- Hunter Museum of American Art - https://www.huntermuseum.org -

Marbled Paper Activity

Marbled Paper Activity


  • Newspaper or a plastic tablecloth

  • White paper cut to 4x6 or 5x7 pieces (card stock, watercolor paper, or thicker paper works best) 

  • Pan or baking sheet with raised edges

  • Shaving cream (foam, not gel) 

  • Food coloring or liquid watercolor paint (or both)

  • Knife or spatula

  • Chopstick, knife, or fork

  • Small piece of cardboard or a ruler for scraping away excess shaving cream

Artists often make their own paper for their art, like Sam Gilliam did in The Great American Quilt Series [1]. Marbled paper can be used for collage and other creative projects like cards and bookmarks.



  1. Lay down newspaper or a plastic tablecloth to keep your working surface from getting messy.
  2. Gather your materials and have everything ready to use. Find a designated space for your painted paper to dry.
  3. Spray a layer of shaving cream into the bottom of a pan. Spread the shaving cream smoothly with a spatula.
  4. Drip food coloring or water color paint onto the surface of the shaving cream. Use a chopstick to swirl the colors.
  5. Lay your paper gently in the pan and press it lightly into the shaving cream.
  6. Lift the paper and scrape off excess shaving cream with the cardboard or ruler to reveal the marbled pattern. Lay the paper on a clean surface to dry.
  7. You can print more than one piece of paper. Add more color and shaving cream as needed.
  8. Once the paper is dry, it’s ready to use in your art projects.