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Kids Arts and Crafts Activities Printmaking

How to Make DIY Marbled Paper the Easy Way


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!

Marbled shaving cream and paint

Updated January 2021

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

Hands down.

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.

I’m sharing the step-by-step instructions for doing shaving cream marbling, and you can find lots of great ideas for shaving cream art and play here.

First, here’s video I made showing the shaving cream marbling in progress. And scroll down for the step-by-step instructions and photos.

DIY Marbled Paper the Easy Way

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.

Time needed: 1 hour.


  1. Create a layer of shaving cream

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

  2. Add watercolors

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

    Marble painting with shaving cream and watercolors

    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.

    Feel free to add several colors.

    Dish of shaving cream with dropper of watercolors

  3. Swirl the paint

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

    shaving cream and watercolor painting

  4. Press the cardstock onto the cream

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

    DIY marble paper with shaving cream

  5. Remove card from shaving cream

    Lift up the card stock and use a piece of cardboard to scrape off the shaving cream.

    paper with marbled shaving cream

    This reveals your beautiful new marbled paper!

    DIY marble paper

  6. Repeat!

    You’ll get a couple of good marbled papers from the paint, then want to add more drops of liquid watercolor to swirl around and make more papers!

    Marble paper with 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 paper materials

  7. Let dry

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

    Drying rack with marbled paper onit

We’ve been punching out 2 inch paper hearts from our marbled paper with a heart punch like this one. The hearts are perfect for adding to Valentines!

hearts cut out of marbled paper

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.)

More Creative Painting Ideas for Kids

Pin It for Later

DIY Marbled Paper - pinterest
How to Make DIY Marbled Paper the Easy Way


  • Reply
    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
    January 31, 2017 at 2:15 pm

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

  • Reply
    February 5, 2017 at 5:30 pm

    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!


  • 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
    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?


    • 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
    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
    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
    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
    August 12, 2017 at 11:09 pm

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

  • 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
    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
        DOnna Funk
        September 17, 2019 at 7:26 pm

        use left over shaving foam to make fluffy slime!

  • Reply
    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!!

  • Reply
    December 16, 2017 at 7:37 am

    thanks for sharing

  • Reply
    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
    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
    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
    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
    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
    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
    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
    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
    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.

  • Reply
    July 2, 2019 at 8:03 pm

    Hey I love your art it’s very nice but I was wondering if I can just let the shaving cream dry for a more 3D look. Do you think that would work?

    • Reply
      Jean Van't Hul
      July 3, 2019 at 5:13 am

      No, not really, Mariam. I’ve tried that, but the shaving cream dries in a weird way and ends up half disappearing. I’d recommend just scraping it off.

    • Reply
      April 7, 2021 at 4:11 pm

      I have made foam paint before using save gel and glue….. I wonder if that would work?

  • Reply
    July 30, 2019 at 11:09 am

    Looks so fun! Random question…where did you get the paint holder in the first picture that you used to contain all of the various liquid colors? I’m looking for something like that that won’t be easily knocked over as opposed to the individual containers for each paint color!

  • Reply
    September 20, 2019 at 10:42 am

    How long does it generally take for the pages to dry? I want to do a girls craft night and was wondering if the paper could be used that night or needs to sit for several hours.

  • Reply
    Karen Deisinger
    October 20, 2019 at 12:42 pm

    I am going to use this for a public library program. Do I have permission to use your first photograph on our programming calendar?

    • Reply
      Jean Van't Hul
      November 15, 2019 at 5:04 am

      Yes, that’s fine, Karen. Thanks for asking.

  • Reply
    March 23, 2020 at 11:05 pm

    it was fun

  • Reply
    April 14, 2020 at 5:25 pm

    Hello, I was wondering if I am able to use regular paper instead of cardstock?

    • Reply
      Jean Van't Hul
      April 19, 2020 at 6:11 am

      Yes, you can use regular paper. It will buckle a little bit as it’s drying (whereas thicker paper, such as card stock, is less likely to), but you can flatten it again under a book or something.

  • Reply
    October 17, 2020 at 8:41 pm

    How about telling us what to do the adult way? With WATER?! Not everyone has or wants bratty kids

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