Art Ideas: Faux Paper Marbling with Shaving Cream

Shaving cream paper marbling is a technique for faux marbling paper using paint or ink and shaving cream.

Lesson Plan Suggestion: Paper marbling has been an important element of bookbinding since the 1600s with the decorative papers being used to cover the folds, strings, and glue marks of the bindings on the inside covers of fine books. Paper marbling is also an opportunity to demonstrate the scientific principles of density and surface tension. Differences in densities allow a less dense liquid (paint, ink, food coloring) to float on top of a denser, thicker liquid (shaving cream). Surface tension is what keeps the two different liquids from mixing together.

  1. Fill a shallow pan with about an inch of shaving cream. Level the cream with a ruler or paint stick.
  2. Randomly drop two or three colors of liquid acrylic paint, stamp pad ink or food coloring onto the shaving cream.
  3. Use a toothpick, the back end of a paint brush or a similar tool to gently distribute the color into a swirl or marble pattern.
  4. Lay a piece of white or light colored card stock on the surface and gently push into the shaving cream.
  5. Carefully remove the card stock by holding one side or a corner.
  6. Use the ruler or paint stick to scrape off the remaining shaving cream or allow the shaving cream to turn powdery before buffing it off the paper with a paper towel. When scraping, using sweeping motions to avoid streaks in your design.
  7. Continue to make more faux marbled sheets using the same pan, skimming off and disposing the muddy colors.
  8. One way to incorporate marbled papers into your My Art Cards greeting card design is to use as background paper to emphasize a focal point.

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