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How To Marble Paper

I recently discovered a really quick and effective way of how to marble paper, without the need for all the chemicals. No one wants to spend out on a load of ingredients, especially when you end up buying 2kg bags when you only need a teaspoon! The patterns you get from marbling are so unique - and bang on trend - you can achieve beautiful designs each and every time, no matter what colour combination. The trick is to have fun with it, sometimes the most beautiful marbled patterns come out when you least expect it! You can then use the marbled paper to cover notebooks, wrap presents, cut up and use on gift cards or you could simply frame them - they are works of art after all!

You Will Need:

  • Shallow dish - bigger than the piece of paper/card you want to print on, I used a roasting tin

  • Shaving foam

  • Spatular

  • Ink, food colouring or acrylic paint

  • Stick (you can use the wrong end of a paintbrush)

  • Paper or card

  • Newspaper

  • Kitchen towel

  • Ruler

  • Rubber gloves (I found out the hard way!)

For the gold leaf:

  • Gilding size

  • Gold gilding leaf

  • Small paintbrush

  • Soft old paintbrush

Where to buy: I bought the roasting tin from Poundland

The shaving foam was less than £1 from Sainsbury's

The food colouring, gilding size and gold leaf was from Hobbycraft

The inks, paints and brushes were from my local craft shop, but Wilko have a great range of art materials

The shaving cream looks good enough to eat

1 Firstly give the roasting tin a good clean out with some soap and water then dry it off. Shake up your can of shaving foam - must be foam and not gel as this won't work - then spray a layer of the foam into the tin. Spread it out with a spatular.

2 Once the base of your tin is completely covered by the shaving foam, choose your first colour - I used a blue food colouring first. Apply a few drops to the shaving foam. Start by only adding a few drops as a little goes a long way, and you can always add more.

3 Use the spatular to mix in the colour. Work some sections more than others as you want to achieve different strengths of colour and streaks of very vivid colour too.

4 Then choose your secondary colour. I chose a yellow food colouring as I wanted to create combinations or green as well as the blue and yellow.

5 Take the spatular again and swirl it through the yellow food colouring to combine with the blue. You can do as little or as much 'swirling' as you like. It's probably a good idea to pop on some rubber gloves at this point! I was not so wise!

Fingers have started to go blue

6 Take your piece of paper or card and push into down into the shaving foam - it's best to use something decent, like some thin card stock or paper from an artist's sketchbook, as printing paper doesn't give great results. Press down to smooth out any air bubbles so the whole piece gets coated.

7 Lay out some newspaper or kitchen towel on the table or floor ready. Then take one corner of the card and carefully start to peel it away from the shaving foam.

8 Lay the card right side up onto the newspaper or kitchen towel. Things are starting to get a bit messy now!

9 Making sure to have some kitchen towel to hand, take your ruler and scrape it over the entire surface of the foamy card. Scrape off all of the foam, either putting it back in the roasting tin or wiping it off the ruler with kitchen towel. Set this piece of card aside to dry.

10 You can then go back to the tin, adding more colour and making interesting patterns. Here I used a couple of cocktail sticks to make much finer lines in the shaving foam.

11 This time I used a white card blank to print on. A good tip here is to mask off the edges of the back of the card, so when you dip it in the foam it doesn't matter if any excess foam comes up over the edge. I did not do that. You learn by your mistakes!

12 I went one step too far and added brown to the mix. It ended up looking like a murky swamp, so I won't show you those results.

13 Once your design has dried apply a little gilding size with a thin paintbrush. Follow the edges of some of your patterns with the size and leave to go tacky for a few minutes. Cut up pieces of gold leaf and place over the tacky size, then leave to dry.

14 Take a soft paintbrush, one you don't really care about anymore, and brush over the gold leaf. Little flecks will come away leaving gold only where the gilding size was applied.

15 The flecks can also look very effective as part of the design, so you can add a little more of the size and press the gold flecks into it.

16 So there you go, a really super easy, cheap and beautiful way of creating marbled paper. Just go and raid your dad's/boyfriend's/brother's toiletries for his shaving foam and grab a couple of food colourings from the kitchen cupboard and voila!

And just so you know - and you have been warned - wear rubber gloves!!!

SO.....if you enjoyed this project, go check out my blog on quilling

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