Painting with Glass Marbles

Painting with Glass Marbles

Time to find your marbles! Toss the paintbrush aside, turn on some tunes, and rock and roll with paint-covered marbles to create a new abstract masterpiece. See what kind of shapes and designs you can make with just marbles, paint, and gravity!


  • Marbles
  • Acrylic Paint 
  • Tray or Shallow Box
  • Paper
  • Plastic Cups
  • Tape

Step 1: Tape down a sheet of paper inside a shallow box, lid, or baking tray. Place tape either underneath the paper or on the outer edges of the article.

Step 2: Put a small amount of paint into each plastic cup. Add a little water if the paint is thick to help make it runny, and mix well. 

Step 3: Place one marble into each paint cup. Gently rock the cup to coat the marble thoroughly in the paint.

Step 4: Use a spoon to scoop the marble out of the cup and place it anywhere on the paper. 

Step 5: Tilt the baking tray or box as much or as little as you want to make the marble roll around the page, leaving a line of paint in its path. 

Step 6: Play around with different types of tilting and shaking, such as a figure-eight motion. Try to create different shapes and lines! 

Ideas to take your marble painting to the next level: 

  • Try to create a landscape scene using one marble at a time. Tilt the tray in short, circular motions for the leaves of a tree or a bush.
  • Draw the outline of a flower, then color in the petals using the marbles. 
  • Use blue painter’s tape to section off parts of the paper before you put down the painted marbles. When the paint is dry, peel off the tape to reveal the white of the paper. 
  • Cut your paper into different shapes, such as a heart, a favorite animal, or the silhouette of a common object. 

Learning and Discussion Questions:

1. Do you notice a similarity in the style of marble painting to any famous paintings? If you said yes, then you are probably thinking of American artist Jackson Pollock. Pollock was known for his abstract “drip and splash” technique. 

A. When you painted with the marbles by tilting or shaking the tray, which technique looks like a drip and which one looks like a splash?

B. Follow this link to learn more about Jackson Pollock and to view some of his paintings.

Thank you to our sponsor, PNC Arts Alive!, for helping to make this video possible!

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