Making Marbleized Artwork

Category Painting
Create beautiful marbleized artwork on paper using cooking oil and food colors or water and nail polish. This is a great project of kids as well; younger ones will likely need guidance. The instructions and photos follow.


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This is a fun way to marblize paper with food colouring and oil, using no harmful chemicals. Since oil and water don't mix, the food colouring only stains the paper where the oil doesn't settle, creating beautiful and exciting scenes. Hold the finished works up to the light and you'll see amazing patterns in your newly translucent paper. This is a fantastic and low-cost craft to do with kids.

Total Time: 20 minutes, plus dry time


  • cooking oil
  • food colouring
  • a cup or bowl per color
  • fork
  • baking dish filled with water
  • card stock or regular paper


  1. Pour a small amount of oil into the cups or bowls.
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  3. Add some food colouring to the oil.
  4. Mix the colours and oils vigorously with the fork.
  5. Gently pour or drop the oil colours into the dish of water.
  6. Immediately lay a piece of paper on the water.
  7. Add more colours and repeat the process.
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  9. To get different types of patterns or colour saturation, pour the oil colours directly onto the paper and let it roll around.
  10. Let the papers dry.
  11. Hold them up to the light for the beautiful translucence. This one was thinner paper.
  12. Thicker card stock pieces make for awesome backings to homemade cards.
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This is a fun, simple way to create eye stunning and unique artwork without having to have any artistic talent. You can use this technique on countless objects to gain the same marbleized look, but for this project I've chosen canvas panels. All you need is the object you want marbleized, a bin filled with water, and nail polish and you too will soon be creating beautiful artwork and decorations.

Marbleized Artwork - red and white artwork

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Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

April 15, 2015

Can I use corn flour to make the size for marbling? I can't find cornstarch and the other methods are not in my price range at the minute. I need to know for my art project.


By Lydia


November 17, 20170 found this helpful
Best Answer

I am an art educator( art teacher) and I marble paper w shaving cream ( Dollar tree) and liquid watercolor or food coloring or koolaid. I spray a layer of shaving cream in a tray, pizza pan something like that. Then drizzle the liquid watercolor, or food coloring ( pour several drops in a half cup and add the rest water and stir). If its not as bright as you would like add more drops. If you come across Neon food coloring snatch up several bottles. They can be hard to come by. Now w Thanksgiving and lots of baking happening, you should be able to find them. Take a wide tooth comb after drizzling the color, and wiggle the comb through the shaving cream and color. Fluorescent acrylic paints thinned and drizzle keeps everyone ohhhing and ahhhhhing! Prepare your paper before hand. I use a good quality construction paper and cut the paper according to the project.


Lay the paper on top of the surface tapping carefully to make sure the surface of the paper touches the mixture. Have lots of newspapers handy and when you have the entire surface of the paper touching, pull the paper out of the tray and gently pull the paper off and while on the newspaper gently scrap the shaving cream off the paper. I saw someone use a squeegee (We don't have money like that) so we use a ruler. Gently drag the ruler across the surface to remove the shaving cream. We reuse the mix adding more color and or shaving cream. Have gloves handy to wear while creating these sheets. We don't use gloves we are artists! In school students write their name and teacher code on the back of the paper. Its a messy project but we all love it! We were just talking about this project today. Enjoy!

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