommended to have your cloth damp, just as you've said. I really would have appreciated seeing both pillowcases to see for myself that the dry fabric ended up looking better.

thanks for a fun informative refreshing video I don't always want professional I want factual informative friendly funny and lighthearted – a joy to watch many thanks

Hi there!! The best way to seal the dye in any fabric, you should saturate water with salt and maybe depending on the temperature add some ice. Remember hot or warm water makes the dye bleed instead of cold water… it’s just like when you’re washing jeans. Great technique for marbling btw.

Would you recommend this with a duvet cover? I purchased an over-sized king comforter (116 x 98) and wanted a Marble duvet cover, but cannot find one to accommodate the size as they are all for the standard king size. Should I do this in small sections, or should I lay down a whole tarp to work with? I am afraid the size of my canvas may cause issues. And how long should the dye sit? I was only thinking of doing 1 side of the duvet cover, so I don't care if it bleeds through to the other side. Also, do you know how many washes I can do before it starts to fade? Thanks!!!

Question, if I wanna do this on denim what would I have to use or do to make it stay? Like on pants, I know the dye only likes certain fabrics.

Thanks for showing the dye technique AND how to heat set it. I found lots of marbling videos, but yours is the only start to finish, whole project tutorial. And how you mixed color into the cream is something I wondered about. I need to make clouds and grass on embroidery fabric and need subtle color shifts…your video included that technique. Thank you so much!

Thank you so much for this tutorial! You presented everything well and calmed my nerves on how difficult the process originally appeared to be. You gained my sub (:

Leave a Reply