DIY Marbled Paper

make beautiful marbled paper with shaving cream

Have you ever tried marbling paper with shaving cream? We’ve done it in art camp many, many times. Yes, it’s messy. But it’s also magical. The kids usually make and make until all the shaving cream is used up. This last time we went through six cans! I think they look like those beautiful Italian marbled papers. The best part is that they smell so good!!

Tip: If you are doing this process with more than 3 kids, it’s best to get a helper.

make beautiful marbled paper with shaving cream

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Here’s what you’ll need:

~ Shaving cream (cheapest kind you can get, just make sure it’s white and not the gel!)

~ Tray, platter, or baking dish

~ Liquid watercolor, food coloring, or tempera paint (we used watercolor)

~ Eye droppers

~ Small jars, like baby food jars, or small bowls

~ Toothpicks, pencils, sticks, or a fork (something to swirl paint around)

~ Paper (we used sulphite paper, but you can use any white paper)

~ Spatula (I like using a metal one)

make beautiful marbled paper with shaving cream

make beautiful marbled paper with shaving cream

The process:

~ Start by spraying some shaving cream on the tray. Kids love this part!

~ Next, squeeze drops of liquid watercolor all over the shaving cream. I always try and keep the colors in the same color family. Blues/greens, or red/pinks, etc. This way the colors would blend together and make brown!

~ Now use a pencil or a fork and drag the ink across one way and then the other. Avoid having the kid swirl the paint in circles (which is their first instinct) because the marbleizing affect comes from the across motion. Just once one way, and then once the other way.

make beautiful marbled paper with shaving cream

make beautiful marbled paper with shaving cream

~ Now gently lay a piece of paper on top of your swirly color. Press carefully, so you can make sure all sides of the paper are touching the ink, but not so hard that the shaving cream oozes out the sides.

~ Lift off the paper. It will be hard to see the pattern because of the shaving cream. This is where the spatula comes in (and the helper). I find that the best system is to lay the paper down on a cookie sheet, scrape the shaving cream off with the spatula, then dump the excess into a bowl. You definitely need some room to work on the floor, or an extra table.

make beautiful marbled paper with shaving cream

~ After one print is pulled off, the kids can add more ink, swirl again, and print again. When the shaving cream gets really mucky then just spray a new layer on top, and go again!

make beautiful marbled paper with shaving cream

We had marbled paper lining the floor, it was hard to find a place to walk! The kids got better and better at it the more they tried.

This technique of marbling paper with shaving cream is very popular. Everyone makes it their own, though. The Artful Parent uses slighty different tools, In Lieu of Preschool uses tempera paint, Meaningful Mama uses food coloring, and Honestly, WTF makes beautiful stationery with their marbled paper! I think our twist is doing it with a group (8 kids) and working out a good system.

Definitely give this a try! The very best part is at the end, when the kids finally get to stick their hands in the shaving cream and swirl all the color together and squish it between their fingers. A complete sensory experience.

xo, Bar