Painting with brushes is fun. But painting with marbles is really fun. Everyone will love the abstract, Jackson Pollock-like finished product created by rolling marbles dipped in paint around a plain sheet of paper.
- Sheets of plain, white paper
- Tempura paints in various colors (it's important to use a
washable paint for this project)
- At least one dozen marbles (you can substitute rubber balls or
other small, round objects that you have around the house)
- Containers for paint
- Forks or slotted spoons
- Shoes boxes, rimmed cookies sheets or 9x13 pans
- Newspaper to protect the work area
The marble-painting project can go in two different
directions: you can either contain your marbles in a shoe box and
shake it around like crazy or you can place the marbles on an open
tray and carefully try to keep them from catapulting over the edge
(all while practicing those important hand-eye coordination
- Cover your work area with newspaper and don a smock because
this project has the potential to get messy (though tempura paints
are washable). Cut a piece of plain, white paper to fit the bottom
of your shoe box or pan. You may want to tape the piece of paper to
the bottom of the shoebox or pan to keep it securely in place.
- Pour several colors of tempura paint into various small
containers. Dip a marble or two into each paint container. Using a
fork or slotted spoon, scoop up a marble, allowing the excess paint
to drip off. Place the marbles into the box or pan.
- If using a shoe box, replace the top and give the box several
vigorous shakes (throw on a few tunes to get your little artists
movin'). If using a cookie sheet or pan, roll the marbles back and
forth across the paper (the goal is to keep those paint-covered
marbles from rolling off the edge). Inspect the result and
embellish as needed (usually more is better for this
- Experiment with different techniques to create varied results.
Try rolling one marble at a time, allowing the paint to fully dry
between applications. Then try rolling different colored marbles
together at the same time to see how the colors blend
- Once dry, you can cut shapes out of your marble paintings to
make this project even more complex. For example, cut out the
letters of your child's name for a cool nameplate for their bedroom
Caitlin Murray Giles is a full-time mother of three and part-time freelance writer living in Wicker Park.
See more of Caitlin's stories here.