HOW TO: Marvelous Marbled Ornaments


December 17, 2008
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Materials:
Cheap shaving cream – we use Barbasol
Liquid watercolors (available at art supply stores)
Pencil
Cookie sheet
Shapes cut out of card stock (heavy paper)
Ribbon
Popsicle stick (note cards will work too)

What to do:

1. Cut different shapes out of cardstock (we cut out a dinosaur!)

2. Dispense about an inch of shaving cream onto the cookie sheet about the approximate size of the shape you cut out.

3. Put drops of liquid watercolors directly on top of the shaving cream. Two colors works well, but use three at the most.

4. Use a sharpened pencil to swirl the colors together very gently (use the sharpened tip of the pencil). Do not push down into the shaving cream too far. Swirl the paint on top until you have a nice marbled look. Don’t swirl for too long or you will get brown!

5. Put your cutout on top of the shaving cream and press so it comes in complete contact with the color.

6. Peel the cutout off. It will appear to be a mess of shaving cream and color until you do the next step.

7. Lay the cut out down and use the Popsicle stick to scrape the shaving cream off the paper. You will be left with a marvelous marbled masterpiece. 8. Let it dry, punch a hole, tie a ribbon, and hang it on your tree!

What’s going on here anyway?
Shaving cream has a hydrophilic head and a hydrophobictail. What in the world does that mean? Well, the water-based watercolors are attracted to the water-loving (hydrophilic) head (top of the shaving cream pile) and repelled by the hydrophobic (water-hating) tail (bottom of the shaving cream pile). This limits the motion of the watercolors and suspends them on the top of the shaving cream. When you then place your paper on the shaving cream the absorbent paper captures the watercolor image that is suspended on the top of the shaving cream.

Kat
Authored By Kat Havens

As a native Houstonian Kathleen has watched HMNS change and grow over the decades. Her life-long love of cultures and all things rocks and minerals brought her back to HMNS after several years away. Well versed in almost all things museum as an employee and volunteer her goal is to share her love of learning with anyone who will stop long enough to listen (or read).

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