Marbleized Paper

My kids are always wanting to paint, so I thought I would change it up a little by letting them make this marbleized paper that I found on Unplug Your Kids.  Now I can’t lie…this was messy, so make sure your kids are wearing something to protect their clothing.  And definitely don’t let the word “messy” deter you from trying this out.  It was a lot of fun…and my little girl could have done this all day if I had let her.


  • Cooking oil
  • Food coloring (lots of colors)
  • Small bowls
  • Fork
  • Shallow pan ( I used a 9×13 baking pan…which was the perfect size for our paper)
  • Water
  • Medicine dropper (optional…but it makes it easier for the little ones)
  • Paper – you will want to use something a little thicker than regular paper. We used Mead’s Academie Wirebound Sketch Diary Paper




Put about 1/2 tablespoon of cooking oil into a small bowl.

Then add 1 teaspoon of food coloring into the same dish.

Beat it hard with a fork until well blended.  Repeat these steps for multiple colors…my kids decided to use purple, pink, blue, green and yellow food coloring.

The kids may need a little help with this….as you can see below, my daughter mixed it pretty well, but it still needed to be mixed a bit more.

It will take a couple minutes, but it should end up looking something like this:

Get a shallow pan that is large enough to fit the paper you’ll be using and fill it with just enough water to cover the bottom. Please note that if the water is too deep, and you work too slowly, the color will sink. And my kids LOVED taking their time placing the food coloring/oil in the water, so definitely be aware of how much water you place in the pan.

Now have the kids take the dropper (or gently pouring if you don’t have a dropper), and place drops of colors on top of the water.

When the kids are happy with their design, have them place the piece of paper gently on top of the water.

(In the future we may try making designs using a toothpick or fork to make patterns and swirls in the colors like they did on Unplug Your Kids, but for today I decided to keep it simple).

We let it sit for about 30-40 seconds…the kids thought it was cool seeing the various patterns that the oil would create as it seeped through the backside of the paper.

Slowly remove the paper from the water to reveal the cool design.

Here are a few samples of what we created: