Marble painting made easy

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.


The marble-painting project can go in two differentdirections: you can either contain your marbles in a shoe box andshake it around like crazy or you can place the marbles on an opentray and carefully try to keep them from catapulting over the edge(all while practicing those important hand-eye coordinationskills).

  1. Cover your work area with newspaper and don a smock becausethis project has the potential to get messy (though tempura paintsare washable). Cut a piece of plain, white paper to fit the bottomof your shoe box or pan. You may want to tape the piece of paper tothe bottom of the shoebox or pan to keep it securely in place.
  2. Pour several colors of tempura paint into various smallcontainers. Dip a marble or two into each paint container. Using afork or slotted spoon, scoop up a marble, allowing the excess paintto drip off. Place the marbles into the box or pan.
  3. If using a shoe box, replace the top and give the box severalvigorous shakes (throw on a few tunes to get your little artistsmovin’). If using a cookie sheet or pan, roll the marbles back andforth across the paper (the goal is to keep those paint-coveredmarbles from rolling off the edge). Inspect the result andembellish as needed (usually more is better for thistechnique).
  4. Experiment with different techniques to create varied results.Try rolling one marble at a time, allowing the paint to fully drybetween applications. Then try rolling different colored marblestogether at the same time to see how the colors blendtogether.
  5. Once dry, you can cut shapes out of your marble paintings tomake this project even more complex. For example, cut out theletters of your child’s name for a cool nameplate for their bedroomdoor.


  • Sheets of plain, white paper
  • Tempura paints in various colors (it’s important to use awashable paint for this project)
  • At least one dozen marbles (you can substitute rubber balls orother small, round objects that you have around the house)
  • Containers for paint
  • Forks or slotted spoons
  • Shoes boxes, rimmed cookies sheets or 9×13 pans
  • Scissors
  • Smocks
  • Newspaper to protect the work area
  • Tape

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