I sat down recently to write some unique thank you notes to friends, but realized all of the ones in my collection were feeling a bit tired. In my search for fresh summer stationary, I happened across some marbled paper. I loved the overall look, but the colors were very dark. I knew I wanted to send something a little more vibrant. There are actually several methods you can use to create marbling on your own.
My personal favorite is a Turkish technique called Ebru, in which you float paints on water. This way generally makes the most beautiful prints, but you can only use it once (you must make a new design for each sheet). I also wanted to try something a bit more kid friendly — my youngest daughter is home from school for the summer, and I thought this would be a great way to spend quality time together.
Enter shaving cream and food coloring. This form of marbling is fantastic, because the dye is non-toxic and easy to wipe off tables and counter tops. You can also make multiple prints from one pan before the color muddles too much. We had an absolute blast doing this together, and I won’t need to buy any stationary for ages! It adds a special touch to my thank you notes, as each one is a unique pattern that we made with love. Fair warning though: your hands will be stained for at least a day, but trust me that it’s well worth it!
This was so easy to do and clean up that now I want to marble everything. You could make table runners, wrapping paper, book covers, placemats… virtually anything that will take to the dye or paint you use. I can’t wait to try this on fabric and will keep you posted on how it turns out!
Start with any blank stationary or absorbent material. I used these simple packets from Michaels, but the possibilities are endless! Tape off the edges that you don’t want the color to get on. Here, I taped the front of the envelope so only the flap would have the design and the inside of the card where I planned to write.
I grabbed some disposable aluminum pans, but honestly it washed out like a charm so you can use any container that suits you. Line the bottom with shaving cream and drop in your main color. Use a spatula to swirl it around, but you don’t need to do it very much at all. Then drop in a few other colors and use a skewer or toothpick lightly blend it in.
Lay your paper item on the mixture and lightly press the back to soak up the dye. I suggest using the back of a spoon, so you don’t get dye from your fingers on the back. Use a finger to pick up the piece by the corner and lift it out. Be mindful not to leave it in the mixture too long or the paper will get soggy.
Use a flat object like a knife or metal ruler and scrape off the excess shaving cream. Next, hang or lay the paper down to dry. (We pressed them under books later to flatten them out.) Repeat as many times as you want until the color gets too messy, then wash out and make more. Trust me — you’ll be addicted right away!
I couldn’t be more pleased with some of our finished pieces. The best part was seeing how different each piece turned out from the one before. My daughter and I even found ourselves walking around the house, finding things we could marble next time. What a wonderful way to spend the afternoon!