Wednesday, September 8, 2010

From the Art Room: Marbleized Paper

Another one of my favorite art projects for kids is making marbleized paper... 

Before we do this project, I teach the students about the tradition of Turkish Ebru. The art of "Ebru" in Turkey, is a special marbleizing process where they manipulate paint on top of a thickened substance and then transfer the design onto paper.  The kids love when I tell them that the substance that they use in Turkey is actually ox gall, a thick liquid produced by the liver.  Shaving cream has a similar thickness and texture, so we use that instead...although my kids often will still call it "ox guts". I tell them that shaving cream definitely smells better. :)


1. Paper plates
2. Popsicle sticks
3. toothpicks
4. Shaving cream
5. watercolors and paint brushes
6. Small pieces of cardboard (size of a playing card)
7. paper

1. Put a good amount of shaving cream on a paper plate.  Use enough to cover the entire plate, about an inch high)

2. Smooth the top of the shaving cream to make it flat(we used Popsicle sticks)

3. Next, paint bands of watercolor across the shaving cream. I tell the kids to try to "drop" the paint, as you don't want to make many indents in the shaving cream. Use a lot of paint, but paint it lightly.

4. After you have filled the shaving cream with bands of color, use a toothpick to create your marbleized design.  The traditional design is to start pulling your toothpick back and forth through the shaving cream going perpendicular to your bands. 

(here's a design made using a circular motion, rather than back and forth)

5. When you are happy with your design, take a piece of paper and lay it on top of your shaving cream.  Rub the paper lightly to make sure your design is completely transferred onto the paper.

6. Carefully pull your paper up off of the shaving cream.

7. Lay your paper down on the table face up and use small pieces of cardboard to carefully scrape off the left over shaving cream.

8.  Let it dry.

Here are some of our finished products. You could frame them as they are, make bookmarks, cover a journal, use them for scrapbooking...the possibilities are endless!

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  1. This is awesome! I cannot wait to try this with my son and maybe some of my students at school. I think I can build it in to a lesson on colors for my kindergarten ESL students! Thank you for sharing!

  2. WOW! looks great! what a cool idea for the kids

  3. This is such a fantastic idea. My kids would LOVE this. And they look amazing! What treasures!