Painting with Marbles

Painting with marbles - an art idea for toddlers and up that's a bit messy but great fun, and the results are lovely!
(E was 29 months old.)


You’ll need:

  • Marbles.
  • Paint.
  • Heavy paper.
  • Shallow box, box lid or similar.


We used a large box lid and simply placed a piece of heavy paper inside. We didn’t need to tape it down but depending on the weight of your paper, you may prefer to use some tape to hold it in place.

I put blue, yellow and red paint on a small plate and showed E how to dip her marbles in the paint and roll them across the paper.


Dipping marble in paint.
Rolling a marble across the paper.

She tried using a marble as a sort of paintbrush at one time


A marble

but mostly, she stuck to rolling {and tossing} the marbles on the paper.


Tossing a marble.

After a while, I showed her how to tilt the box lid to roll all the marbles at once. She really enjoyed that and managed to keep all the marbles contained almost all of the time.


Tilting the box lid.

After some tilting in all four directions, our piece of art looked pretty nice


Intermediate stage of our marble painting.

but we weren’t even close to having used all the marbles or all the paint.

I suggested we put all the marbles straight in the paint, and E placed them carefully on the plate, then dumped them on the paper.


Placing all the marbles in paint.
Dumping the rest of the marbles on the paper.

Some more tilting


Making the marbles roll over the paper.

and our marble painting was complete!


Mixing the paint some more.

The clean-up was quite fun as well: We simply dumped the marbles and the plate in the sink.


Plate and marbles in the sink.

E had fun playing with the water and doing some pouring


Water pouring.

and ended up getting everything cleaned up almost without noticing it.


Cleaning the paint off the plate.

What I learned:

It really wasn’t as messy as I’d thought.

Sure, our hands ended up quite colorful but it washed off easily, and we only had the odd marble on the floor here and there that was easily picked up. E did an awesome job keeping the marbles contained in the box lid.


Additional suggestions:

  • Use water beads instead of or in addition to marbles.
  • Use nuts.
  • For smaller scale art, use a food storage container.
  • Put a lid on your container and shake it.


Have you tried painting with marbles? Tell me about it in the comments!




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