Handmade with Love

25 October 2020

Alcohol inks and shaving foam

Hello and welcome back crafty friends!  Today I have a fun technique to share with you all using ink and shaving foam!  The possibilities are endless with this and I can guarantee you will become addicted to it like I am!  I could have spent all day playing!  You may need to raid your significant others or even your medicine cabinet for one of the supplies or even make a quick emergency run to the store...but I promise you it is worth it!  Let's get right to it because today's post is a bit of a long one and has quite a few photos and even a wee video for you all.  Let's get to it!
For this technique the supplies you will need are shaving foam (it needs to be foam you cannot use shaving gel), stencils, ink (I used alcohol ink but ink pad any re-inker will work as well as distress re-inkers, but it needs to be an ink in liquid form), a watercolour paper or a mixed media but it needs to be a paper that will be able to hold the moisture as the inks and the shaving foam are wet (I think that watercolour is best), stencils, a non-porous surface on which you will add to and mix your foam and ink...plastic plate, glass baking dish, non stick craft mat. etc. ( just make sure it is big enough and will give you enough room for you mix the foam and inks together, paper towels, something to mix your ink with whether that be a toothpick, a palette knife, butter knife, etc. and then also I used a large fluffy makeup brush (I have never used it for makeup as it is always kept in my craft room).  I think I got it all and hope I didn't leave anything out.

To start I prepared my papers by trimming a whole bunch of paper to 4"x5.25" so that would be done and out of the way.  Next I added some shaving foam to my plate.  I didn't add too much...maybe about a square measuring 4"x4".  Be sure to hold your plate up/vertically rather keeping it flat on your work surface to avoid wearing the shaving foam as it will spray when you add it if it held facing downwards towards your work surface.  I then took one of my palette knives and smoothed out the top of the foam, so the inks would have a somewhat smooth surface to be added to.

Next you want to add your inks.  When choosing your colours, you want 2-3 colours that will blend nicely but will also have enough of a contrast that you will be see each individual colour but also keep in mind colours that will blend together nicely and not look like the colour of baby poop ( I will have an example below of that) 😂  Always refer to your colour wheel when in doubt or if you don't have one, there are plenty to be found on the internet.  Next take whatever it is that you are using to mix the inks and give them a light blend just to move the inks around a bit.  For my example I used Sunshine Yellow, Pool and Stream and I also used the Gilded Alloy because you always need some gold.  If you use one of the alloys, keep in mind that they don't blend like the inks do as they just stay wherever you put them, so always add them in last.  The Gilded Alloy is like liquid gold...it's absolutely gorgeous!

For each of the stencils I used, I gave them a light spray on the back with some temporary adhesive so they would stay put and also to try to minimize the possibility of any shaving foam or ink bleeding, although I did have a bit on some of them.  I also found the best stencils to use for this technique are ones that do not have fine lines or are not too intricate or more involved. The more bolder the in between spaces are on the stencil the better, if that makes sense.  Next position your stencil on your paper where you want it and make sure to protect any parts of the paper with tape or whatever you may have on hand that may not be covered by the stencil, to avoid getting ink or foam on it.

For the next step I thought it would be best to do a little video showing how I apply it rather than simply describing it.  I had to recruit my husband for this part as I don't have any proper setup for videos (at least not yet), so he is my videographer 😂.  Please ignore my extremely dry hands...they are in desperate need of some good cream.  To give a quick summary to on how to add the inks as I didn't speak in the video, you pick up some of the inky foam with your card and just spread it over your stencil.  You are able to somewhat pick and choose what ink you want where doing this as long as you didn't blend the inks too much at first.  And then you just keep adding more foam and ink to it, until you are satisfied with it.  Try not to keep going over it too much, as the more you do the more blended the inks will become and you may risk some of it bleeding as well under your stencil, unless that is the look you are wanting.  You can even go back and add a bit more ink to to your foam and not mix it, so then that way you can pick up that ink and add more concentrated colours in some parts as well as more of the gold, if you use it.

Once you are happy with the coverage of it, scrape off enough of the foam as you possibly can. Try not too leave it on too long though. Next without removing your stencil, take a paper towel and dab away at any remaining foam on your paper and stencil to remove it.  The first time I did this I had removed my stencil and rubbed my paper towel over the paper to wipe away the remaining foam and some of the ink smudged that was sitting on top.  So the next time I tried it this way and it is much more effective and you shouldn't get any smudging of the ink. Make sure you dab at it until it is all removed.  Your ink will also become more vibrant as the foam on top will be gone. Then remove your stencil and set aside to dry.  Unless you get a shaving foam that is unscented, it will also leave behind a slight scent on your paper, so keep that in mind in case you don't want that.

Once they are all dry which doesn't take too long, go over them with the makeup brush and give them a good brushing to wipe away any residue from the foam and ink.  
And that's it for the technique.  It is really easy and quite addictive with so many colour possibilities!  I have included some more examples below of ones I did over the last day and a half.  Some turned out good and some didn't.
These are the 2 that I did with the inks today.  You can keep on reusing the foam and ink as many times as you wish, but the inks will become more blended the more you do.  This heart stencil was really perfect as I didn't get much bleeding of the inks, as you can see there is a bit more white space in between the ink.
You can see nicely the variations between the colours and the gold too.  I love the effects this gives!  You will also get a different variation to it each time, although it is still the same colours.

For the next ones I went a bit lighter in colour for the inks.  It turned out really pretty and a different look compared to the more vibrant colours of the first 2.  However, I did try one of the pearl alcohol inks and it didn't blend at all into the foam like the other inks did.  It came out kind of splotchy and didn't even move like the alloys did on the paper.  The blue spots are the alcohol pearl ink.  So keep that in mind if you want to try one of the pearls.

These next 2 are my fails.  I wanted to keep these in to show you that not all are successes and that not all ideas are great ideas.

This first one the colours were really pretty together, nicer than they look in the photo, but I think my error was in picking a stencil that was maybe a bit more delicate and also I think that I perhaps over applied the foam and ink and it bled quite a bit, so be careful not to add too much to it.  Sometimes less is better.

For the flower I wanted to try and go for a Christmas theme of red and green.  Also my husband gave my his paints to try, so I thought I'd try them on this one.  So I grabbed a green and a red acrylic paint and added maybe 5 or 6 large drops of each (maybe too big of drops) and mixed it in.  On the foam it was really pretty but once I started adding them to the stencil is where the problems started.  To begin with most people know including me, that red and green mixed together will give you a lovely blend of baby poop brown ( I had a temporary lapse in colour judgement).  Well in theory it was supposed to look nice but not once applied, because also the more you go over the foam and ink already on the stencil and paper the more blended the colours will become.  So there you have it.....no red and green together, unless of course that is the look you want to achieve.

This mega bloom stencil was really perfect for it and the elegant swirls as well, as you can see that you have nice and bold lines to it, as well to it.  I also love this colour combination as well.....no idea what colours I used though as I had bottles of ink all over the place 😂.
And finally 5 of the finished pieces.  I love these 2 stencils for this technique.  I do need to get more styles for this as I feel like I will be doing a lot of these in the future (I have a long wish list now).  They are easy, the possibilities are endless and you don't need a whole lot more to finish a card with these, as they definitely make a statement and are the focal point. 

 I made 2 of them into cards and they are simply gorgeous!  I added some very light splatters of white, black and gold ink to the heart and added a few sequins. 
I absolutely adore how these turned and I think I am in love with this technique! And those bits of gold in them just makes them feel more luxurious!  They definitely look like they took a lot more effort and time to make then they did. I would even be tempted to frame one of them!
I hope you have enjoyed my very lengthy and photo heavy post for today.  I really enjoyed making these and I learned a few things along the way.  Definitely do give this technique a try and see just how fun it is!  I'd love it if you let me know below what you think of this and also if you have any questions down in the comments.  Don't forget to subscribe as well so you don't miss out on any future posts. If you happen to give it a try be sure to post photos on social media and tag me so I can see what you made @made.by.michi on Instagram.  
As always I hope you have a wonderful day and take some time for yourself to get crafty!  Thank you so very much for stopping by today and spending a bit of time with me.  
Thank you again and until next time, 
Michelle 😄
Supplies Used:
  • Gillette shaving foam
  • Canson XL Watercolor paper
  • Ranger/Tim Holtz Alcohol Inks - Sunshine Yellow, Pool, Stream, Gilded Alloy and other various colours
  • Marabu Diamond Sparkle Alcohol Ink
  • Altenew Elegant Swirls, Flowing Hearts and Mega Bloom stencils
  • Mama Elephant Heartfelt Wishes stamp and die set
  • Lawn Fawn Black Licorice dye ink
  • Crafters Companion Repositionable Spray Adhesive
  • plastic plate
  • credit/debit/plastic card for scraping
  • palette knife
  • paper towels
  • masking tape
  • Neenah Classic Crest Solar White 80lb paper
  • Canon laser printer
  • Silhouette Studio program
  • misc white cardbase
  • Tombow Multi Mono liquid adhesive 
  • Stampin' Up foam dimensials


8 comments on "Alcohol inks and shaving foam"
  1. Wow they came out great! I need to give this a try. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Thank you so very much Stephanie! I was very happy with most of the results lol. Have fun with it!

  2. I cannot seem to get the video to play to watch your tutorial. Your cards are stunning though!

    1. Oh no...sorry to hear that you can't get it to work. Hopefully I explained it well enough for you then? Thank you :)

  3. thank you for the video, the description and sharing. It seems like a highly addictive process of which I should be mad at you for enabling all crafters, but I'm not. Have a great day.

    1. Thank you very much for the kind words! It is indeed very addictive...sorry 😁 Thank you for stopping by and a wonderful day to you as well!

  4. I'm new to Alcohol inks and I think you're very inventive and your technique isn't in any of the books I've read. Well done from afar and your other half did a fine job on the video. I'm lousy with technology too but if you dream it who needs to be into tech - us girls blow the boys out of the water. You see there's watching and there's doing. I also love your sense of wonder, it will take you wherever you wish to go..

  5. Hello! These are so stunning! I’ve used foam years ago, but this technique is awesome and I must try again. I am wondering though, it seems from your pictures, that after you cleaned the foam off & it dried…. You then added another, what looks like a die cut of same size or shape as the initial stencil), ontop if the pc you worked on with the foam. This was, it covered up any smudges. Is this correct? If so, just wondering where you found a stencil and die cut set like that. Or am I missing something? Thankyou so much for sharing this, it’s beautiful!
    Marlyn from California


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