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 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.