Tutorial - Shaving Cream Technique: Marbelized Paper

Special thanks to our very own Paula for this week's tutorial. You can see more of Paula's creations at Handmade by Paula.

The supplies you'll need to try this technique are a can of shaving cream (cheap, unscented is fine), a few bottles of ink (I used my StampinUp refills and would suggest you start by choosing 3 colors that go together but have enough contrast to be somewhat distinct from each other), a box frame or tray about 1" deep (I used an 8x10 lucite box style frame since I opted for small pieces of paper. You may prefer larger sheets as discussed later in this post), paper (I used basic cardstock that I cut down to 4.25" x 5.25"), a popsicle stick, a straw or a fireplace match to make your pattern and a squeegee or some other tool that you can 'scrape' with. I improvised and used the thin acrylic block pictured here since it was handy. A table cover or something (I used the huge baking tray you see pictured) to cover your workspace because this can get a bit messy. You will also want to have access to running water nearby so you can rinse your tools easily.

Step 1: Cover the bottom of your tray with shaving cream. Aim for enough to give you about a 1" thickness.

Step 2: Spread it out making sure that your shaving cream area is larger than the paper size you will use. I smoothed it with my fingers but you could use your squeegee. Either way you will need to rinse it or your fingers when your done.

Step 3: Add drops of ink in a random mixed up pattern.

Step 4: Drag your match or popsicle stick through the inks. If you drag it only in one direction your final pattern will differ as you will see shortly. The first image here shows the pattern made dragging in only one direction and the next one shows the pattern I created when I dragged my match in the opposite direction as well.

Step 5: Lay your paper down taking care to gently press it into the shaving cream as needed to be sure the entire paper is covered.

Step 6: Gently lift the paper off the tray. You can see here there are peaks of shaving cream and color on the paper.

Step 7: Drag your squeegee from one edge of the paper across to the other and the pattern will emerge.

Step 8: Lay your papers out until completely dry.

Here you can see the paper on the left was created in a tray that was 'patterned' in both directions and the one on the right has a distinct one way pattern because I dragged my stick in only one direction before I dipped it.

If you find you've missed a spot, like shown here you can dip the paper back in but take care to only dip that spot. Doing this will result in a less distinct pattern.

Also note that the first paper(s) you dip will have the most distinct patterns. While I used small pieces of paper here for demonstration purposes you may want to consider using larger sheets of paper that you will be able to cut down after it has dried. You can dip several papers in your tray but the more 'mixed up' the pattern gets the muddier, and less distinct your patterns will be. You'll want to experiement a bit with how often you 'rinse and remake' your tray to suit your tastes.

Here are some cards I made with the marbled papers I created. Though I find that a nice bright white stock makes a good base color, it can also be fun to experiment as I did with the "Camo" effect card, which uses a tan cardstock and brown, dark green and light green inks.

Jan Hunnicutt  – (August 30, 2011 at 7:57 AM)  

Love this! The cards made with this technique are gorgeous!

Jeanne J.  – (August 30, 2011 at 8:39 AM)  

Very cool way to make your own patterned paper! I like the mixed up funky patterns - reminds me of tie die. Now all I need to do is find some shaving cream....Hmmmmm...

Sherry Hickey  – (August 30, 2011 at 9:37 AM)  

This looks like so much fun; can't wait to try it. Beautiful cards! Thanks, Paula!

wedding postage  – (August 30, 2011 at 2:20 PM)  

Wow, I am really impressed. I have to admit while I was reading your post and seeing the progression I was thinking "I don't think this is going to turn out so well" but the way you created those cards really turned out great!

Ann  – (August 30, 2011 at 4:02 PM)  

Paula, these are absolutely beautiful!! It is amazing to me how usung shaving cream could turn out so beautiful!!

Kathryn  – (August 30, 2011 at 4:54 PM)  

Great results, Paula. I'll keep this one in the back of my mind for a day I want to get really inky!

Hanni  – (August 30, 2011 at 6:21 PM)  

Wow, wow and more wow, who thought a can of shaving cream can do something like this. Amazing!

sf_crafter –   – (August 30, 2011 at 7:05 PM)  

Thanks for the great tutorial. Your papers came out great and I love the cards you made with them.!

lalw925  – (August 30, 2011 at 7:21 PM)  

this is a great technique - kids would love it!

Margaret  – (August 30, 2011 at 11:22 PM)  

Can't wait to try this. Where are my plastic gloves?

Anonymous  – (August 31, 2011 at 3:04 AM)  

I absolutely love this technique. I can't wait to try it. I am so enjoying being involved in OWH.

Carol  – (August 31, 2011 at 6:51 PM)  

This is just awesome. I love it. I can't wait to go buy some ink and try it. I would love to see some paper done with fall colors and I am excited to work on this.

darling Ho  – (September 1, 2011 at 3:31 AM)  

Terrific!! I just love it!!
~darling Ho

Jennifer  – (September 2, 2011 at 1:44 AM)  

This is great! Loving all the great things I'm learning by becoming addicted to this site. Great job Paula :)

Anonymous –   – (September 2, 2011 at 9:55 AM)  

I work with Ardeth and she makes our company Christmas cards. I am glad you featured her and her fine work.

I commend your entire operation and your purpose. I so appreciate the sacrifices made by those serving to protect our freedom.

Lisa Oliver  – (September 3, 2011 at 5:22 AM)  

Great tute Paula! It's been several years since I have used this tech but I am now ready to revisit it for some fall cards! Thanks for the inspiration...I needed it!

ThePurplePlace  – (January 16, 2012 at 1:24 PM)  

I have never seen anything like this and it looks so cool? I think I'll have to buy some shaving cream to try it. We have the gel type, but I don't think it would work.

Does this ruin the card stock in anyway? I'm stunned that it works so well! :)

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