How to do Marbling with Shaving Foam

Techniques by Freyja - based on a Class given at Blade Rubber

Shaving Foam Card Gallery

Shaving foam is an ideal medium for marbling; it holds its shape and added colour without dissolving for quite some time. It is a little messy but fun to use and does not harm paper, card or surfaces. If using a large container it is suggested to only colour a half of the foam when practicing to save waste. Please note that every paper/card 'dip' will be different. Buy inexpensive foam without special additives which can prevent the transfer of colour.

Colouring Materials;
Strong, thin-ish water based colour works best.
Suitable colouring material:

  • Posh Impressions Rainbow ink both plain and metallic and dye re-inkers.
  • Drawing and calligraphy ink, both plain and metallic. These often have added shellac but clean up with water.
  • Acrylic paint - although most acrylics are not strong enough except for pale effects.
  • Stewart Gill, Luna Lights and Lumiere paints - thin to use.
  • Coloured and metallic pigment powder, obtainable from most art shops. Bronzing powders come in Gold, Silver and Bronze. I recommend every crafter to buy this; it has a long shelf life and mixes with almost any paint, medium or varnish.
  • There are many (expensive) professional graphic products that will also work. Food colouring is excellent, perhaps mixed with gold powder or gum Arabic?
  • Pigment re-inker will work when thinned a little. This is 'fiddly' needing a palette for mixing with water but the results are good...

Whatever the outcome the smell is divine!!!

MATERIALS
Foil or plastic freezer/chilled food container. 8”x 6” (20cm x 15cm) is good for experimenting
Can of shaving foam
Inks etc. as listed above
Plenty of paper towels and tissues.
Plastic knife and tea spoon for mixing, swirling and scraping
Paper /card plain matt or textured. Hand made paper is excellent, strongly absorbing colour.

METHOD

  1. Spread about 2-3 cm thick foam into an easy to clean container.
  2. Drip several drops of chosen colour/colours onto the surface in a random pattern.
  3. Swirl colour around with a cocktail or kebab stick or a paintbrush handle making a pattern.
  4. Gently but firmly press the card onto the foam making sure the whole surface is touching. (We will call this a 'dip')
  5. The first dip/swill be lightly coloured; each dip requires a little more colour/colours which will gradually build up to stronger, more interesting dips. To re-lighten add a little more foam.
  6. Lift off card and scrape off the cream and finish by dabbing/wiping with a tissue until clean.
  7. The mixture can be re-stirred and added to until too 'muddy' or no longer viable to use.

ADVANCED METHOD
If you really like this technique take it a stage further for beautiful colour mixtures.

  • After several dips add another layer of foam adding new colours, without disturbing the first coloured layer.
  • Add colours as before for a few more dips.
  • Now carefully pull up some foam from the first layer, different streaks of colour will emerge and add interest to the mix. It is impossible to describe this adequately; you must 'feel' the mixture yourself.
  • Strangely nine out of ten mixtures will produce pleasant subtle colours when finally mixed. Don't waste; dip a couple of pieces of card for unusual colours to use later. Add a little foam, swirl a little and dip for a nice white/colour marble.
  • Rough chunky sheets (if with plant material, pull out first or after marbling if desired), tissue paper, mulberry paper, blotting paper, anything absorbent is good. However some card has fillers and coatings to counteract absorbency for writing, printing etc. so experiment.

SUGGESTIONS FOR USING
As Backgrounds

  • Add small panels of stamped images in toning ink colours and affix with foam pads. For a strong marble pattern choose a strong image.
  • Over-stamp with a suitable 'line design' image in a dark colour; one large montage stamp or several smaller ones, collage style.
  • Over-stamp and emboss strong, solid images for impact onto strong marbling.
  • Mount an attractive marbled panel onto several other toning mounts then onto a main card. Add just a greeting - stamped/embossed or a peel-off.
  • Use as frames or cut apertures to set off a variety of stamped images or greetings.
  • Lighter, softer samples look very good when dry embossed. Try embossing hearts etc and cutting out to add to other designs. The embossing is 'lost' on strong marbling.
  • Marbled backgrounds are lovely for Christmas cards; the soft tones are perfect for over-stamping with traditional designs or tag making. Try combining with coloured acetate panels, stamped glossy card panels and mount onto gold/copper embossed metallic card for rich Renaissance effects.
  • Cut one or two harmonising samples into squares, rectangles, diamonds etc. and arrange in a tile pattern onto a contrasting/toning card layer.
  • Weave strips, usually two colours maximum and mount into aperture cards.

Others

  • Marbling is excellent for book covers, and on paper for covering boxes and book pages. Add panels of marbled card to cheap notebook covers. Add a stamped initial and some thread for a personalised little gift.
  • Use underneath Vellum. Just add a greeting or some nice words to the vellum and mount onto the card with eyelets, paper fasteners or ribbon through holes.

Have fun and I am sure that you will find many more ways of using your marbled samples.

Freyja

©Freyja Lee for Blade Rubber Stamps 2009
Freyja is a regular teacher of popular Classes at Blade Rubber


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