DIY Paper Marbling

DIY Paper Marbling

QUICK, name TWO things that don’t mix well…

…Ketchup and eggs

…White T-shirts and red Kool-Aid

…Toothpaste and orange juice

….How about oil and water?

oil water experiment

We’ve experimented with oil and water in the past with our DIY Lava Lamp. We learned that oil is lighter than water and therefore floats on top. Recently, we revisited this idea with a really fun science/art project called paper marbling. It was a relatively easy project that produced incredibly awesome prints.

oil water experiment

Ryan, my 5 year old son loves to paint with acrylic and watercolors. However, this was that first time I had let him use oil paints. I explained that oil paints are exactly what the name says… they’re oil based paints and the oil in the paint was a very important part in our project!  

oil paint

DIY Paper Marbling



***Please note that oil paints do not wash easily off of containers and trays. You should use something that is either disposable or designated for solely art purposes.

    1. In a small mixing bowl, mix equal parts of colored Oil Paint and Turpenoid. We used about 1 Tbsp of each. Mix thoroughly with a paint brush or disposable spoon.
    2. Repeat this for each desired color you wish to use. We used four colors: Red, Blue, Yellow and Green.
    3. Fill your shallow pan with about ½” of water.
    4. Using a straw, place your Oil Paint colors directly into your shallow pan of water. The color should float on top of the water.
    5. After you reach your desired amount of color, gently lay a piece of Cardstock Paper down into the pan and on top of the oil color. Leave it for about 30 seconds before lifting.
    6. When you pull the paper up, the color will magically adhere to the paper revealing an amazingly colorful, fun design.
    7. Continue to add color for each additional print.
    8. You can use another straw to blow the colors around or you can gently swirl the water in the pan to create different effects.

oil paints

oil paints

paper marbling instructionspaper marbling instructions

paper marbling instructions

paper marbling instructions

Suminagashi art is an ancient technique for marbling paper using ink. Sumingashi means “floating ink.” If you’re interested in trying it but don’t want to take the time to set everything up, they also sell a paper marbling kit on Amazon for around $15.

Check out our cool designs!

paper marblingpaper marblingpaper marblingpaper marblingpaper marblingpaper marblingpaper marbling


  1. Patti March 3, 2014 at 3:02 pm

    Patti recently posted…Act Like a LadyMy Profile

  2. Skye March 3, 2014 at 3:05 pm

    Fantastic! Pinned, we definitely have to try this with my little artist.
    Skye recently posted…7 Kids’ Books About Superheroes (and Supervillains!) That Adults Can Love TooMy Profile

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