Marble Painting and Printing: Step One of Grandma's Birthday Gift

Sat, 03/19/2011 - 11:32am -- Jessica Baudin-...

Yesterday the girls and I finally tried marble painting. It is something I have been wanting to do with them for awhile and a lazy PJ morning at home seemed like the perfect opportunity. Well I should clarify. I was in my PJs, the girls has decided it was Rainbow Kitty Cat Day (those who know Bria will understand) which is why they both are wearing cat ears and tails.

Bria is at an age that requires her to make funny faces whenever a camera is around and Mimi is at the Monkey See Monkey Do stage so...

Anyway, back to the task at hand. For marble painting you will need marbles, tempera paint, a few small bowls or containers, paper and a cake tray. I also recommend having a bowl full of water and a cloth to rise of fingers and marbles.

The first method we tried is the most popular I have seen in many classrooms and blogs. First take a marble and roll it around a bowl of paint until it becomes coated. 

Next put a piece of paper in the bottom of the cake tray and gently place the marble in. This is where the fun begins, start tipping!

Continue with this process adding one marble at a time, layering the colorful pathways as you go.

The girls very much enjoyed this process. Bria was familiar with this technique as she had done marble painting at school earlier in the year. She was able to work on this very independently.

Mimi needed a little bit more assistance, particularly with the tipping. If I put the marbles on the far end of the cake tray she was very good at tipping them marbles towards her and side to side but  had difficulty figuring out how to get them back to the far side. After she asked " Mama help pwease" I did the hand over hand method to help her guide the marbles around the cake tray. 

After trying the single marble method a few times I wanted to explore another way of using the marbles and the paint together. I started by putting random blobs of paint all over the paper in the cake tray.

Next I threw in a handful of marbles...

And then I started tipping and shaking! At first it looks a bit messy but if you keep it up....

...you get a really beautiful end result!

To get this swirly effect we discovered we needed to shake the tray in a small, fast circular rhythm (like whisking an egg). For a more liner look (or as fashionista Bria put it "Zebra Print") rolling or shaking side to side works best.

The girls LOVED this method. I am very glad we started with the single marble method as I don't think they would have even tried it if I have shown them the multi-marble method first. It definitely gives you more instant results. The final products look very different, both are beautiful, and I wanted the girls to give both a fair chance. But there was no question which method they found the most satisfying.

Bria's comment about zebra print gave me another idea. The night before I had been reading the Artful Parent's blog about Monoprinting (another project I want to try but need to find some plexi-glass first). Looking at the excess of paint on our multi-marble method I decided to see if I could get a similar result by gently pressing another piece of paper over top. 

Success! And as you can see from Bria's smile above she was eager to make her own prints. Not only had we discovered a fun new approach to printing but it added another step to our multi-marble approach and saved on paint and sloppy paper. 

In the course of an hour we managed to make about 20 different marble paintings using various approaches. I love them! 

So now that we have a kitchen covered in artwork what are we going to do with these? Well when I was cleaning up I thought of a great way we can use these to make  Birthday gifts from the girls for my mom! Her birthday is next week so we have a few more days to complete the project. I want it to be a surprise so I will post about what we end up doing next week after we've given Grandma her gift.