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Balancing Acrylic Paints for Marbling

16 thoughts on “Balancing Acrylic Paints for Marbling”

  1. Just trying to make sure I get this right: 1) you suggest to add 3 parts water to 2 parts paint? 2) when using GAC900 for textiles – do you recommend first mixint paint and GAC at 1:1 ration and THEN add additional water?

    Reply
    • Hello NR,

      Thanks for your comment. The starting ratio is 3 parts paint to 2 parts water. Usually, it helps to gradually add a little water at a time, just so you don’t over add water and then have to add more paint to compensate. – Mike Townsend

      Reply
    • Hello James.

      Thank you for your kind words.

      The last image was made by creating a bullseye pattern as seen during the testing, but continue on through several drops. Then I used a skinny piece of straw and drew 4 lines starting from outside the circles and ending at the center. Its pretty easy, actually. – Mike Townsend

      Reply
  2. I was excited to see this as I use the Fluid Acrylics for my marbling. After marbling primarily on paper, and just adding a little water to my paints, I had decided to try my hand at fabric. I purchased some GAC 900 to mix in, and found that the consistency was perfect, and I don’t even use much water anymore, if at all. I still use the GAC 900 with my paints even when marbling on paper because it works so well, and then if I decide to do some fabric, it’s already mixed in. I tried the wetting agent once early on, but found that it made everything spread way too much, and my colors came out very washed out, they didn’t have the punch I really wanted (but this was early on, and perhaps warrants another try). At any rate, I thought I’d share my experience with the GAC 900. Wish I could upload some photos of my work to the comment, and unfortunately I don’t have a website…

    Reply
    • Thank you for sharing, Heather. I agree.

      The use of GAC 900 is a great option without needing to also add water. – Mike Townsend

      Reply
  3. Thanks for your article

    When do you run your test trials for paint spreading and getting circles even?
    Obviously, after preparing size, but this sounds intense and can take time w patience needed

    So, maybe the day you plan to marble or day before

    Thanks Cynthia

    Reply
    • Hello Cynthia.

      You are most welcome! You can balance the colors earlier on, although the freshly mixed paints will be ready to use once you balance them. Just be sure to stir them well before use!

      – Mike

      Reply
  4. Hi Michael,
    I would like to use some of the Historic Hue Heavy Body acrylics in my marbling. What would be the ratio to dilute them to use them on the vat. Water? GAC900? I’ve not had a lot of success in diluting heavy bodies as I usually use Fluid and High Flow.

    Thanks,
    MJ

    Reply
    • Hi Marijane.
      The higher amounts of water needed to properly dilute the Heavy Body Acrylics can make them more washy and less stable than a thinner paint line that doesn’t require as much. If the paint is thin enough to spread on the surface, but not resulting in the right smoothness of color, try adding some acrylic medium like GAC 500 or High Flow Medium.
      – Mike

      Reply
  5. Hi Michael,

    In the article titled “Selecting the Best Exterior Mural Pigments” from February 2014, you forgot to include an image of the unexposed/exposed lightfastness swatches of Bismuth Vanadate Yellow under the section titled “Ain’t Nobody’s Bismuth”. Could you please go back and upload it to the article?

    Thank you!

    Reply
    • Hello.

      We will review your request to add an image of Bismuth into this article.

      Thank you for reading this article and for your suggestion! Both are very appreciated.

      – Mike Townsend

      Reply
  6. I’ve watched dozens of videos and read several books and have wasted 4 large batches of carageenan watching my paints sink. None have explained how to do this as well as you have. I never thought to test like this. I was becoming disheartened but am ready to try again. Thanks so much.

    Reply
    • Thank you, Lynne!
      Marbling is simple to do but complex to truly control. There’s nothing worse than watching the paint drop sit there, then submerge into the bath. In Second place is the color that is the tank bully, pushing the other colors out of its way, and compressing them into tight bands that streak and ruin prints.
      I wish you luck!
      – Mike Townsend

      Reply

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