marbled paper

today my art teacher friend and her daughter (who is N’s age) invited us over to their house for a paper marbling playdate (and some baby pool action to clean off afterwards, of course.) she had the shaving cream and paints, and we brought paper, smocks, and my trusty camera. the four of us got down to some seriously artsy business…

marbling effect

marbling effect

here’s how we did it: first, we sprayed a cookie sheet (any tray will do) with about an inch deep of shaving cream and the kids had fun smoothing it out with little hands. shaving cream makes for good clean fun!

"this smells like daddy!"

then we chose a few analogous colors (so the project wouldn’t turn brown or gray… which could also be okay if it did) of liquid watercolors and squirted them on. the kids had a lot of fun swirling the paint through the shaving cream with forks.

paint swirling

paint swirling

next, it was time to press some paper onto the tray. any paper will do. we found that drawing paper and fingerpainting paper worked really well. (a brown paper grocery bag produced an interestingly subtle, muted effect, but wasn’t our favorite.)

then, we lifted the paper off of the tray. being the eco-chic moms we are, we scraped the excess shaving cream off of the paper with cut up cereal boxes (any cardboard works) to reveal the stain of the swirled paint.

scraping off the excess

scraping off the excess

we kept adding paint and shaving cream to the same try to produce different color combos and effects. the paintings can become more muted because the colors mix more, but often the later paintings look more interesting.

the tray after much adding & mixing

the tray after much adding & mixing

eventually, we had accumulated a stack of flat marbles… or rather, really pretty marbled paper that can be used as a cool background image for a kid to draw on. it can also be used to make lovely greeting cards or wrapping paper. super fun and a colorful, tactile project for little ones! in art, it’s the process, not the product… but this is one of those activities where the product also happens to be uniquely beautiful every time. the watercolors washed out of their hands easily with soap and water… but a splash in the baby pool afterwards was a bonus!

our marbled papers

our marbled papers

07.17

2009
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  • Poppy

    Dear Jen;

    Wonderful. Amazing. Fantastic. Innovative. Wow.

    All of the above, for me :) I chose to write a comment on the current one, yet all of your projects and creations are superb. Bravo and thanks for sharing yourself and your daughter’s creativity. :)

  • http://momandkiddo.blogspot.com Mom and Kiddo

    We did this project this winter, and it was one of my favorites. I love the way yours turned out!

  • http://www.whereweare.typepad.com Dawn Lange

    We are thinking of doing this tomorrow. Do you think tempera paints will work?

  • jen

    hmmm, you could try it with watered down tempera paints, i think… though the liquid watercolors work so great with this, they may be worth springing for. also since they’re just an awesome art material to have around. i got mine on amazon.com.

  • http://paintcutpaste.com/marbled-paper/ Julie

    My kids and I had a BLAST with this. We cut the marbled paper into pieces and glued it on blank note cards, inspired by your watercolor stationary. The kids are really proud to give their own homemade stationary as gifts. Thank you for the wonderful idea!