Fall Craft Alert: DIY Marbled Paper

Marbled Craft Paper in Fall Colors, Photo by  Cecilia Kennedy

Crafting projects needn’t result in the shrill, shrieking sound of sirens or smoke alarms, but just in case, I’ve decided to issue a “craft alert” in my house, whenever I take up a new project. I think it’s only fair to prepare Nate, Alex, and the cat in case they need to seek shelter, buy canned goods, or stock up on water or buy battery-operated radios. The craft alert goes something like this:

“I’m making a craft, everyone! I’m making a craft!”

When I sound the alert, Nate and Alex simultaneously say, “Oh!” but not in that “Oh, you are? How fun!” tone. It’s more of a doom and gloom “oh” that communicates a sense of dread and distress, mixed with disgust—as if they’ve found a finger floating around in their soup.

This time, I promised them that my marbled paper craft is safe and easy and fun and that it won’t take up too much counter space, but I did potentially make this project unsafe in the following way:

–Nate was making pancakes at the same time that I was doing my craft, which involves shaving cream and acrylic paints. Any one of these ingredients could have mixed in with the pancake batter. Sure, those pancakes would have been beautiful, but a good dose of syrup of ipecac is no way to top off the morning. I’m sure that was what was going through Nate’s head too as he made breakfast. If I could have drawn a thought bubble for him at that moment it would have read, “Looks like another syrup of ipecac day for me. There go my plans.”

Other than jockeying for counter space while Nate was making pancakes, I didn’t run into too many problems while making this craft. The instructions for making DIY marbled paper with shaving cream are just about everywhere on the internet, but I found a source from PBS “Adventures in Learning” that traces the history of marbling to Turkey. I’m including the article, with instructions here, if you click on the link of this title: “Ebru, Turkish Marbling Art” by Jennifer Cooper.

The first step in the instructions is to fill a foil pan with shaving cream, which was easy enough to do. I made sure that I bought my own shaving cream and did not use Nate’s or Alex’s. However, when I brought it home from the grocery store, Alex and Nate automatically assumed I had bought it for them and I had to wrestle them to get it back. “Craft Alert! Craft Alert!” I screamed as I threw myself on top of the Barbasol can. “I need it for crafting!”

Alex, my swimmer in the family, who sometimes has to shave his legs for competitions, could not understand how a perfectly good can of shaving cream could be used for a craft. Instead, he asked, “Does the craft involve leg hair?”

“No. There will be no leg hair in my marbled paper craft. Not today.”

The second step involved in the craft is “dotting” the pan of shaving cream with various acrylic paint colors. I chose fall colors because I’d like to have fall-looking paper for making out my grocery lists, which will inevitably include more “shaving cream for leg hair” next time.

Next, I took a butter knife and swirled the color around to make a marble effect. Then, I pressed sheets of card stock paper into the mixture.

Towards the end of the process, I came across a “controversial” step, in my opinion. I was supposed to use the butter knife again to scrape off the shaving cream and then let the paper dry. I’m sure these various steps are used for kindergartners, to get them used to rules and following directions, but when I scraped the shaving cream off of the paper, the resulting look and texture weren’t as pretty, in my opinion, as the textured chunks of shaving cream that stuck to the paper. So, I started skipping the step of scraping the shaving cream off, which would make me quite the subversive kindergartner who would get punished for not following the directions. I would argue, on my behalf, that I know how to follow directions. I just don’t always like the directions. I guess I’ve not changed much since kindergarten.

I really do hope my “chunky” marbled paper dries completely, but if it doesn’t I’ll know that it’s because I chose not to follow the directions, which means that I should alter the message of my craft alerts from now on:

“I’m making a craft, everyone! I’m making a craft and I might not follow all of the directions—on purpose!”

Your Turn: What’s your favorite easy craft to make? Or: When following a recipe or steps for a craft, do you follow all of them or change them or purposely skip the directions? Discuss!









14 thoughts on “Fall Craft Alert: DIY Marbled Paper

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