I hope you are ready for a fun painting adventure:

marbling still 2

Here is a photo of the supplies you need to marble with shaving cream:


Here is the supply list of what you need to Marble with Shaving Cream: 

  • Cookie sheet or tray
  • Shaving Cream (inexpensive kind without moisturizer)
  • Squeegee
  • Wooden Skewer
  • Acrylic paint  in the colors of your choice ( I prefer Golden Fluid Acrylics)
  • Freezer paper
  • Craft/butcher paper
  • Journal Pages
  • Sheet music or other papers you want to marble
  • Paper towels
  • Spray Bottle
  • Marbling Combs Materials: Exacto Knife, Small Corrugated Cardboard Piece/s, White Glue, Toothpicks, Masking Tape

Marble detail, web

To get ready for the painting, we will make some marbling combs.

Then we will jump right in for great fun!

I made marbling combs using a piece of corrugated cardboard, and gluing toothpicks into the ridges in the spaces of the edge, evenly spaced apart. I scored and folded the cardboard to make it stronger and wrapped masking tape around it. Here is the video that shows how:

The password for the video is: marble

Now for the really fun part! Here is the video that shows how to marble:

The password for the video is: marble

Here is a PDF that shows the process to all the painting papers in this class. To view and print, click on the link:

Painting Papers, Marbling and More Steps for Shaving Cream Painting Technique:

  1. Shake Can and squirt out an even thickness of shaving cream onto a cookie sheet, about one inch thick.
  2. Spread with squeegee to smooth.
  3. Drop small drops of fluid acrylic paints onto shaving cream.
  4. Use skewer and/or comb to make pattern/s
  5. Lightly press paper on top of shaving cream making sure all surfaces are touching the shaving cream.
  6. Lift paper from one side, place on freezer paper shaving cream-paint side up.
  7. Squeegee off shaving cream.
  8. Repeat and make more prints. Combing variations may be done as well as paint added and swirled and/or combed into the shaving cream.
  9. After printing put the used shaving cream in the trash or wash it off in the sink.

Marbling still 6

Oh the Beautiful Papers You Will Paint!

marbling paper


This marbling technique and the other painted paper techniques work well on deli paper also known as sandwich wrap paper; yes the kind of translucent paper a sandwich often comes wrapped in. I’ve tried 3 brands which all work, but my favorite is made by First Street. It is not as waxy as some other brands so it is easy to write on after it is painted. I bought a box of 1000 sheets at Cash & Carry for around $15. It comes in various sizes. It is thin but sturdier than the tissue paper so the uses are endless! Feel Free to try whatever translucent paper you have on hand.







  1. Tina

    Hi Valerie- I marbled my first paper with shaving cream the other night! Woohoo- it was cool and fun! I do have a question… I started doing some pen work, but have noticed that my Pitt pen doesn’t seem to like writing over the areas where there was shaving cream ( I did a border). What is your experience with this? I have some other pens, but feel a little nervous because I don’t want to wreck them.

    • Tina, So glad you had fun marbling. Great question. Thank you for asking. I bet it will help someone else. Sometimes it happens with the writing on top of the marbling. I think it is because of the moisturizer or soap in the shaving cream. What takes care of that is to put a coat of acrylic medium (I use matte medium) on the marbling. Allow it to dry thoroughly and then you can write on top of that. Another benefit to putting medium on top of the marbling is that if you make a little mistake, it can be taken off with some rubbing alcohol.

      • Sharon

        Thank you, good to know. I haven’t gotten there yet but there’s nothing I hate worse than going through expensive pens! Ha.

  2. qigongangel@yahoo.com

    Hi Valerie,

    I had some fun marbling too. I have a few questions for you. I tried some with acrylics and some with FW inks. What I found is that some of the colors and the the pearlescent (shiny- gold, silver and bronze) colors smeared in lines all the way down on each of the prints. Could it be that the paper isn’t absorbing it or I need to let the paint sit longer before I squeegy off the shaving cream? I haven’t tried the starch process yet. (I had to use card stock since I don’t have watercolor paper yet.)
    Do you know if I can use Strathmore Mixed media paper?
    If I put matte medium over the marbling to draw on it, will it take away the shine from the silver and gold shiny paints?
    This is so much fun. I’m glad you have this as an online class.

    • Thank you for describing your process. I’m guessing it was the inks that smeared. I don’t use inks for marbling. The paints need to be waterproof. Also, when squeegeeing, the pressure on the squeegee needs to be very firm and the squeegee clean when starting, otherwise it tends to smear. As you said, it could be possible that it is the paper, since papers have different absorbency, but I haven’t had any trouble when marbling sheets of music, card stock, tags etc. I think shiny paper would be more likely to smear though. You can put more of a gloss medium on top of the marbling if it is on the cover of the journal. The shine may be cut down a bit if you put matte medium on top of the marbling, but some of the metallic quality still shines through. Give yourself the freedom to experiment. That’s how much of the techniques were developed 🙂

      • qigongangel@yahoo.com

        Thanks Valerie. I’ll play around some more. As I look at them, even the acrylics smeared. I wonder if maybe the paint was too thick in those areas and when I squeegee’e it, it smeared.
        This is so much fun. We’ll need another class for ideas in what to do with all our marbled paper. 🙂

        • I agree, it’s so fun! The Collaging Hope class I’m hoping to launch in 2014 will give some ideas on what to do with the marbled paper. Once again, the sky is the limit :0)

  3. Linda

    I’ve just finished marbling my cover. It’s really fun! I have some smearing too, but I suppose it’s my lack of experience with this technique. Also, I’ve experimented with marbling another type of paper with what was left on the shaving cream and more marbling on top. It’s really nice and more subtle. I’m so happy you’ve offered these workshops! I happened on your site while googling visual journals and I think what you do is inspiring and very very beautiful. I love that you use vibrant colors. It’s so full of life. Thanks again and I can’t wait for the last two workshops… 🙂

  4. pinkcadillac2005@sbcglobal.net

    Question for you. It says to wash off the shaving cream, but when I did that it all smeared under he water and I lost the marbling???? Should I just stop after squeegee and leave the residual cream on????

    • Oh no, where does it say to wash off the shaving cream off of the paper? Yes, it would smear. You should stop after the squeegeeing to get the residual cream off.

      • Dyan

        This was my question also. I even came back to the video to be sure you didn’t wash it off. When you get to the next video class, the one for marbling with starch, the written instructions all say to wash off the shaving cream as well as the starch. I’m so glad I came back here to read the comments!
        Thank you for these wonderful classes. I am so excited to be learning this stuff.


        • Dyan, Thank you for drawing my attention to that. I clarified the sentence in the lesson. The shaving cream that has been squeegied off the page can be washed down the sink or put in the trash. I don’t wash the paper after I marble it. It isn’t necessary. The painting with starch will wash off if too much water is used to wash the extra starch off, but it usually helps to lightly run a bit of water over it to get the extra starch off the paper. I hope that makes sense.

  5. pinkcadillac2005@sbcglobal.net

    I took that to mean the paper….maybe you meant utensils???? The good news is that I tried again and I redunked my 1st try paper and was able to add a little more dimension to it….

    • Yes, the utensils. I’m glad you tried again. It is possible to marble over the paper, that would go for the starch too.

      • Elizabeth

        Step 9 in the accompanying pdf has not been updated or clarified. I’m glad I read the comments here before trying the process. I really appreciate that there are written instructions as well as the video, as I like to refer to the step-by-step info as I go.

        • Elizabeth,
          Thank you for letting me know. I missed updating the pdf when I clarified step 9 in the lesson. The pdf is now updated.

  6. pinkcadillac2005@sbcglobal.net

    When marbling is there a not to exceed number of colors – ie a point at which it all begins to turn brown????

    • You may want to revisit the video. 3-5 colors are recommended. If you keep swirling and mixing eventually colors will turn brown as colors do when over mixed. The key is to take note when it looks good on the surface and print then.

    • Ellen, I’ve noticed the email listed for you doesn’t work. Could you send me the current one?

  7. Susan

    Valerie I had a blast….but I made a huge mess; having an eighteen month old grandson helping I think was the key to my messiness! But we had fun!!!

    • I have a big smile reading your comment. You are a brave woman!!! I have 3 grandsons, so it’s very easy to imagine the “key” to the messiness 🙂

  8. Pamela

    When using the golden fluid acrylics to marble OVER the top of some pitt pen work; are the paints transparent enough to see the pitt pen work?

    • Golden has many colors that are transparent or near transparent that will work over pen work, but each color has its own opacity/transparency. If you have a question about a particular color you can visit the Pigmentation Identification Charts on the Golden site:
      If you click on the name of the color, it will open a page. Look on the left at the opacity/transparency number. They are rate on a scale of 1-10, 10 being the most transparent. There will also show an image of how the color will appear on top of black, the same as the pen. I have found that a thin coat using a damp brush of a #4 transparency will still work over the pen. The Transparent Pyrrole Orange I use in this journal is very transparent. So is the Quinacridone Nickel Azo Gold (one of my most used colors in all of my journals), and the Turquoise Phthalo (although this gets dark if not watered down). The Teal (no longer called Cobalt Teal) is opaque.

  9. Sharon

    I’m so glad you mentioned deli paper because that is what I bought. I must have seen it in one of your YouTube videos. Unfortunately I didn’t get that great a price, although I don’t know how old this class is either. I ended up getting Logan dry wax deli paper . I found out today when looking online that mine was sold by a third party art supply company, so that’s probably why I paid more. Doh! Anyway. I can’t wait to get started. The only full sheet paper I have right now is cold press so I’m waiting for my hot press and soft press to arrive.

    It’s so funny though. I have been an artist for years, and have studied watercolor for a year or so before getting into acrylic, oils, and soft pastel which I love. I have never heard of soft press watercolor paper! Then I read that only Fabriano I think sells it and no one else makes it anymore. So I learned something else. Thank you Valerie!

    Wonderful class so far. I’m running through them all, then I will go back and do the work. In the meantime I will work in one of my moleskines!

    • Sharon, I started with cold press too while I waited for the hot press to come. I’m so glad you are enjoying the class. Cheers to more! Blessings, Valerie

  10. Sharon

    Shoot shoot shoot!!! I watched the entire class while waiting on some of my supplies. So now I come back and instead of watching each video again, I jumped right in and sewed my journal before marbling. I may just cut the thread and then resew afterward. The sewing only took me a minute because I have sewn journals before, although I do it differently than you do. It all works. Yep I have decided. Time to cut the thread binding!

    • Sharon, You’re funny. I have cut the thread binding many times 🙂 It is possible to marble after it’s sewn as long as the expectation is that paint and surprise splotches are likely, it’s all good. Cheers! Valerie

  11. Andrea

    I’m not artistic, although I quilt a little bit, so this is all completely new to me. I’m so excited to get started, but based on past experience with paint I want to be cautious and not waste the expensive stuff while I fumble along trying to get the hang of the basics. Can I experiment with marbling with 20# printer paper or must it be the heavier weight water color paper? I imagine the 20# would warp as it dried.

    • Hi Andrea, Yes, you certainly can experiment with printer paper. Try one or two sheets and see how it turns out. If you haven’t painted any tissue paper or deli paper, You might want to try that first. I’ve found in the studio classes it helps to make some solids or near solids to gain confidence and experience with the paint. You can certainly experiment with less expensive paint too. The papers you get from experiment painting can be painted papers for collage to be used later. The papers may warp but you can glue them down with medium or iron them with a craft iron or an iron on low heat with parchment paper in between. When I first started marbling I used craft paper in a roll, inexpensive and similar to copy printer paper.

  12. Darci Truax

    Valerie, Amazing technique and fun to do!
    I just tried the Shaving Cream Marbling technique. I used Fabriano paper, no moisturizer shaving cream (cheap). It all printed well, however, when I pulled the shaving cream off of the paper with the squeegee, it also pulled color across leaving smudges on the remaining white spaces. What did I do wrong. Thankyou.

    • Hi Darci, the most common reason for streaking and smudging are: not using enough firm pressure when squeegeeing off the shaving cream and/or not having a cleaned off squeegee. Since I wasn’t there to see you do the process, this is my best guess. Hope it helps. Valerie

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