Moving Marble Prints

Rock, roll and print with marbles! This unconventional way of painting energizes hand-eye coordination and divergent thinking.


This activity can be messy. So, prepare yourself, your child, and your work area accordingly. Picking up the marbles, dipping them and sometimes dropping them, will definitely leave paint on your child’s fingers and your work area. To make cleanup more snappy, mix a drop or two of liquid detergent into the tempera paint. Washing up will be soapier and easier! For quick cover up ideas, check out our FAQ.

MATERIALS - click to buy
  1. Round cake pan, 8 inches wide, like this one found on Amazon. We find that pans under 9 inches are best for preschool hands. Also, a rectangular cake pan can do in a pinch, but a circle-shaped pan works best to maximize your marble movement.
  2. White paper - You can use printer paper or white construction paper found here. Either works equally well.
  3. Markers, for tracing your pan shape. If your little one is helping, use big, child-friendly, washable markers like these
  4. Scissors, for adults to cut the paper to fit the cake pan
  5. Glass marbles - You can find glass marbles here online and in your local dollar or craft stores.
  6. Liquid tempera paint, from jars like these or in tubes found here, in at least two colors. The more colors the better, to capture more movement and color mixing.
  7. Small containers for your paint, like these 8 ounce plastic snack bowls with lids or a recycled yogurt containers.
  1. Prepare your paper so it fits in the bottom of the cake pan. Your child can help you do this. Use the cake pan to trace around with a marker. Then, cut along the traced lines.
  2. Skilly Spark: Chat about marbles and how they look, roll, and how you usually play with them. Let’s use marbles in a different way today.
  3. Place the paper in the bottom of the cake pan.  
  4. Now it’s time to dip the marble in the paint.
  5. Then the marble goes into the pan and your little artist moves the pan, tilting and shifting it to make the marble roll around. With each movement, watch the marble create lines and squiggles of paint plus some “marble music” on the side!
  6. Repeat with another color of paint. You can use the same marble for the second color or another one if desired. Watch how the colors mix.
  7. Use two or even three marbles at once and watch what happens!
  8. Keep on rolling until your child’s interest wanes.


Keep the fun going
  • Mix it up with different kinds of paper like newspaper, left over wallpaper, or brown paper bags.
  • Try other round, washable objects, such as ping-pong balls and beads to inspire different effects.
  • Would you like complementary or analogous colors with your marbles? Use several related or analogous colors of paint, such as red, yellow, and orange. Then, choose to use unrelated or complementary colors, like green and orange to see what happens next.