Painting with Marbles

This week we tried a really fun, new-to-us painting method using marbles.  The setup and painting action is very simple, but the designs you can create can be quite complex!  This is definitely great “process” art, but I think the end products look worthy of display, too.  

All you need to try this fun painting activity is a box, paper cut to fit the bottom of the box, paint, and a few marbles.  

The first thing you do is find a box; a cardboard box that you can later recycle or throw away, or some sort of plastic box which can be washed out would probably work best.  We used a plastic shoe box.

Next, cut a sheet of paper to fit the bottom of the box.  We used construction paper, but you could use anything.  Thicker paper like card stock or paper intended for paint would be the best if you want to display your creation.  If you’re just enjoying the process of this activity and don’t care as much if the paper wrinkles as it dries, you can use any type of paper — even junk mail.  That tip might come in handy if this becomes a popular art project at your house!

After your paper is in the bottom of the box, squirt some paint in there.  We used washable tempera paint in red, yellow, blue, and white.  

Add in a few marbles.  We used 3-4 each time.  


Then try different movements with the box to see what kinds of patterns you can create on your paper.  You can try turning and tilting the box.






Lilah exclusively used the turn-and-tilt method to create her masterpiece, which is thusly composed of all straight and diagonal lines.  Luke started out using her turn-and-tilt method, too.  


Then he found he liked the patterns that were made by swishing and swirling the box with its bottom flat on the table the best because he was able to make swirls and curvy lines.  Experiment away and see what style you like best!









Here were Luke and Lilah’s finished designs still wet and in the box.


When L&L said they were finished with their design, I dumped the marbles into a measuring cup at the sink and rinsed them off with my hands.  The paint comes off very easily if you go ahead and clean them while they’re still wet.  Then I very carefully pulled the paper out of the box and laid it on a metal rack to dry.  We have an extra rack that goes in our toaster oven and I usually just use that!

Here were our wet finished products:


And here are our dry finished products:



I think these would look great matted and framed, or pasted to the front of a homemade greeting card.  Very artsy! 🙂

If you like this post, be sure to follow our fun 
or by subscribing via RSS or email!
You can contact me at inlieuofpreschool (at) gmail (dot) com.

This post may contain affiliate links.

Genny Upton

A former teacher turned stay at home mom to two preschool aged children. Creator (and writer) at In Lieu of Preschool and Parent Teach Play. Currently publishing my first children's picture book!

  • Jenner says:

    Cool idea! Going to try this with my kids. Thanks!

  • […] but more about enjoying and experimenting with the process.  We’ve tried salad spinner art, marble art, painting with pumpkins, and several variations of pour painting to name just a few examples of […]

  • >