Kids Arts and Crafts Activities Painting Watercolors

Shaving Cream Marbling with Kids – Instructions & Tips for Success


Shaving Cream Marbling - swirl paints on shaving cream

We LOVE shaving cream marbling. Love it. We love any marbling, really, but shaving cream marbling is especially fun (it involves shaving cream, after all) and beautiful liquid watercolors (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 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.

Here’s a video showing Shaving Cream Marbled Paper in action! And don’t forget to scroll down for step-by-step instructions.

Shaving Cream Marbling with Liquid Watercolors

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

Shaving Cream Marbling - Materials
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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

Step #1. Spray shaving cream

Spray 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

Step #2. Drop paint on shaving cream

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

Shaving Cream Marbling - swirling the paint

Step #3. Swirl the colors

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

Shaving Cream Marbling - pressing paper

Step #4. Press paper on shaving cream

Lay a piece of paper on the surface of the painted shaving cream.

Shaving Cream Marbling - lifting paper

Step #5. Lift paper

Gently lift the paper off of the shaving cream.

Shaving Cream Marbling - scraping off shaving cream

Step #6. Scrape shaving cream

Scrape off the shaving cream with a craft stick or a piece of cardboard.

Shaving Cream Marbling - marbled paper

Step #7. Dry

Set paper 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. 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 cream 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.

*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. 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 also work well.
  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. Or use a rubber spatula and scrape it all into the trash first, then rinse off.

  Shaving Cream Marbled Paper

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

Ideas for Using Marbled Paper

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

Pin It For Later 

Shaving Cream Marbling with Kids – Instructions & Tips for Success


  • Reply
    Almost Unschoolers
    June 30, 2014 at 8:36 am

    The swirling colors are beautiful – and your tips are great! Thanks.

  • Reply
    June 30, 2014 at 2:27 pm

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

  • Reply
    July 1, 2014 at 1:19 pm

    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!

  • Reply
    Carla Enrici
    July 2, 2014 at 3:08 am

    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

  • Reply
    July 6, 2014 at 10:41 am

    Lovely effects! Will be trying out! Especially like the tips on how to use the pretty artworks thereafter!

  • Reply
    July 23, 2014 at 4:27 pm

    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….:)

  • Reply
    September 2, 2014 at 2:44 pm

    Thank you for this, we had lots fun at our group today, here are a few of the kids results… :)

  • Reply
    September 6, 2014 at 12:15 pm

    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!

  • Reply
    Paul Thomson
    October 12, 2014 at 5:55 am

    Great tutorial Jean, Thanks for taking the time to write it – I’m sure many will benefit from your shared knowledge! FYI, I used it as a reference on a recent paper marbling tutorial I did myself a week or two ago, I hope you don’t mind…?

    Keep up the good work and again, many thanks!
    ~ Paul

  • Reply
    Sarah lavigne
    December 28, 2014 at 3:55 pm

    So many great prompts and projects! Thanks from vt!

  • Reply
    February 17, 2015 at 9:44 am

    I’m fascinated with this technique and am going to try it over our next vacation. I think the shaving cream idea will be the perfect “lure” for our two boys. Great post.

  • Reply
    riki vreekamp
    March 1, 2015 at 5:12 pm

    Loved this. Have used it in a group of (elderly) mentally handicapped people. With the beautiful papers we have made flowers. Cut out shapes, used a q-tip through the center and inserted it into a bendable straw. Such a fantastic result. Would like to show pictures but don’t know how to add to this post.

  • Reply
    March 4, 2015 at 12:50 pm

    will this work on canvas as opposed to paper ?

    • Reply
      Jean Van't Hul
      March 5, 2015 at 5:41 am

      It should, Tammie! I haven’t tried this marbling technique on canvas but we’ve used liquid watercolors on canvas and they work well.

  • Reply
    March 7, 2015 at 6:20 am

    I’ve done it, but I didn’t srap the shaving cream off because when I did it the paint didn’t look nice, now is dry and it looks great, but is falling off!!! what can I do???

  • Reply
    March 26, 2015 at 5:23 pm

    Love this! I’m a Speech and Language Therapist and work with children with Autism. I’m always excited to find new things to do with shaving foam/paint/food colouring and almost any other material that is engaging! I will try this is an attention focusing activity and let you know how it goes :-) thanks

  • Reply
    April 14, 2015 at 11:48 am

    Can you use paint instead of Liquid Watercolor Paint*

  • Reply
    June 22, 2015 at 11:25 am

    Hey, I just tried this project. Ur why is it that my marbled effect tends to get smudged when I run through the squeege to clear of the foam?

  • Reply
    January 22, 2018 at 3:07 pm

    This looks amazing! Thank you!

  • Reply
    February 20, 2018 at 8:46 pm

    I have done this using computer photo paper, which takes the color very well and doesnt smear. ????

    • Reply
      Jean Van't Hul
      March 4, 2018 at 5:20 am

      Great idea, Kim! I’ll have to give that a try!

  • Reply
    June 14, 2018 at 10:05 pm

    Typically what kind of paper do you use? Is it heavier than printer paper?

  • Reply
    December 14, 2018 at 2:53 am

    Going out right now to get some shaving cream! Cant wait to try it with my granddaughter!

    • Reply
      Jean Van't Hul
      December 14, 2018 at 6:22 am

      Yay! It’s a fun project! I hope you and your granddaughter enjoy it!

  • Reply
    January 4, 2019 at 5:00 pm

    Has anyone ever tried this with cardboard ? The children at church are supposed to decorate the cover of their cardboard journals.

  • Reply
    July 9, 2019 at 10:34 am

    Gonna try it tomorrow in our classroom love the idea

  • Reply
    Kylie Finley
    February 19, 2020 at 9:04 am

    It also works with food coloring that is what we always use. It is also really cool to do for coloring easter eggs. I buy the plastic dyeable ones at walmart and do the same process except i let it sit for a little bit to get some vibrant colors.

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