Carrageen (Blender type): make 24 hours before it is going to be used.
Use 2 tsp per 4 cups of warm water, slowly add to the water through top hole in blender lid. Blend until it's fully dissolved, make as many batches as you need to fill your tray or frame.
Refrigerate for 24 hours to obtain the best viscosity and to allow trapped air bubbles to rise to the surface.
Before use it needs to be warmed to room temperature.
Methocel: can be made 30 min before use
Use 4 tblsp of Methocel and 1 tblsp of ammonia per gallon of warm water
In a bucket, add ammonia to the water and then slowly add Methocel, stirring constantly with a whisk or large spoon.
Pro-tip: Don’t use the blender or it will foam up and have to sit over night, ask us how we know!
Stir until the Methocel is dissolved and appears clear, let sit for 30 min for bubbles to rise.
How thick the "size" needs to be will vary with the brand of paint being used and the effects you like best.
Pro-Tip: We found doubling the Methocel recipe above kept most paints from sinking and gave us neat spreading patterns with the thinner paints.
Fill your pan or frame with the size, and just before adding the paints, skim off any film that has formed on the surface of the "size" by dragging a strip of newspaper from one end to the other.
Hard water:If the water in your area is "hard" (contains lots of minerals) you will need to add some of our Water Softener. Hard water will interfere with the process.
Reusing the size
The size can be used over and over again. It can be kept for 3 to 4 days at room temperature before it begins to mold and must be discarded. To keep it longer, refrigerate. (Mark and tape the container clearly so it is not eaten.) Warm it to room temperature before using. If the "size" has been sitting awhile, clear the surface of tension and dust with strips of newspaper before using.
Preparing the fabric
Pre-wash the fabric with Synthrapol or regular fabric detergent and dry. This will wash out anything that is likely to prevent the paint from sticking.
Dissolve 3 TBS of Alum per quart of hot water. Cool to room temperature. Dip the fabric into the alum solution or if necessary, such as for paper, sponge it on very thoroughly. Lay it out flat to air dry, stretched if possible to avoid wrinkles. The fabric must be treated and must be dry before it is marbled. It is best to use the treated pieces within 24 hours. If you can't, then wash out the alum and try again another time. Careful! Too much Alum or too long of exposure weakens the fabric! Weakened fabric can shred when pulled on or even during sewing and washing, and sometimes doesn't become obvious until it has been washed more than once.
Caution - Ironing the fabric to remove wrinkles once the fabric has been treated is not recommended, as alum plus heat can weaken the fabric too. Small wrinkles will not effect the print.
Now Let's Get Started! Floating the paints
You may need to thin some paints before they will float. Use a few drops of Dispersant and a little water to thin them to the consistency of whole milk in a paper cup or one of the Color Mixing Cups.