Marbled Valentine

February 14, 2017

Make your sweetheart a one-of-a-kind piece of art this Valentine’s Day with this tutorial from our #DAMCreative Educators! At the Museum we use this activity for little hands to learn about color mixing or pattern.

Here’s what it takes:

  • Thick paper or mat board cut into heart shape (or lots of them!)
  • Liquid Watercolor or food coloring: Liquid watercolor is one of our favorite supplies to have on hand. You can find it at any craft or hobby store or make it easy and order from your favorite online supplier. It is a versatile paint that acts like ink or dye and can be diluted easily with more water or used straight out of the bottle. Liquid (not gel) food coloring is a great alternative for this project if you already have some hanging around!
  • Shaving cream: Look for the cheapest option—store brands that don’t have any added bells and whistles (like gel or crystals) work best for us.
  • Wooden skewer: Or pen or toothpick or your finger…basically anything that you are willing to get dirty.
  • Disposable pan
  • Straight edge: This can be a ruler, a scrap of cardboard, or a thick piece of mat board. The important thing is that the straight part is completely level (so when you hold it against the table it sits flush—see image below).


  1. Spread a layer of shaving cream in your disposable pan (about 1 inch thick) and make sure it is fairly even on the top. You can use your scrap piece of cardboard for this, just remember to wipe it clean when you are done.
  2. Choose your colors of liquid watercolor or food coloring and squeeze several drops over the entirety of the shaving cream. Make sure they are spaced out all over the cream.
  3. Take your skewer and make designs in the shaving cream by dragging it through the drops of watercolor. Swirling, concentric circles, or even just drawing vertical lines will produce a beautiful pattern. Try not to overwork the colors, a few passes through and set the skewer down.
  4. Hold your heart shaped paper in both hands and gently lay it on top of the cream/watercolor layer. Press down lightly so that the paper is just touching the cream in all areas—do not submerge or move the paper.
  5. Peel the paper up carefully.
  6. Lay the heart down on a flat surface (one covered in newspaper works well) and with your straight edge starting at one end of the paper slowly scrape the edge along the heart so that you remove all the excess shaving cream and watercolor.
  7. Voila! Your heart should be marbled and just slightly wet—let it dry for a few minutes and write a message to your love.

The shaving cream pan is reusable; you can dip several hearts into it without changing anything or by running your skewer through a few times to make a new pattern. When the cream gets overworked add a thin layer of new cream on top and begin again. You can also dip the back side of your heart for a complete look.

Our #DAMCreative team always has something brewing—visit the Museum to see what other fun ideas might be waiting for you within our walls!

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