Shaving Cream Marbling with Liquid Watercolors

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Shaving Cream Marbling with Liquid WatercolorsWe LOVE shaving cream marbling. Love it. Love any marbling, really, but shaving cream marbling is especially fun (it involves shaving cream, after all) as well as beautiful (the colors are just so vibrant).

We’ve done shaving cream marbling so many times over the years, both on our own and with friends, for no special reason and in order to make handmade gifts. We’ve even done it with a variety of paints.

A couple weeks ago, when Maia was sick and sleeping away most of the day, she even requested a shaving cream marbling session during a brief awake and not-too-feverish period.

When I looked back at my old posts on shaving cream marbling, though, I realized that they were way overdue for an update.

So here you go.

Shaving Cream Marbling with Liquid Watercolors

With better photos, added tips for success, and years of experience under our belt…

Shaving Cream Marbling - Materials

MATERIALS

If you’re wondering about the art trays in the photos, they are wonderful for containing art messes and we use them ALL.THE.TIME. And those little paint cups in a base are great for holding liquid watercolors. You can read more about both in my tools for success post, but neither are necessary for this project.

Shaving Cream Marbling - smoothing the shaving cream

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Spray the shaving cream into your dish (if your kids are anything like mine, they’ll love doing this step on their own) then smooth the surface a bit with a spatula (or spoon, hands, etc).

Shaving Cream Marbling - adding paint

2. Use the dropper to transfer the liquid watercolor paint to the surface of the shaving cream.

Shaving Cream Marbling - swirling the paint

3. Swirl the colors together to create a marbled effect. You can use a craft stick or wood dowel (shown here) or the tip of your dropper (as we usually do).

Shaving Cream Marbling - pressing paper

4. Press a piece of your paper into the surface of the painty shaving cream.

Shaving Cream Marbling - lifting paper

5. Lift the paper…

Shaving Cream Marbling - scraping off shaving cream

…and scrape off the shaving cream with a craft stick (shown here) or a piece of cardboard…

Shaving Cream Marbling - marbled paper

…to reveal your beautiful marbled paper!

Shaving Cream Marbled Paper

Set aside to dry and repeat with more prints.

Shaving Cream Marbling - doing it again

You can make several prints each time you add paint to the shaving cream. And you can add more color to existing colored shaving cream. But when you’re ready for a clean slate, you can either add a new layer of shaving cream to the top (as shown) or scoop the colored shaving out with a spatula and start fresh.

Shaving Cream Marbling with Kids - playing in the shaving cream

If your kids are anything like my kids (heck, like almost any child who has been to our house), this will be the highlight of the shaving cream marbling experience—shaving cream as a sensory experience.

Shaving Cream Marbling with Kids - Lots of Paint

*5 TIPS for SUCCESS

  1. When you buy shaving cream, make sure it’s the foamy stuff. NOT gel. I’ve made that mistake more than once. We’ve had more success with the traditional men’s shaving creams, such as Barbasol and Gillette, plus they can be cheaper. Whenever there is a sensitive skin option, I usually get it.
  2. You can do shaving cream marbling with just about any paints, not just liquid watercolors. We’ve done this with tempera paints, BioColors, food coloring, and acrylics, besides the watercolors. BioColors and liquid watercolors work especially well, though.
  3. Scraping the shaving cream off the paper right away is important. You don’t want to let the shaving cream soak into the paper. It’ll get gunky and stain the paper. For scraping, use something with a wide, straight edge. We’ve used everything from a piece of cardboard to the side of the table. This time we used a large wood craft stick, but I wouldn’t say it was ideal. A ruler would work well. Or the cardboard.
  4. Keep a wet washcloth and/or bowl of water handy for washing shaving cream-covered hands.
  5. To make clean up easier, spray off all the dishes and art trays outside with a hose.

Ideas for Using Marbled Paper

What to do with your beautiful new shaving cream marbled paper?

Have you done shaving cream marbling with your kids yet? If not, it’s a must-try art project!

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Comments

  1. Jennifer says

    Thank you for this post. We tried this once and the kids loved it and have been asking to do it again, this helps!

  2. Nancy says

    I have taught this as an Arts Day activity at my kids school and it’s one of my all time favourite activities. I made marbling combs by gluing toothpicks to a piece of foam core at regular intervals and I instructed the students to use as much pressure as the would to pet a cat. Not one was broken after hundreds of kids and the foam core has now worn out and I will need to make new ones for the next session. As well, to scrape the shaving cream and paint off the paper, I use a piece of a garage sale sign made out of Coreplast (it’s like corrugated cardboard, but made of plastic) that I picked up the dollar store and had cut into a 3″ wide strips. Cut it will the grain or else you will get uneven stripes. It is such a fun project!

  3. Carla Enrici says

    Thanks :) this looks great, just bought marbles to do Activity 43 in your wonderful book & now we can do this aswell.
    Keep up the “good tips”, us mums depend on them x

  4. Maryam says

    Hi.
    I am 23 years old and i want to be a ceative Painting Teacher for a fetr celebration .(it is a last day of ramadon,and muslms celebrate and saing prayers ……)and we will have a big surprise for children who are Irresponsible orDerelict
    and i want to use your Painting Techniques in it.
    THANK you….:)

  5. Elizabeth says

    I just had a quick question… when you scrape off the shaving cream, do you make firm contact between the ruler and the paper almost like a squeegee on a window? Or is it a gentler action? Thanks! Cant wait to try this with our Preschool Picssso class at the Y!

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