Paper Marbling with Shaving Cream

Great results from paper marbling using shaving cream.

Shaving cream as an art medium was something I’d never thought of, but when art instigator Rosaland Hannibal came over today, she demonstrated the excellent results.


  • Shaving cream, not gel. For your nose’s sake, try to find an unscented  brand.
  • Stack of newspapers
  • Inks, acrylic paint, or watercolor paint–in liquid form.
  • A squeegee or 12-inch ruler
  • A plastic fork, several skewers, or a hair pick (see illustration)
  • A small, flat pan or a large piece of wax paper.

    Hair pick

  • Light card stock or drawing paper, even water color paper, about
  • Paper towels and a bag for trash

1. Gather all materials.

Rosaland has the knack for getting a lot of color out of the method.

Spray the shaving cream on the shallow pan or piece of waxed paper. Spray in a rectangle slightly larger than your card stock. Fill in the rectangle, so you have a solid space of shaving cream. Even the top with a ruler so it is the same height all over.

2. Drip on color. You need drops, not a splash. You can use as many colors as you want. I tried using one color family–greens/blues–three colors and one contrast–yellow.

3. Drag the colors around.  Use the hair pick, or skewer. You don’t want to stir, you want to drag the color across the surface in interesting patterns. Use the hair pick to create strips in one direction, then drag the pick the other direction for a traditional marbling pattern.

Blues, greens, and a bit of yellow. This is a second print, so it's a softer pattern.

4. Place the paper, face down, on the prepared shaving cream. Pat down the paper so the entire surface comes in touch with the ink or paint.

5. Lift the paper up, starting at one corner. Lift up the card or paper in one smooth motion. Place it shaving cream side up  on the newspapers.

6. Squeegee off the ink or paint. Use a smooth, firm, steady motion from one end of the paper to the other. The squeegee will drag the paint, so keep the motion in the same direction as you placed the paper for best effects.

7. Take the foam from the squeegee and return it to the foam layer. It will add background to the next layer. The ink doesn’t get muddy. You can make another impression or add more ink. The second print may have a softer look, which is still attractive.

The color runs across the image, but I squeegeed it up and down. You can see the result.

8. Let the paper dry. Iron it between sheets of parchment to set the colors. You can rinse the paper to remove the smell of the shaving cream.

Another paper by Roz. Love this color combination.

Quinn McDonald appreciates the art instigators in her life.