One of the inevitable side effects of doing so many fabric experiments is that I end up with some less-than-amazing pieces of fabric.

Take the examples below. I can’t actually remember what I was trying to do that resulted in these swatches. But I can definitely say that it didn’t work.

It seems a shame to just throw fabric away, though. Instead I like to think: What else could I do to these?

After all, if I try something to resuscitate them and it doesn’t work out, there’s no real harm done. But it might lead me in an interesting direction.

For these pieces, I decided to try adding another layer of dye, this time blue. And I did it using shaving cream marbling.

Generally, this isn’t my favorite marbling technique. I love the clean lines and complex, regular patterns that I can get with normal fabric marbling. But shaving cream marbling does have several key benefits:

  • It’s crazy simple to do.
  • I can use dye instead of paint, and without any thickening.
  • It’s easy to leave “white space,” where a lack of dye means no color change.

The results are, if not stirringly beautiful, at least far more interesting than the original. What surprised me most about the experiment was how blue the marbled dye stayed. I’d expected it to meld with the underlying color more, creating green and purple; instead it appears almost stamped on top of the previous colors. That’s unexpected but good to know — it gives me some ideas!

What do you do with your less-than-awesome experiments?

One thought on “Do-overs: shaving cream marbling over ice dye

  1. This is AWESOME. I have been wanting to try the shaving cream marbling, but hadn’t thought about using it to rescue failed experiments. I often do a targeted overdye on some items, and sometimes use stencils with dye na flo pounced on top (not too runny – pre blotted on paper towel). I wonder what applying “color magnet” on top of your fabric using a stencil (or over lace), and then doing a light turquoise overdye in a dye bath might look like (it would result in the green and purple, but perhaps continue to have blue on the color magnet areas. Or you could put lace over the whole things and use a roller sponge with dye na flo on it in a darker color like the nebula navy or a charcoal grey or even better black might do.
    Always fun to experiment – I have a number of “misses” that I am now inspired to redeem… thanks!

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