Thursday, July 24, 2014

Making Marbled Paper & Fabric - With Shaving Cream!

I came across this idea when I was researching Golden's new High Flow Acrylics, and immediately had to try it!  As I experimented, I found that it worked on paper and fabric, AND that you could get the same effects with High Flow Acrylics, Fluid Acrylics, and even Jaquard's Dye-Na-Flow fluid fabric paints.  Awesome!  

Shaving Cream Marbling on Rice Paper with Golden High Flow Acrylics - Yummy!

What You Need:

  • A Shallow Tray - anything like a baking sheet or shallow plastic tub will work.
  • Shaving Cream!  The cheaper and foamier the better (the gel stuff is harder to work with).
  • A Few Toothpicks or Skewer Sticks - anything with a fine tip will work, and you can even use a popcicle stick. You can also use a marbling comb like the pink one pictured above, but it's not necessary at all - I didn't use it any of the examples.
  • A Few Old Giftcards - or another kind of spreader/scraper. Even an old piece of coated cardboard or chipboard will work (though it will soggy and won't last!)
  • High Flow Acrylics, Fluid Acrylics, Dye-Na-Flow, or other inks or fluid paints - experiment!  I'm using Golden High Flow Acrylics in the first example, and they were VERY easy to use! They behave like inks, which makes them ideal for marbling. Dye-Na-Flow also worked well (I applied it with a dropper) and is good for use on both fabric and paper.
  • Paper or Fabric - I used a sturdy Japanese Sumi-e paper and bleached muslin in my experiments, but just about any smooth paper should work.  
  • Paper Towels, Baby Wipes or Rags - these can be helpful to clean paint-infused shaving cream off your tools as you work, though the whole thing is easy water cleanup!

You're Ready to Start!

1. Begin by spraying shaving cream into your tray.  You'll want a pretty thick layer (mine ended up about 1/2" thick)

2. Using your hand or your spreader, blend and smooth the shaving cream so you have a relatively flat surface. It spreads like fluffy icing!  It's handy if your spread shaving cream is roughly the same size as your paper. 

3.  Drop paint onto the surface of the shaving cream. I found I got the best results when I started with three colors and spaced the drops of paint out over the whole surface of the shaving cream. I did mine in a very random pattern.  

4.  Next, take your toothpick or skewer and drag it through the shaving cream, blending the dots.  You can do it all in one direction.

Or, you can shake it up and create swirls. You could even get a book of marbling patterns from your local library and go for complex patterns! (yup, I've got one on hold right now)

 Here's what my shaving cream looked like before I put the paper down.

5. Put the paper down onto the shaving cream. Gently press to ensure that every part of the paper is in contact with the surface of the shaving cream.

6.  Pull the paper up - and don't be scared! It will look like all you got was a big hot mess, but it will get better! 

7. Put you paper down and gently scrape away the shaving cream.  The gorgeous marbled pattern will be revealed! Be careful - the paper will be damp, and if it's thin, it may tear.  

Here's how the paper looked after it was scraped and dried!

8.  Keep going! You may think that after that first piece of paper you have to clean your tray off and start all over again with fresh shaving cream!  Not so!  It may look like the pattern is destroyed, but you can keep swirling, laying down paper, pulling and scraping.  The colors blend more and become more subtle, but that's part of the beauty! 

Here's what the second pull from that batch of paint and shaving cream looked like.
This is the third pull - here, I just used my spreader to blend the remaining color.  At this point, I could add more drops of paint and keep going!  This soft green would make a wonderful background color!

More Options!

Here, I used Golden Fluid Acrylics. I found that the drops of paint were harder to control, but the color was brilliant.  I used a skewer for the first pull, then used a popsicle stick to create the larger, looser swirls for the second pull.  Then, I was back to the skewer for the final pull.

And here is a sample using the Dye-Na-Flo on bleached muslin.  

I've also been thinking these marbled papers (especially the lighter ones) would be great as backgrounds for art journal pages.  I've pinned a few other art journal ideas on Pinterest! 


Adrianne in Portland said...

That is an amazingly RAD technique Bridget!

Sue said...

Love this idea!!