Marbling with Procion dyes 

A word about safety-:

Although these dyes are amongst the safest on the market, It is best to avoid inhaling the dry dye powder as it can produce lung irritation. Where possible use the dye in solution.

Wear rubber gloves when you are handling the dyes. If you are using the powder for any length of time it is wise to use a facemask, (available from most DIY stores). Clean any spills as you go on to avoid unwanted stains. Protect yourself and the work surfaces and keep the dyes away from children, food and pets. Do not use dye utensils for food preparation!

Items we used -:

A Large tray

  • Cheap shaving foam (Supermarket own brand)
  • Squeeze bottles for thickened dye
  • Spray bottle for the soda ash fixative solution
  • An array of sharp tipped implements for manipulating the marbling
  • Pre washed fabric

For the dye paste we used -:

  • Dye
  • Water
  • Manutex
  • Urea

For fixing the dye we used -: Soda Ash

Preparing for Marbling First make a quantity of the manutex paste

1 Pour ½ litre of water in to a measuring jug

  1. Dissolve 50g or approx. 2 ½ dessert spoons of urea granules in the water.
  2. Sprinkle Manutex slowly in to the mixture whilst stirring thoroughly then leave the mixture to cool in the fridge for 30 minutes.


To make 150 ml of coloured paste

  1. Mix ½ teaspoon of dye in to 3 tablespoons of hand hot water in a measuring jug. Stir thoroughly and allow to sit for a while so the dye has completely absorbed in to the water.
  2. When ready add 150 ml of the Manutex paste and stir thoroughly. This is now ready for use.

To make up ½ litres of Soda ash solution

  1. Dissolve approx. 5 – 10g of soda ash in to 500 ml of tepid water
  2. Pour in to suitable spray bottle

This will be used either to overspray your work after marbling or you can pre-soak the cloth before you start work. This is called soda soak.

Preparing the tray for marbling

  1. In your tray, spray enough of the shaving foam to cover the area of your fabric.
  1. With a piece of card or a cake slice, Flatten the foam as well as you can.
  1. Squeeze out the dye paste in dots or lines or however you wish to start your marbling project.
  1. With a sharp tip from something like a needle, pin fork or comb, gently pull the dye through the foam.
  1. When you are happy, take your fabric and gently lay it flat on the foam. Gently pat it so that the dye touches the fabric.

6 .Give the fabric and foam a good soaking with the soda solution spray bottle and leave to fix for a few hours.

7. Rinse thoroughly and leave to dry.



Here are some of our experiments…