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How to Do Paper Marbling with Liquid Starch

by Jean Van't Hul
January 2, 2022
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How to do paper marbling with acrylic paint and liquid starch. This is a great activity to do with your kids to make holiday crafts, cards, and handmade gifts!

Updated March 2022

Paper marbling is one of our favorite art activities and one that we’ve done many different ways over the years, but this technique is especially easy and fun.

Using acrylic paint and liquid starch creates beautiful and unique designs on your paper. Although pretty messy, this activity is perfect if you’re looking for handmade cards and gifts for the special people in your life!

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Paper Marbling with Acrylic Paint and Liquid Starch

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  • Acrylic paint (either liquid craft acrylic paint or regular thick acrylic paint that you thin with an equal amount of water)
  • Liquid starch
  • Thick paper, such as watercolor paper or card stock
  • Paint brushes
  • A plastic tub to do the marbling in (we used a plastic shoe storage box)
  • Something to protect the table such as a plastic tableclothyou definitely want to protect your table and your clothing for this activity!

Note: You don’t just have to marble paper! We’ve tried other items like wood pieces, blank ornaments or blank gift tags


  1. Create the marble design

    Pour 1/4 to 1/2 inch of liquid starch into your plastic tub. Then add drops of the liquid acrylic paint.

    Paper Marbling with Acrylic Paint - Adding paint to starch

    Note: We made our thick acrylic paint liquidy by putting a dollop in our cup then adding an equal amount of water and mixing completely with a paint brush.

    Paper Marbling with Acrylic Paint - Swirling the paint for a marble effect

    Swirl around with the end of a paint brush.

  2. Transfer your marble design to paper

    Set a piece of paper (or, in this case, a blank gift tag) on top of the starch and paint design. Press slightly to make sure that the marbled design transfers to the paper evenly and there aren’t any air bubbles.

    Paper Marbling with Acrylic Paint - Add paper

    Lift up and admire your marbled paper.

    Paper Marbling with Acrylic Paint - reveal marbled paper design

  3. Let Dry

    Set down on the plastic tablecloth or on a piece of wax paper to dry. The liquid starch will stick to most other things as it dries, which you don’t want!

    Paper Marbling with Acrylic Paint - let dry

  4. Marble more things!

    Repeat the steps above to make more beautiful marbled paper or to marble other things such as pieces of wood or canvas as well as paper shapes and strips.

    Paper Marbling with Acrylic Paint and Liquid Starch

We love this wooden star wand that we picked up at the craft store for $1!

Paper Marbling with Acrylic Paint - marbling ideas and gifts

NOTE: The acrylic paint is permanent so keep that in mind as you work and protect your work surface and clothing. You can also do this with tempera paint.

More Marbling Ideas for Kids

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How to Do Paper Marbling with Liquid Starch

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