Kids Arts and Crafts Activities Printmaking

How to Marble Paper with 6 Easy Techniques for Kids

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Child making marbled paper

Updated January 2021

Marbling is one of our favorite art activities and we’ve done it many ways and many times over the years. We’ve marbled paper with all kinds of paints from watercolors, tempera, acrylics, and even food coloring. We’ve marbled all kinds of surfaces. And we’ve tried every technique from Suminagashi to shaving cream marbling.

If you’d like to learn how to marble paper, read on. I’ll share six ways that are easy, fun, and kid-friendly.

marbled paper
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How to Marble Paper (6 Easy Techniques)

Note: Many of these marbling techniques will work fine on other materials as well—cardstock, cardboard, paper plates, wood blocks, craft sticks, ornaments, boxes, and even Easter eggs. So no need to limit yourself to paper.

shaving cream marbled paper

1. DIY Marbled Paper with Shaving Cream

The best, easiest, and cheapest DIY marbled paper is done with shaving cream marbling. This is one of our all-time favorite art activities for toddlers on through adults. Seriously. You have to try it. You can also check out my video of shaving cream marbling in action!

Oil & water marbling for kids

2. Marbled Paper with Oil and Food Color

Marbling with oil and food coloring is one of the easiest ways to marble paper and it uses materials you likely already have at home. Beautiful!

How to Marble Paper with a Suminagashi Kit

3. Suminagashi Marbling

Suminagashi is the ancient art of Japanese water marbling. You can buy this simple Suminagashi kit for about 10 bucks, as we have done, and have everything you need except for the paper.

This has been one of our favorite art activities and we owe Valerie Deneen of of Inner Child Fun a big thanks for introducing it to us. Here’s her post on Suminagashi for kids that started it all for us.

Paper Marbling with Acrylic Paint - let dry

4. Marbled Paper with Liquid Starch

This is a marbling technique for kids that I’ve always wanted to try and sorta did and sorta didn’t. (We made our own starchy medium with cornstarch and it was only partially effective.) But apparently you can use liquid starch to marble paper easily as the starch keeps the paint near the surface.

Here’s a tutorial for marbling with liquid starch on Buggy and Buddy (they used their marbled paper to make artful Christmas Trees).

UPDATE: We’ve since done this technique a few times and it works great! Here’s my post about paper marbling with acrylic paint and liquid starch.

making marbled paper with milk and watercolors

5. Marbled Paper with Rainbow Milk

One of our most repeated science experiments is the rainbow milk experiment. You use food coloring and dish soap to create beautiful explosions of color as the dish soap interacts with the milk fats.

My friend Ana from Babble Dabble Do helps her kids capture the beauty with marbled milk paper prints as they do the experiment, combining art and science.

How to Marble Paper with Nail Polish

6. Nail Polish Marbling

Marbling with nail polish is very effective and fun, but, shall we say, a bit smelly. Nail polish works beautifully for marbling, though, and we marbled our way through many Christmas ornaments, cards, and wooden shapes a couple of years ago using this tutorial for marbling with nail polish on Design Mom.

Because of the smell and relative permanence of the nail polish, not to mention the smell and toxicity of the nail polish remover you need to use when removing said nail polish from areas it shouldn’t be, I wouldn’t recommend this marbling technique for little kids. But it’s definitely worth at least one try with older kids and adults. (It makes an awesome ladies craft night!)

purple marbled paper

How about you? Which of these marbling techniques have you tried already? Which ones do you want to give a go at?

More Marbling Activities for Kids

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How to Marble Paper - 6 Easy Ways for All Ages
How to Marble Paper with 6 Easy Techniques for Kids

14 Comments

  • Reply
    Dustin
    September 13, 2017 at 7:39 pm

    Love these ideas! We have twin girl toddlers who love getting into shaving cream ha, never thought about actually doing a project with that. Going to try it out this weekend!

    • Reply
      Jean Van't Hul
      September 18, 2017 at 4:23 am

      Awesome, Dustin! Have fun with it! :)

    • Reply
      Erinne
      January 25, 2021 at 8:34 am

      Used shaving cream in the preschool. not only a fun project but it really cleans up your table and leaves a nice scent

    • Reply
      Lori Yost
      April 16, 2021 at 2:39 am

      You can do so many awesome crafts with shaving cream!

  • Reply
    inlay Art in Agra
    May 7, 2018 at 9:32 am

    Amazing Art, Good Talent, Thanks for sharing this amazing guide about marble paper creation. Glad to learning this work. This is really A good talent, great POst keep sharing,

  • Reply
    Pranacintya
    July 6, 2018 at 4:45 am

    Thanks for sharing, it’s very helpful ^^
    I want to start make my own marbling but I don’t know which paper is good to use. Do you have any recommendation?

    • Reply
      Jean Van't Hul
      July 6, 2018 at 7:45 am

      I’d suggest a sturdy white paper or card stock. Which technique were you planning to use?

  • Reply
    chelsea
    February 27, 2020 at 3:06 pm

    Have you noticed any smell left behind as the paper that’s been milk soaked dries and ages? I was thinking about using this method to dye paper for a junk journal project I am working on, but was a little concerned about a sour milk smell developing.

    • Reply
      Jean Van't Hul
      February 28, 2020 at 1:55 pm

      I’ve actually not kept this kind for long, so can’t answer your question. Perhaps ask Ana at Babble Dabble Do for her experience (just follow the link above). Good luck!

  • Reply
    Tamsin
    May 3, 2020 at 11:03 am

    Have today created coasters with my children using the nail varnish technique (great rainy day activity!!) & they’ve come out beautifully! My littlest loved the way the varnish sort of ‘lifted’ straight off the surface of the water. I’m sure the children will have some very happy grandparents, aunties & uncles! Thank you for the excellent post & detailed instructions. 🤗

  • Reply
    Katherine
    November 7, 2020 at 6:45 am

    Can anyone tell me how to marble with emulsion paint and water

    • Reply
      Jean Van't Hul
      November 10, 2020 at 5:03 am

      Hi Katherine. I suggestion googling “how to marble with emulsion paint and water”

  • Reply
    Yasmin Casaceli
    March 27, 2021 at 3:57 am

    Hi Jean,
    Thank you for these great ideas. Which of these methods which you recommend for marbling hollow easter eggs? Im thinking the shaving cream…the soft fall of the shaving cream and easy to variate how colourful they turn out.?

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