In Elementary, Preschool, Toddler

This is guaranteed to be the cleanest, best smelling art project you’ll ever do – shaving cream paper marbling!  Print swirly patterns on paper to give as gifts, use as wrapping paper, or on gift tags.  Trim and frame the prints as a single piece of art or arrange them in a series.  It’s a crazy fun mess, and you’ll be squeaky clean after you clean up!

You Need:

  • Shaving cream
  • A large tray or baking sheet to hold the shaving cream
  • Liquid watercolors, food coloring mixed with water, or thinned acrylic paints (acrylics not recommended for children as they stain clothing)
  • Eye droppers or spoons to place the paint on the shaving cream
  • Popsicle sticks, paintbrush handles or similar devices to stir the foam to create swirls
  • Large squeegee or other scraper
  • Watercolor or heavy weight drawing paper, or blank greeting cards, etc. – whatever type of paper you’d like to transfer the design onto

How to Do It:

  • Squirt a “lemon meringue pie” size amount of shaving cream in the center of the tray.
  • Using the eye droppers or spoons, squirt or drop several colors of liquid watercolor or food coloring on the shaving cream.  Don’t squirt the colors right on top of each other – leave a little bit of room in between each one.
  • Gently stir the foam with a stick.  Caution – do not over-stir as it will make brown!  Make pretty swirl patterns or circles with the estick.  The more you stir the smaller the lines in the swirls will be when it is printed on the paper, so we recommend only stirring 3-4 big circles and swirls so that the colors are gently swirled but not too mixed together.  The pattern you see in the shaving cream at this point is what will be printed on the paper.
  • Place a small sheet of watercolor or other heavy weight paper on the shaving cream and let it sit for 5 seconds to soak up the paint, then gently rub the paper with your fingertips, applying very light pressure.  Don’t press too hard and squeeze the shaving cream out from under the paper or squish the foam around underneath.  A little experimentation may be needed to achieve the right amount of pressure.
  • Take a corner of the paper and lift it out of the shaving cream to reveal a pretty rainbow colored glob of shaving cream stuck to the other side of the paper!
  • Lay the paper on a table, shaving cream side up, and using a squeegee or plastic scraper to apply firm pressure, start at one end of the paper and scrape all of the shaving cream off.  Use one fluid movement from one end of the paper to the other – any stops and starts will cause lines on the paper.  Get creative to find the perfect “squeegee” for this part – our favorite device is a plastic wall paper smoother – two work well together because you can use one to scrape off the other.  We’ve also used pasty cutters (with a long flat surface), long spatulas, stiff cardboard, or any handy hunk of solid plastic (like a clipboard!).  You want to apply pressure on a flat surface as you are scraping the foam off the paper to ensure that it is all removed.  Scrape off the shaving cream from the squeegee into a nearby garbage can.
  • Voila!  Revealed under the shaving cream will be a beautiful swirled pattern on the paper!   Let the paper dry thoroughly before trimming.  You can re-use the same pile of shaving cream again but after the second time you need to refresh it so that the prints don’t look “muddy”.

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