Sunday, September 25, 2016

Paper Marbling - Shaving Cream Method

Today I did a "Bucket List" craft. My daughters had the opportunity to do some paper marbling at their preschool over 25 years ago. Ever since then, it's been in the back of my mind to try it myself. I got around to it today!

There are lots of ways to marble paper. After a bit of research, I decided to use the shaving cream method because it seemed simple and used food coloring instead of ink or paint. I'll likely try other methods somewhere down the road. This method using a thin liquid paint in a spray bottle is particularly intriguing because of the affects you can get due to the way the color is applied to the foam.

Here's what I did today.

I bought a can of shaving cream at the Dollar Tree. They had several varieties available, so I chose one that didn't appear to have a weird aroma.

I sprayed a good amount on a baking sheet

then flattened it out with a plastic dough scraper.

Next I added some color. I used what I had on hand and found that the little squeeze bottles of food coloring worked much better in this application than the bigger bottle where I needed to pour the color. I could more easily control the amount of food color I squeezed onto the foam.

I tried several methods of incorporating the food coloring into the foam. Each gives a different effect. I'm not sure I have a favorite method yet. Here, I used a hair pick.

Next, I laid a piece of paper down onto the foam, and pressed down on it to remove air bubbles.

I placed the foamy paper on a second baking sheet, messy side up. Then I took a squeegie and wiped the extra foam off the paper using one smooth motion. Voila! The paper is printed. I set it aside to dry on a table covered with a water-resistant cloth.

One of the tutorials I watched said you can place a clean sheet on top of the foamy paper and get a second imprint from the same bit of foam. I tried that a few times, but wasn't very successful in making a good print.

I tried a variety of papers to see which would take the color well. Those that worked best for me were watercolor paper, paper from a sketch pad, and old file folders. Newsprint, printer paper, and kids' coloring sheets didn't work well at all because they were just too thin.

At one point I tried an experiment that only partially worked. I sprayed some foam into a separate container, then added blue and red food coloring, trying to get a pretty purple. I added that purple to the previous cooking sheet full of foam and folded it in. After that, even though I added more white foam on top, all the rest of the prints had a strange purplish tone.

Another experiment was to add a bit of gold or silver acrylic paint onto the foam to see if I could get a bit of a metallic look. That was partially successful.

Were I to try this technique again, I'd periodically remove all the shaving cream from the baking sheet and start over with a clean slate of white foam and fresh food coloring.

Here are examples of my finished marbled paper.

 And some more. This was a heck of a lot of fun for a buck!

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