How to Paint With Marbles

Updated on January 24, 2018
Glimmer Twin Fan profile image

Claudia has been writing about crafts online for many years. She is an avid crafter who has been creating for most of her life.

How to Paint with Marbles - Step by step tutorial with video
How to Paint with Marbles - Step by step tutorial with video | Source

A project perfect for all ages and abilities, marble painting is a quick and easy craft everyone is sure to enjoy. It works well on a rainy day when kids can't play outside and also with people who have special needs. I have done this craft with seniors, adults with special needs, and children ages five to 13. They have all enjoyed it and were able to do it easily. Note that this is not a good craft for very young children because the marbles can present a choking hazard.

Marble Painting Supplies
Marble Painting Supplies | Source

What You'll Need

  • Marbles
  • Paint. I recommend using washable paints. This project gets messy.
  • Paper. Use a heavier weight sketch paper. It will hold up well and is easily put up on the wall or framed.
  • Baking tray. It should have a raised edge. If you don't have a tray, use a shoebox.
  • Scissors
  • Paper towels

Fun Color Combinations to Try

Theme
Colors
Valentine's Day
Reds, Pinks, Silver & Purples
St. Patrick's Day
Greens
Easter
Pastels
Patriotic
Reds, Whites & Blues or whatever patriotic colors your country has
Thanksgiving
Reds, Browns & Yellows
Christmas
Reds, Greens & Whites

1. Set Up the Paper

Get paper ready for painting.
Get paper ready for painting. | Source
  • Lay the paper on your surface. In the example photo, I used a baking tray with a raised edge.
  • Choose your paint colors and place drops of them around the paper. You can use as many or as few colors as you wish. I have found that using more than five colors tends to get muddied and the color ends up turning gray.
  • Hint: Don't use too much paint in each drop. It takes forever to dry and it is hard to roll the marbles around.

2. Add the Marbles

Place the marbles on the tray.
Place the marbles on the tray. | Source
  • Put the marbles on the tray. For this example, I used five marbles. You can use as many or as few as you wish, although I would suggest using more than one.

3. Start Painting

Start rolling the marbles around.
Start rolling the marbles around. | Source
  • Start rolling the marbles around. You can pick up the tray or just shift it around while it is on the table.
  • Continue until you are happy with the look of your painting.
  • Let it dry completely overnight.

4. Hang It Up

Finished marble painting.
Finished marble painting. | Source

Watch the Technique

Marbling

According to marbleart.us, marbling "is the art of printing multi-colored swirled or stone-like patterns on paper or fabric."

Marbling has been around for over 1000 years, with beautiful examples in ancient turkish and japanese texts. It is known as suminagashi in Japan.

Today there are artists who specialize in ancient marbling techniques. Take a look inside the cover of a book you have on hand and you may see an example of marbling.

Marble painting - a great craft for kids of all ages and abilities!
Marble painting - a great craft for kids of all ages and abilities! | Source

Create Your Own Masterpiece

You may think marble paintings look vaguely like paintings from the famed artist Jackson Pollock. He was best known for his "drip and splash" method of painting. In a recent auction, one of his paintings sold for a whopping $58.4 million dollars.

Who knows, maybe you or your child will create a masterpiece one day. Even your child doesn't create that million dollar painting, I bet they will feel like a million bucks when you proudly display their beautiful picture!

Jackson Pollock or your own?

Would you rather make your own marble painting or own a "drip and splash" one by Jackson Pollock?

See results

Questions & Answers

    © 2013 Claudia Mitchell

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      • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image
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        Claudia Mitchell 4 years ago

        Thank you Hendrika - I bet your granddaughter would love this craft and like you said, you don't need too many supplies. Most people have everything on hand. Have a nice day.

      • Hendrika profile image

        Hendrika 4 years ago from Pretoria, South Africa

        I love this one because you do not have to using so many supplies. Another thing is my granddaughter is pretty impatient and wants to see results pretty soon so this is ideal

      • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image
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        Claudia Mitchell 4 years ago

        Hi rajan - I'm glad you enjoyed the craft. It's amazing how much kids enjoy doing crafts. Thanks for reading and commenting.

      • rajan jolly profile image

        Rajan Singh Jolly 4 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

        Fun craft and educative. I always did wonder how a marbled look was given to a sheet or fabric and know now how it is done. Thanks for this tutorial, GTF.

      • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image
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        Claudia Mitchell 4 years ago

        Robie - I think anyone can have a good time with this. One of the kids in Sunday school did not want to do it, but when I said he could stand up and shake it around like he was dancing, he loved it. Said it was a picture of his dance! Thanks so much for the nice comments.

      • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image
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        Claudia Mitchell 4 years ago

        Hi Mary Merriment - I hope you have a good time. It's so much fun. Thanks for the support!

      • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image
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        Claudia Mitchell 4 years ago

        Many thanks pstraubie. Hope your family enjoys it. I have some family visiting right now and it's rainy so I thought the kids could do it today or tomorrow. My daughter already told me she was "bored" and it's her 1st day of summer vacation. I appreciate the support.

      • Robie Benve profile image

        Robie Benve 4 years ago from Ohio

        Great hub, I can just imagine the fun my kids will have with this activity! Even the boy, that is not fond of art can really enjoy marble painting. Thanks for sharing. Voted up and interesting - and pinned it!

      • Mary Merriment profile image

        Mary Merriment 4 years ago from Boise area, Idaho

        I love this. I love this. I love this!

        Thank you for sharing. I'm very excited to give this one a roll!

      • pstraubie48 profile image

        Patricia Scott 4 years ago from sunny Florida

        How cool this is, Glimmer Twin Fan

        You are just a bottomless well of clever crafts. My family will be visiting soon and we always do crafts so we will give this a try. Thanks for sharing...Pinned and voted up.....Angels are on the way...ps

      • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image
        Author

        Claudia Mitchell 4 years ago

        Hi epbooks - Your friends' kids will love this craft. It's a good one if families are on vacation and stuck inside on a rainy day too, especially with summer vacations here now. Thanks for reading.

      • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image
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        Claudia Mitchell 4 years ago

        Oh I loved to finger paint. My daughter always did too, but the mess sort of bugged me. Thanks for reading aviannovice.

      • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image
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        Claudia Mitchell 4 years ago

        Thanks so much Eddy - This is definitely a fun craft to do.

      • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image
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        Claudia Mitchell 4 years ago

        I appreciate it Rebecca. I don't think I've ever done blow painting, but it would be great fun for kids too! Thanks for the suggestion and for commenting.

      • epbooks profile image

        Elizabeth Parker 4 years ago from Las Vegas, NV

        I never heard of this before. Great idea for my friends who have children. Thanks for posting! Voted up useful and interesting!

      • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image
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        Claudia Mitchell 4 years ago

        Hi Suzie - Thanks so much for your support. I really appreciate it. Your craft sounds like fun too. I love working with watercolors. Have a nice Sunday.

      • aviannovice profile image

        Deb Hirt 4 years ago from Stillwater, OK

        This looks like fun. Remember when we used to fingerpaint in the old days?

      • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image
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        Claudia Mitchell 4 years ago

        Thanks so much Mike! It's a fun project.

      • Eiddwen profile image

        Eiddwen 4 years ago from Wales

        Thank you so very much for this wonderful gem.

        Eddy.

      • rebeccamealey profile image

        Rebecca Mealey 4 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA

        How cool! This reminds me of some projects we used to do in school, like blow painting, where you blow the globs of paint around with a straw.

      • Suzie HQ profile image

        Suzanne Ridgeway 4 years ago from Dublin, Ireland

        Hi GTF,

        Love the simplicity of this and that it is good for kids and special needs. What fun it looks and reminds of a style I do with watercolors and salt.

        Many thanks for a fun easy craft anyone could do! Votes, shared and pinned!

      • Mike Robbers profile image

        Mike Robbers 4 years ago from London

        Such a creative and fan activity! The painting pictures are also great. Nice hub Glimmer!

      • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image
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        Claudia Mitchell 4 years ago

        Thanks reading and commenting moonlake.

      • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image
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        Claudia Mitchell 4 years ago

        Hi CozyPozy - glad you decided to stop by and read. Hope you give it a try sometime.

      • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image
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        Claudia Mitchell 4 years ago

        BlossomSB - It can be easy to overdue the paints and then it gets muddied and gray, but to each his own. My daughter likes to put a lot of colors down and she adds lots more marbles. I think she likes the sound it makes when she shakes the shoebox. Thanks for reading and commenting.

      • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image
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        Claudia Mitchell 4 years ago

        Thanks for the pin purl3agony. I'm glad you liked the hub and appreciate the comments.

      • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image
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        Claudia Mitchell 4 years ago

        Thanks europewalker. I'm glad you enjoyed it and the video.

      • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image
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        Claudia Mitchell 4 years ago

        Thanks so much Teresa Schultz. I have never tired the method you described, but that would be fun too, except the dizzy part. I appreciate all of the support

      • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image
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        Claudia Mitchell 4 years ago

        Hi Ceres Schwarz - Boy I wish I could create an image that was worth millions, but this is fun too, especially with the kids. Many thanks for reading and commenting.

      • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image
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        Claudia Mitchell 4 years ago

        Thanks Martin! This is one of those projects one could do quite a few times. It's fun to see what kind of pattern you'll get.

      • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image
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        Claudia Mitchell 4 years ago

        Thanks so much for commenting and sharing Michelle. I appreciate it.

      • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image
        Author

        Claudia Mitchell 4 years ago

        Hi Rebecca - Those days are right around the corner in my house. This is definitely one of those easy projects to fill in a couple of hours. Glad you enjoyed the hub.

      • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image
        Author

        Claudia Mitchell 4 years ago

        Thanks so much Bill. I'm sure your grandson would love this. Especially if he is visiting and you are looking for something to do. Thanks for sharing and reading!

      • moonlake profile image

        moonlake 4 years ago from America

        The marbling looks like a a lot of fun. Enjoyed your hub voted up.

      • Jackie Lynnley profile image

        Jackie Lynnley 4 years ago from The Beautiful South

        Looks like fun...I bet there are other things too to roll around in there for a different look, huh? I bet kids would really love this and would it ever keep them busy. Great idea, thanks for sharing. ^

      • CozyPozy profile image

        CozyPozy 4 years ago from USA

        Before I read your article, I had a completely different notion of what it would be about, but I love it! And I'd love to give it a try. Really cool!

      • BlossomSB profile image

        Bronwen Scott-Branagan 4 years ago from Victoria, Australia

        That's a different slant on marble painting and I love it. As you suggest, it's suitable for anyone to try. I think the aim would be to not overdo it as that's when the colours would be too mixed and lose their vibrancy. Might even try it myself!

      • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image
        Author

        Claudia Mitchell 4 years ago

        Thanks Bill! I remember that machine too. Maybe I should open up a carnival stand and charge money! I could make a lot this summer at all the local fairs. Thanks for reading.

      • purl3agony profile image

        Donna Herron 4 years ago from USA

        Love this idea!! I need to pin this :) Thanks for sharing!

      • europewalker profile image

        europewalker 4 years ago

        That is a fun and creative project for kids. Liked the video, voted up and useful.

      • Teresa Schultz profile image

        Teresa Schultz 4 years ago from East London, in South Africa

        Marble painting with actual marbels. Who would have guessed?! Looks like fun. I've tried getting a similar effect marble painting with dripping printer ink or runny paint onto paper, and then blowing the paint in all directions through a straw, but if one isn't careful and one gets too excited trying to blow for a long time or too hard, one may get a bit dizzy. No chance of getting dizzy with using marbles to make a marble painting. Great hub, voted up and useful, and shared with my HubPages followers.

      • Ceres Schwarz profile image

        Ceres Schwarz 4 years ago

        This is such a creative and interesting hub. And this marble painting is definitely a fun activity to do especially for kids. The images you have on marble painting look really nice. It would be good to be able to create a masterpiece that can sell for millions of dollars.

      • Mhatter99 profile image

        Martin Kloess 4 years ago from San Francisco

        This is so clever. It looks habit forming. thanks

      • midget38 profile image

        Michelle Liew 4 years ago from Singapore

        Sounds beautifully abstract and most importantly, fun! Thanks, Glim!

      • rebeccamealey profile image

        Rebecca Mealey 4 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA

        How cool! And in time for those long, boring summer days after the fun of just getting out of school wears off!

      • bdegiulio profile image

        Bill De Giulio 4 years ago from Massachusetts

        Glimmer, aren't you creative? What a great idea. Might have to try this with our grandson. Looks like such fun and so easy. Thank you for sharing this wonderful idea. Voted up, shared, pinned, etc...

      • billybuc profile image

        Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

        How very clever and what a great activity for kids.

        There used to be a machine at some of the fairs...you put paints on a small canvas, and then placed the canvas on the turntable and it would swirl quickly, and the results were pretty cool. This reminds me of that old carnival crafting booth. :)

        Good job my friend. Have a great weekend.

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