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Marbled Paper Project

Make Marbled and Scented Paper

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If you use scented shaving cream, you can make holiday-scented gifts.

If you use scented shaving cream, you can make holiday-scented gifts. It's easy to find peppermint-scented shaving cream for the winter holidays. Try a floral scent for Valentine's Day.

Anne Helmenstine
It's super-easy to make elegant marbled paper, which you can use for a variety of projects including gift wrap. What you may not know is you can scent your paper while you marble it.

Paper Marbling Materials

  • paper
  • shaving cream
  • food coloring or paints
  • silverware
  • shallow pan, large enough for your paper
  • squeegee or paper towels
You can use any paper for this project and will get slightly different effects depending on your selection. I used ordinary printer paper. You can use any shaving cream, too. I would probably aim for the least expensive brand you can find, but what I actually used was scented shaving gel. If you use peppermint-scented shaving cream then you can make paper that smells like candy canes. If you use floral scented shaving cream then your marbled paper will carry a subtle floral fragrance.

The other material used in this project is pigment or ink. The blue/red/green box in the photo is wrapped with marbled paper colored using food coloring. The pink/orange/blue box is wrapped with marbled paper that was colored with tempera poster paints. You can use any pigment you like, so be creative!

Make Marbled Paper

  1. Spread a thin layer of shaving cream in the bottom of the pan. I used a spoon, but you can use a knife or spatula or your fingers. All you need is a shallow coating.

  2. Dot the surface of the shaving cream with food coloring or paint or pigment or whatever colorant you are using.

  3. Use your imagination to pattern the colors. I simply ran the tines of a fork through the colors in a wavy fashion. Don't get too enthusiastic swirling your colors or else they will run together.

  4. Lay your paper on top of the colored layer in the pan. I smoothed the paper out over the shaving cream.

  5. Remove the paper and either squeegee off the shaving cream (wiping between passes) or wipe the shaving cream off with a dry paper towel. If you do this carefully, none of your colors will run or be distorted.

  6. Allow your paper to dry. If it curls, you can iron it flat using low heat. I didn't have any problem with printer paper distorting.
The marbled paper will be smooth and slightly glossy. Neither the food colorings nor tempera paints transferred off of the paper once it was dry. Some people like to spray marbled paper with a fixative. I probably would not treat the paper if your goal is to make a scented and colored paper, since fixing the paper might mask the fragrance.

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