DIY- Marbling Paper

I love the concept of DIY- how cool to create something with your own two hands?!- but let's be honest, sometimes the projects seem overwhelming, or to require a certain amount of skill. Or patience. Neither of which come easily for me sometimes! So when I'd see beautiful marbled paper, I was always intrigued with how intricate it was, but assumed it was either really difficult to set up (I envisioned giant oil drums full of fancy paint, huge wooden frames to lay out paper, lots of tools for... I'm not sure?!!) OR took an incredible amount of skill. When, after a little research, I discovered that wasn't true (at all!), I was so excited to try it out. 

I originally created this tutorial for my good friend Rachel's blog, Lines Across, and it was so fun to create. Straightforward, with simple steps, it's really not hard to create some beautiful marbled designs, especially after a couple "warm-up" tries. The only catch- it can get messy... my hands were rainbow-tie-dyed for a day or so after! But as long as you're good with a little mess (half the fun), you'll LOVE marbling. Ready?

Here's what you'll need:

  • 2-3 cans of shaving cream (I only bought one to start, and within 30 minutes, had my husband racing to the store for more)... Also, stick to basic foamy Barbasol-like shaving cream- no fancy gels!
  • A roll of blue painter's tape
  • Food coloring or fluid acrylic paint (either will work, but food coloring is much cheaper!)
  • Thick/heavyweight paper (I used watercolor paper but you can really use anything that's heavy enough to withstand some moisture... regular copy paper will be too weak)
  • 1-2 foil serving pans (large enough to fit your paper size with ease)
  • LOTS of paper towels!
  • A rubber spatula
  • A ruler

NOTE: This project does get pretty messy, so make sure you're not wearing anything you would mind getting a little dye on!

1) To start, prep your paper by taping off the back side with painter's tape. This will keep the edges clean and help when you lift the paper out of the tray. Once you start, it's hard to stop, so make sure you prep enough paper in advance.

2) Now the fun begins! Fill your tray with shaving cream so that it completely covers the bottom of the tray. I used about half a can in the tray to start, and then added as I went along to create new color combos. Once the shaving cream is in, take your coloring and add a few drops... a little goes a long way, so start light and you can add as you go. Also, keep in mind that colors that touch will mix- so if you want to keep a color pure, avoid dropping it onto another one.

3) Once the color is in, take your rubber spatula and start folding the shaving cream. You'll see the colors start to swirl and mix... it looks so cool! Avoid over-mixing it, as they will continue to mix as you go, and over-blended colors start to look... less pretty. Ha.

4) Take your paper and place the clean/blank side face-down in the mixture. Make sure you press gently over all of the back to help you get air-pockets out, and then let it sit for about a minute.

5) Then, pick the paper up by the corner and slowly peel up in one direction. This will help keep the marbled pattern intact. Lay it backside-down on paper towels, and with your ruler, scrape the foam off all in one direction (I like to imagine I was "shaving" the shaving cream off!)- you'll be left with a beautiful, colorful marbled design!

Don't worry if your first few tries look a little off. Once you've experimented with a couple sheets of paper, you'll get an idea of your technique... then, have fun! I started adding more and more shaving cream and coloring to create all different kinds of color combos. It really is addicting!

Xx Natasha