How to “Tie-Dye” Paper

How to “Tie-Dye” Paper

“Tie-dying” paper is a fun and easy project. And, chances are, you already have everything on hand you need to do it.

The Props

Food coloring

Foaming shaving cream

Cookie sheet, or any large shallow pan

Something to stir with

Paper (For this project, I used plain laser printer paper)

Paper towels

The Procedure

Squirt the bottom of the pan with shaving cream as shown.

Spread the foam around evenly. I’d suggest using your hand for this step because it feels cool!

Drip several drops of food coloring into the foamy mess, like so. Don't be afraid to experiment with color!

Stir food coloring through cream, making far out swirls. (If you over stir, you’ll get more of a marbled effect to your paper rather than tie-dye, but that looks groovy too.)

Place your piece of paper into your colored foam. Press slightly with the palms of your hands.

Lift out, or rather, peel off paper from foam.

Now, using a paper towel, dab the paper. You can disperse color this way too, putting color where your paper didn’t pick up any foam. It’s sort of like sponge painting.

Finally, wipe off the remaining residue with a paper towel. Rinse towel, wring out well, and swipe paper again, if necessary. Note: your paper will smell like shaving cream, but the scent will fade after a few days. As I will be using my paper for origami, after it dried, I ironed it with a hot, dry iron.

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Anonymous on Nov 02, 2013:

This brought a smile to my face.  What an absolutely charming way to use shaving cream! Thanks also for the upload.


Michelle on Jun 09, 2012:

Love it. Check out my link for one of the papers I made. It looks like a marble counter top!Marble Paper from shaving cream

Candie M on May 07, 2012:

I have used the shaving cream tie-dye method before, but instead of using food coloring, I had been taught to use ink (from re-inking bottles for stamp pads) to match my paper-craft projects.  So I could stamp coordinating colored images on cards, tags, etc.  Just a tip I learned & wanted to pass on for any stampers/paper-crafters wanting to try something different.  :)

Caitlin on Nov 18, 2011:

Is it possible to use the same technique on butchers paper? I want to turn the butchers paper into christmas wrapping paper.

DIY Maven on Sep 16, 2010:

Meghan--Glad the technique turned out so well for you! And congrats on gettin' hitched!!

Meghan on Sep 16, 2010:

I used this technique for my wedding invitations and they turned out awesome! I had many compliments. I enjoyed it so much, I also did this project for my Demonstrative Speech in Public Speaking. Awesome idea!!

aslrebecca on Jul 07, 2010:

Awesome!  yet one more cool task to work on with my students!  I'm quite excited!

bruno on Jul 07, 2010:

My mother-in-law makes it. It's a really interesting process involving floating layers of oil based paints in water and then using a toothpick to create patterns:


aslrebecca on Jul 07, 2010:

Uh huh, and how did you make the marbled paper, pray tell?

bruno on Jul 07, 2010:

Cool technique. Reminds me of the marbled paper we gave away last year:

DIY Maven on Jul 06, 2010:

rebecca--That's a very good question! If I were to try it, I think I might use white wallpaper. I'd cut the paper into the desired shapes and then dip that into the shaving cream/food color mixture. Then I'd shoot it with some sort of fixative so the color wouldn't wash off when applying the flowers. Another method would be to use pre-purchased tie dye fabric, or diy-ed tie dye; cut it into the flower shape and then apply them to the walls. Here's a link describing how to apply fabric to walls. Sounds pretty easy!

aslrebecca on Jul 06, 2010:

Have you tried on walls yet? I am painting daughter's room tonight, making hibiscus flowers similar to a wallpaper border she found. I would like to tie-dye the flowers on the wall, not use wallpaper. I was wondering if your tie-dye-paper idea could work on a wall. Suggestions? Tips? What kind of paints? Sincerely, ReBecca

DIY Maven on Apr 05, 2010:

I'm not sure about paint. Maybe. If I were to try it, I'd probably use an inexpensive acrylic craft paint.

And as for fabric dye, that would work, but it's an unforgiving medium. (Meaning it'll ruin anything you get it on you don't want dyed.) But using the same technique to tie-dye fabric...it might work. 

Anonymous on Apr 05, 2010:

can u use paint instead of food coloring?

Amy on Mar 30, 2010:

Would this work as well with tie dye for fabric instead of food coloring?

Preethu on Nov 28, 2009:

I think it looks very pretty when it is done ! I have to try doing this project it is so cool!!!!!!

DIY Maven on May 30, 2009:




Rachel on May 29, 2009:

I love this!  I am the admin of a online mommy magazine.  Can I use your image and link back to this page for instructions, giving you credit of course?


This is my site: www.quirkymomma

gooeybear on May 27, 2009:

thanks!! i made a birthday card for my boyfriend with it :)

DIY Maven on Aug 30, 2008:

You're welcome! Making paper is something I haven't tried yet...one of these days!

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