January 28, 2011

Marbleized Paper

It seems like so many of the best projects are also the messiest!  This one is definitely fun and messy, but yields some really cool results.

Here's what you need:

* shaving cream
* food coloring or acrylic paint
* white cardstock paper
* toothpicks
* shallow tray
* ruler or something smooth for scraping
* aluminum foil or waxed paper
* old washcloth, rags or paper towels

Here's what to do:

1. Squirt some shaving cream onto the tray.  Allow your child to smooth it out.

2. Put a few drops of food coloring or acrylic paint onto the shaving cream.  You don't need a lot, maybe 4-5 drops at most.  Drag a toothpick or plastic knife through to swirl the color.

3.  Place the cardstock down onto the colorfully swirled shaving cream.  Gently press down so all parts of the paper is "dipped" in the shaving cream.

4.  Carefully lift up the paper and put on the piece of foil or waxed paper.  Using the edge of the ruler, carefully scrape off the shaving cream to reveal your marbleized design.  You can reuse the shaving cream a few times before the colors get too muddied and you'll want to make a fresh batch.

5.  I kept a big bowl of water and some old washcloths on the table to wipe off hands and the ruler in between uses.  You might want to use smocks for this activity, because the food coloring WILL stain, but it really was fun and worth the mess.  I think it might be cool to use the marbleized paper to make notecards, since the kids wanted to make several sets of their fancy new paper.


  1. looks great! would you be able to do the same thing on canvas?

  2. this gave me an idea to do this tom on our toddlers room :) surely they will love this :)

  3. I want to try this on a t-shirt. Wonder if we can put a design in the color before the t-shirt.

  4. We just did this today and it was great. I will just reiterate the messiness warning. We used an entire roll of paper towels. Also, I had planned to do it with my two kids (ages 2 and 4) but my son fell asleep. That turned out to be a good thing because I think it would have quickly spun out of control if I had had to navigate two little ones through the task. I will do it separately with my son one morning when my daughter's at school.

  5. Could you just put the shaving cream right on to the paper?
    Would that work.

    1. Hmm, I've never tried it and it could possibly work. However, I'm not sure that the paint or food coloring would make it through the shaving cream onto the paper in the same swirly way as it does when you press the paper right onto it.

  6. We did a similar project in my high school crafts class. We painted with water colors on shaving cream, and then swirled it with toothpicks. We used the papers from this to make accordion-style books by covering mat board with it and putting paper folded in special ways in between. It was awesome. I have about fifty.

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