DIY Marbled Paper with Shaving Cream and Watercolors

DIY Marbled Paper the Easy Way

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Our favorite DIY marbled paper technique for all ages is shaving cream marbling. In this post I show how to marble paper with shaving cream and watercolor paint (and include a video showing it in action). This is one of our all-time favorite art activities for all ages!

DIY Marbled Paper with Shaving Cream and Watercolors

The best, easiest, and cheapest DIY marbled paper is done with shaving cream marbling.

Hands down.

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This marbling technique is one of our all-time favorite art activities. Like raised salt painting and splatter painting—the other faves I mentioned the other day—it’s one that that the kids never tire of and that we’ve returned to again and again over the years.

Today, I’ll share the step-by-step instructions for doing the shaving cream marbling, then tomorrow or the next day, I’ll share how we used the beautiful marbled paper to make our own valentine cards, notebooks, and garlands.

First, here’s video I made showing the shaving cream marbling in progress.

DIY Marbled Paper the Easy Way

(And here are the step-by-step instructions and photos…)

Materials for Making DIY Marbled Paper

This post contains affiliate links.MATERIALS

  • Shaving FOAM*
  • Shallow baking dish, such as a pie plate
  • Liquid watercolor paint (or watered-down food coloring)
  • Droppers
  • Stir stick, such as a chopstick or the bottom of a paint brush
  • Card stock (or poster board cut into smaller pieces)**
  • A scraper, such as a square piece of cardboard

 *I say “shaving cream” marbling, but you’ll want to buy shaving FOAM, not cream. I like to use a low-smell, sensitive skin variety such as those made by Gillette or Barbasol. 

**While you’d think watercolor paper would be best for this since it involves watercolor paint, you’ll actually get better results with a very smooth surface rather than the toothed surface that watercolor papers have. Use card stock if you have it or buy a sheet of white poster board and cut it down into small pieces as I did.

DIY Marbled Paper Step-by-Step Instructions

DIY Marbled Paper with Shaving Cream and Watercolor Paint

First, spray a layer of shaving cream to cover the bottom of your baking dish.

Then, use a dropper to add drops of liquid watercolor paint on top of the shaving cream.

Note :: If you don’t have liquid watercolors, you can use watered-down food coloring. You can even do this project with other paints, such as tempera or liquid/craft acrylics, although the results will look a bit different.

DIY Marbled Paper with Shaving Cream - Add Watercolor Paint

Add more colors…

DIY Marbled Paper with Shaving Cream - Swirl the Paint

Next, use a stick (a chopstick, the end of a paint brush, or even the dropper) to swirl the paint around for a marbled effect.

DIY Marbled Paper - Press Card Stock Over Shaving Cream and Paint

Press a piece of card stock into the paint covered shaving cream.

DIY Marbled Paper with Shaving Cream - Lift the Paper

Lift up the card stock…

DIY Marbled Paper - Scrape Off Shaving Cream

…then use a piece of cardboard to scrape off the shaving cream.

DIY Marbled Paper with Shaving Cream and Liquid Watercolor Paint

This reveals your beautiful new marbled paper!

Scrape off Shaving Cream

Note :: We like to keep a bowl in the center of the table while we’re working. The shaving cream we scrape off of the newly marbled paper, gets re-scraped into the bowl. And later, when we’re finished with the activity, we use a rubber spatula to scrape the paint-y shaving cream into the trash before washing out the bowls and dishes.

DIY Marbled Paper - Adding More Paint

You’ll get a couple of good marbled papers from the paint, then want to add more drops of liquid watercolor…

DIY Marbled Paper - Swirl the Paint Again

…and swirl it around…

DIY Marbled Paper - More Marbled Paper

…to make another couple of marbled papers.

DIY Marbled Paper Drying on Shoe Rack

Let them all dry. (Yes, this is a shoe rack. It works great for drying art!)

DIY Marbled Paper Hearts

We’ve been punching out 2 inch paper hearts from our marbled paper with a heart punch like this one.

You can see all the different things we’ve been making with our new DIY marbled paper in this post of 10 Valentine Craft Ideas to Make from Kids Process Art. (These ideas work well for repurposing any process-oriented art into crafts, decorations, and gifts.)

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The best, easiest, and cheapest DIY marbled paper is done with shaving cream marbling (with video showing it in action). This is one of our all-time favorite art activities for all ages!

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41 Comments

  • Reply
    Sarah
    January 27, 2017 at 1:50 pm

    Love this!!! Then again, I haven’t seen an art post on your site that I didn’t just LOVE! I have a question: What is the container you’re using that holds the 6 liquid watercolors at once? Would love to find something like that for our liquid watercolors.

  • Reply
    Ruth Elliott-Hilsdon
    January 28, 2017 at 4:34 pm

    THANK YOU, JEAN! Just what kids need -this combine their desire for creative exploration, discovery and their
    love of MESSES! LOL!

  • Reply
    Vicki
    January 31, 2017 at 2:15 pm

    Thanks! Beautiful photos of the working process and the finished product!

  • Reply
    Shelly
    February 5, 2017 at 5:30 pm

    Greetings,
    Do you use a baking dish because of the weight? Our would a pie tin work just as well? Thanks! We are excited to try this out!

    Cheers!
    Shelly

  • Reply
    Ginger Teacher
    February 15, 2017 at 12:17 pm

    This is fantastic! I can’t wait to do this with my kids!

    I never thought of using shaving cream before what a great idea :)

  • Reply
    Diane Kizler
    February 28, 2017 at 11:09 am

    Please add me to your mailing lists. Thank you.

  • Reply
    Barbara Keyes
    March 4, 2017 at 4:03 am

    Our art guild did this as a community service project at our Senior Center . We then pasted the strips to decorative paper and laminated it, added a ribbon and voila- a bookmark! So much fun.

  • Reply
    Dev
    March 11, 2017 at 1:20 pm

    Love this project, but I live overseas and haven’t found liquid watercolors available. Can you guide me as far as watering down the food coloring? Thanks for sharing your creativity. I’m always inspired by your posts.

    • Reply
      Jean Van't Hul
      March 14, 2017 at 5:56 am

      Hi Dev. I just wing it when I water down food coloring. Perhaps mix a bit of water into the food coloring in a small dish and then paint with it on paper to test the color intensity. Then add more water if you like. Good luck!

      And thank you for your kind words!

  • Reply
    Chantal Bush
    May 9, 2017 at 12:10 am

    Hi, just wondering if you have tried this on any other surfaces than paper and if it had the same effect?

    Thanks,
    Chantal

    • Reply
      Jean Van't Hul
      May 10, 2017 at 9:35 am

      Hi Chantal – We’ve done marbling on wood and paper and I think that’s about it. I know that you can marble on other surfaces but you’ll want to use paints/inks/dyes that are appropriate for whatever surface you’re doing it on. For example, the liquid watercolors we use work great on wood and paper, but wouldn’t stick to ceramic, glass, or fabric.

  • Reply
    CG
    May 9, 2017 at 8:45 pm

    This is such a great activity! I’m an OT in an elementary school, and I was talking with my colleagues last week, saying how I would love for my students to make marbled paper for a Mother’s Day craft, but couldn’t as it requires oil based paint. Then I spotted your page when searching for ideas. It was a hit with all of the kids! Thank you!

  • Reply
    Connie
    July 2, 2017 at 11:06 am

    Would it work for canvas boards?

  • Reply
    Idk what to put here
    July 7, 2017 at 12:07 am

    Could I use a canvas or normal paper with this? Sorry my name is weird XD I’m just goofing around but the question is real :)

  • Reply
    GardenofEP
    July 20, 2017 at 11:45 am

    We had fun making this today. Thank you for sharing wonderful ideas!

    • Reply
      Jean Van't Hul
      July 21, 2017 at 1:28 pm

      You’re welcome! I’m so glad you had fun with the marbled paper!

  • Reply
    Brenda
    August 12, 2017 at 11:09 pm

    Hi~ I would like to sign up for your mailing list. [email protected]
    Thanks,
    Brenda

  • Reply
    Maya Brookens
    September 3, 2017 at 3:06 pm

    Love it! Do you have any advice for how this could be done on plastic…my daughter is decorating her soccer bucket?

    • Reply
      Jean Van't Hul
      September 4, 2017 at 7:13 pm

      Hmm… You’d probably have to use a permanent paint such as acrylic paint. Or look up nail polish marbling… Good luck!

  • Reply
    Peyton
    October 13, 2017 at 7:50 pm

    did you just one bottle of the shave foam for all of the stuff you made on the drying rack? I’m trying to make 1-2 each of the small squares for a group of 12-14

    • Reply
      Jean Van't Hul
      October 16, 2017 at 5:02 am

      I tend to have a bottle of shaving foam available for every 1-2 kids working, Peyton (and then if we have extra, we just save it for the next project). But, if you’re only making 1-2 small squares of marbled paper each, then you might be good with 2-3 bottles. Have fun!

  • Reply
    Sarka
    November 28, 2017 at 9:28 am

    Hello from Belgium ;)
    I love your ideas!
    One question here – how did you sew the coloured paper to the white one when making the card? At least it looks sewed to me, not glued??
    Thanks again for this web, very inspiring!!
    Sarka

  • Reply
    Casey
    December 16, 2017 at 7:37 am

    thanks for sharing

  • Reply
    beverly
    February 4, 2018 at 4:14 pm

    what keeps the shaving cream from drying out…evaporating? can it be sprayed with something to keep it from rubbing off… Have not tried any shaving cream crap yet.

    • Reply
      Jean Van't Hul
      February 12, 2018 at 4:28 am

      The shaving cream is just a medium or support for the paint, Beverly. Once you make the marbled print, you scrape off any extra shaving cream anyway. So it’s not an issue. Give it a try! It’s fun. :)

  • Reply
    Bitsy
    March 27, 2018 at 12:26 pm

    Have you ever tried this with fabric? I’m trying to come up with ideas for my high school class…

    • Reply
      Jean Van't Hul
      March 28, 2018 at 5:06 am

      I haven’t, Bitsy, but if you do, let me know how it goes! The watercolor paint will wash out, so if you’re doing it on a fabric that would be washed, you’d probably want to use a fabric paint or permanent dye. Good luck!

  • Reply
    Linda
    May 23, 2018 at 7:59 pm

    I have done quite a bit of traditional marbling, some with kindergarten students. So much easier than making carrageenan bath and pre treating paper. Your process makes it accessible to all. Thanks for that. Bitsy, use acrylic paints for fabric. You can water them down to use.

  • Reply
    Sandra
    July 19, 2018 at 11:08 am

    I go to camp with about 30 or more youth ages from 7 to 14 every year in August and l am in charge of thee arts and crafts. I think they are going to love this shaving cream art and l plain to the salt art as well. 🤗 Thank you so much for being creative

  • Reply
    Farida
    July 29, 2018 at 6:08 pm

    How long does it take to dry? Thanks for a great tutorial, awesome art.

  • Reply
    Dawn Donovan
    August 6, 2018 at 7:52 am

    This is not just for kids. I teach crafts at our local Senior Center and can’t wait to try some of your ideas. As a retired preschool teacher I worry about small ones getting shaving cream in their eyes/mouth and would use Cool Whip. Please add me to your mailing list.

    THX, Dawn

  • Reply
    Claire
    October 14, 2018 at 7:08 pm

    I am the coordinator of a day respite program for people with Alzheimer’s and I am always looking for inexpensive, simple art projects. I think this would be a great craft for my “guests”. Thank you!

  • Reply
    Cecelia
    October 21, 2018 at 4:06 pm

    Question: Right below the words “Pin It for Later” is a picture of a book you made using this process. How do I find out how to make the book? Thanks.

  • Reply
    Laura
    January 3, 2019 at 6:43 pm

    Just wondering how long it takes to dry? I’m thinking it would be a great library after school program. Trying to think of what else to do with them after they dry that afternoon.

  • Reply
    MissLippy
    January 28, 2019 at 12:20 pm

    Where did you get the wooden rack for drying the art? I have always wanted something like that for my classroom art studio.

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