Make your own tie-dye designs using shaving cream and acrylic paint.
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Tie-dye is back! If you love the look of bright swirled colors, but don't love the mess and hassle of creating it, try marble dyeing instead. Traditional tie-dye methods can be messy with all the bottles of liquid dye, but this marble dyeing technique will keep all the colors contained-which means no stray drips! 

Plus, it's so easy, you don't need any crafting experience to master it. All you need is shaving cream (yes, really!), fabric paint, and something to dye. We created a pretty marble dyed pillow cover, but you can dye anything that fits on your work surface. 

We'll show you how to mix your favorite paint colors with a textile medium so the dye stays put on the fabric. Then, use our easy marbling technique to create a marbled look and press your fabric into the shaving cream. It's that easy!

marble dyed pillow
Credit: Dera Burreson

How to Marble Dye Fabric

Supplies Needed

  • Pillowcase 
  • Cardboard 
  • Textile medium 
  • Acrylic paint 
  • Shaving cream 
  • Spatula 
  • Skewer
  • Iron

Step-by-Step Directions

Follow these easy instructions to create your own marble dyed patterns. You should be able to dye any fabric item in under an hour.

Step 1: Prep Fabric

While you can use this technique on any plain fabric, it's easiest to use items smaller than your work surface, as you'll need to spread shaving cream over the whole area (which can be messy!). To create a pretty accent pillow, start with a plain white pillow cover ($10, H&M). Wash and dry the fabric before you begin, then place a piece of cardboard inside the pillowcase to prevent the dye from bleeding through.

Step 2: Marble Shaving Cream

Mix a few drops of textile medium ($14, Michaels) with acrylic paint in several coordinating colors; you'll need 3-5 different colors for a bold, colorful look. Once you've prepared the paint mixtures, cover your work surface with plain shaving cream ($2, Target). To protect your work surface, we recommend laying down kraft paper, waxed paper, or newspaper before you apply the shaving cream. 

Use a spatula to smooth out the shaving cream to be just larger than your pillowcase, making the surface as smooth as possible. Then, squirt a good amount of each color paint mixture onto the shaving cream in random patterns. Use a skewer or toothpick to swirl the paint colors around the surface, giving the shaving cream a marbled look.

Step 3: Press Fabric Into Shaving Cream

When your marbled shaving cream design is ready, carefully place the fabric face-down onto the shaving cream. Smooth the pillowcase evenly using light pressure, then carefully pick it up and lay it shaving cream side up on a clean section of your work surface. Scrape away excess shaving cream using firm pressure and a squeegee. Let the fabric dry completely before rinsing.

Step 4: Wash, Dry, and Set 

Once you've washed the pillowcase (we recommend hand-washing to avoid getting paint on anything else), let it dry completely. Then, use a regular iron ($20, Target) set to low heat (and no steam) to set the paint into the fabric. When you've gone over the whole pillowcase, it's ready to use and display!


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