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Shaving cream marble prints

Shaving cream to make art? Yes, please! Back in high school we would design patterns using different watercolor washes and textured grain, salt, chemical solvents, and –  yes – shaving cream. I did a simplified version of the shaving cream patterning with my students as a final fun project before winter break.

This is what you need: 

  • trays/tubs that are relatively shallow – you won’t be filling them up with the shaving cream and super-deep ones will get messy
  • food coloring (liquid, in the squeeze bottles)
  • lots and lots of shaving cream (I bought value packs at the dollar store)
  • heavy paper (card stock or other heavyweight paper: not construction paper or computer paper)
  • popsicle sticks/any kind of thin, disposable sticks
  • another empty tray or just a clear working space

This is what you do:

  1. Fill the tray with a layer of shaving cream, so that the bottom is lined – again, don’t fill up your tray
  2. Squeeze a few drops of different food coloring around the tray. Don’t over do it, however tempting, or you will end up with swamp-colored shaving cream (happened multiple times in my class)
  3. Hold the popsicle stick/toothpick/whatever vertically, and gently swirly/make patterns in the cream. Don’t try to mix it in! If you do this carefully and slowly you can make cool designs like so: [pictured right]
  4. Carefully place your paper on top of the shaving cream. Press down gently – you just want to make sure it is touching the design, but you don’t (and shouldn’t) push your paper all the way to the bottom of the tray.
  5. Peel the paper off and set it down (shaving cream side up!) on the empty tray/clear working space. Using a clean popsicle stick, wipe off the excess shaving cream. Only the pattern from the coloring will remain.

And that’s it! Let it dry completely and you can color/draw/paint on top of your designed paper. Here are a few examples we made:

And yeah, it’s pretty much just patterned paper, and one handprint…everyone thought the paper was too pretty to draw over :) You can use multiple pieces of paper in one tray/design. When the colors start getting muddy etc. you can add a little more shaving cream and re-swirl, or change out the shaving cream completely.

Bottom line: fun and easy way to use your stuck-indoors time over the holidays. And it’s really not as messy as it sounds…just make sure you’ve got a sink nearby :)


One comment

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