Coffee Talk Monday…DIY Marbled Place Mats!

June 17, 2013

VIA Ruffled

DIY Marbled Place Mats

I couldn’t help but fall in love with this DIY Marbled Place Mats!! What a fun way to add color and a pattern to your special day!


  • fabric (we cut a canvas drop cloth into 12‘x18” pieces)
  • alum (found at grocery stores in the spice section)
  • 2 plastic tubs or containers large enough for your fabric pieces to lay flat
  • shaving cream
  • hand spatula, ruler or any rigid material with a straight edge that is easy to glide across and
  • smooth the shaving cream surface
  • acrylic paint in multiple colors
  • glass jars or paper cups for mixing paint and water
  • straws
  • water
  • thin wooden dowel (you could also use a pencil or end of a paint brush)

Directions for pretreating fabric: (Treating your fabric with alum is not required, but helps the paint adhere to the fabric.
Do this step the night before you plan to marble your fabric. It needs a number of hours to dry. Use rubber gloves when handling alum.

  1. Fill a rubber tub with hot but not boiling water.
  2. Add 3 tablespoons of alum for every quart of water.
  3. Mix alum to dissolve.
  4. Place fabric in tub and soak for around 15 minutes. Remove; hang flat to dry.

Directions for marbling fabric:

1.Fill one tub with 1-2 gallons of cold water; set aside.

2. Pour acrylic paints into glass jars or paper cups. Water down slightly and mix until you
have the consistency of heavy cream. Place a straw into each of the paint vessels.

3. Fill the second tub with a thin layer of shaving cream.

4. Smooth the shaving cream with your hand spatula to create an even surface.

5. Take a jar of paint. Covering the top of the straw with your index finger, grab straw and lift
out of vessel to see the paint collected into the straw. Wave your hand about 4” over the shaving cream and release your index finger. Paint will drop out of straw and onto shaving cream surface. The goal is for the paint to sit on the surface of the shaving cream. Don’t release paint too high above surface or the paint will sink too far into the shaving cream.

6. Quickly repeat with this and the rest of your paints until you have an abstract design. Set paint jars aside.

7. Hold your dowel and place one end into the shaving cream at the top let corner. Glide dowel down and up, creating vertical lines, all the way across to the right. Repeat horizontally.

8. Lay a piece of fabric smoothly onto the shaving cream, patting down gently to remove any bubbles and ensure that every inch of fabric is making contact with the paint on top of the shaving cream surface.

9. Let the fabric sit for a few moments until you see the paint seeping through to the visible side of fabric.

10. Grab bottom two corners of fabric and slowly peel it away from the shaving cream. You’ll see that the paint has transferred onto the fabric.

11. Place your fabric into the clean container with cold water. Still holding the corners, gently agitate the fabric for a few moments to remove the shaving cream and excess paint.

**Note: this is a 2-day job as you’ll need to treat fabric the day before you marble it.