No Mess Marbled Painting

This no-mess version of marbled painting was quick, easy, and inexpensive to make! Plus, it kept the girls occupied all morning while we experimented with different paint color combinations!

Both of the girls loved the way they could move the paint and swirl the colors all around without getting their hands dirty!

To make your own, ย you will need a heavy-duty ziplock bag (make sure it is heavy-duty, don’t skimp here!), some water-soluable paint (washable paint works fine, as do liquid watercolors), some baby oil, and packaging tape.

To the (heavy-duty) ziplock bag, I added the baby oil first, then the water-soluble paint in about a 1:1 ratio. I didn’t measure it, just eyeballed it. We used two colors of paint in each bag, and I even added some glitter to one of the bags, just for fun! Gently let as much air out as possible, then seal up the bag very well. Use packaging tape along the top of the bag to seal it up completely.

To make the bags a little more sturdy, I added some frames I made up using a couple of file folders from the dollar store! I taped the bags to the inside of the file folder frames using some more packaging tape.

While we’re not afraid of messy art in this house, I have to admit it was nice not having anything to clean up this time!

Have fun!!

I linked this post to:

Get Your Craft On @ Today’s Creative Blog
Works for Me Wednesday


  1. Dear Valerie,

    I have to admit, I am surprised that we even had baby oil in the house…. are you trying to tell me something?


    • It was a pretty small bottle, and I think it’s been under the bathroom sink for a couple of years now.

      And also, are you INSANE????? I’m already out-numbered as it is! ๐Ÿ˜‰

  2. Ohhh excellent idea! Will do this, definitely ๐Ÿ™‚
    (I’m totally outnumbered, too- 3 to 1 hehe )

  3. I’d say Mark is outnumbered, but I see where you are going with this ๐Ÿ™‚ I think this is even more fun than just tracing bags with one color – adding it to my “to do” list.

    • It really is! And the colors stay separated really nicely. My girls “painted” with them all day!!

  4. I like the addition of glitter.

    • Messy art doesn’t scare us, but I have to say glitter is where I draw the line!! It gets into EVERYTHING!!! Emily loves it, but I hardly ever bring it out. This was a really nice compromise for us! Have fun!! ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. Oh, I am definitely doing this. I would love to make up a bunch of these and give them to the kids at my next story hour. Hmmmmm…. Maybe. I like the addition of glitter too.

    • That is a great idea!!! It would be the most awesome story hour EVER!! They are super-fast to make up, so I’m sure you could have a batch made up in no time.

  6. Love it! We will try this too. The “no mess” idea is great!


  7. How do you do it? You seem to come up with the most marvellous ideas day after day- another thing to add to my list!

    • That’s so sweet, Deanne, thank you!

      I really don’t have a secret, but I confess that most of my ideas seem to come from never really growing up! I would have LOVED something like this when I was a kid, but I get to enjoy these things with my girls now and for that I am extremely grateful. I love focussing on these moments of our day, even if they only last for a few minutes, it’s worth it!

      Have fun!! ๐Ÿ™‚

  8. What a great idea. I love how clean it is!

  9. A fantastic idea…again! Thank you.

  10. oo Love this! Added this to the list of activities to try!

  11. Great idea. Love it. Putting this in the file for a possible project at our upcoming art party.

  12. My girls give it a thumbs up!!

  13. Love this idea! I wouldn’t have thought to use a frame support! nice touch
    Going to try this with the kiddos this week !

  14. Very nice adaptation of the classic “paint in a ziploc bag”! Does the baby oil keep the colors from mixing?

    • Yes, the baby oil does a good job of keeping the colors from mixing, as long as you use water-soluble paint. Have fun!

  15. You have no idea how fabulous this idea is for my toddler who LOVES to fingerpaint and for me who does NOT love the clean-up. This one goes to the top of my list! Thanks!

  16. I love this and this is something that all my kids will love to do!

  17. I love the way the colors blend so smoothly!

  18. Idea: what if you squirted the paint onto a piece of cardstock, then put plastic wrap over it and taped all the edges? Then it could be cleanly swirled around, and you could peel the plastic off to let it dry into more permanent art. Might be a fun variation! (Or then again, it might not marble well…)

  19. Just found your blog and love it. We did something similar to this not long ago-we’re not afraid of messy art here either, but it’s nice to have non-messy stuff some days too!

    I added your button to my blog (bottom right column of every page ๐Ÿ˜‰ )

    • So glad you stopped by, and thanks so much for adding our button to your blog! I really appreciate it! xoxo ๐Ÿ™‚

  20. That is really cool! I so have to figure out a way to do this. I wonder if you could use it for handwriting practice?

  21. OH my gosh. This is so cool. We are still so busy trying to get our house in order that I feel like art time with my little man has taken a very back seat. But, this we could so easily do and NO CLEAN UP. You are my hero!

  22. I like this idea. Does it dry? Did you hang it up? I want to make one myself when the kids aren’t here. LOL.

    • It has a nice zen-like quality to it! It doesn’t dry, they just like swirling the paint around with their fingers.

  23. It’s a great idea!!

  24. That is a fabulous idea ๐Ÿ™‚ I was just thinking, if you want to take the label off of the ziploc baggie, you can use rubbing alcohol and it should wipe off nicely. Thanks for the idea.

  25. WOW…this looks like so much fun! We have to do this! I’ll let you when we do!

  26. can i use olive oil, dont have any baby oil

  27. We did this at a baby class once. I was so bowled over by it that I bored people with it for ages. It works well for babies as it is clean (of course) and it is novel for them, as they don’t have much opportunity to play with paint. I hadn’t thought of doing it with the older girls. Thanks for reminding me of a great activity.

  28. Wow, this looks like so much fun. Love the frames you made for them. And great for teaching about combining colours too.

  29. Dear Valerie,
    I am an art teacher from Israel and I just LOVE your Blog !!
    I got many Ideas from them.
    Thank you very much.
    Keep on with your ideas…

  30. I may use this as a sensory activity in therapy. We do paint and messy stuff in baggies, but I have never added the oil to have the swirly dual color effect.

  31. I love this idea. We tried this and it worked great using veggie oil. I would use a fine glitter as the stuff I had on hand was a courser variety and caused punctures in the baggie. But it was still fun.

  32. Such a great idea! I’ll try this today with my 3 yr old (although he prefers REALLY messy activities!)

    • LOL What 3 yr old doesn’t enjoy getting messy? I’m so happy you’ll be giving this a try — it’s fun!!

  33. What a wonderful idea! I’m definitely trying this the next chance I get. Just stumbled on your blog and I LOVE it! ๐Ÿ™‚

  34. What a great distraction for young minds to explore. You had me a no mess!

  35. Thank you for the idea!
    It looks like a good travel game too. If the zipped bags are already on a board and framed.
    have a good summer!

  36. We did this last night and LOVED it! How fun. We will be doing it at our art party in September. Great idea.

  37. We tried this a few days ago. Worked PERFECT! My kids loved it. I am going to use it again at our art party on September 18th. Thanks for all the great ideas. I gave you props in my post about it.

  38. Hi – love this idea, I’m having as much fun swirling the paint around as the kids are! My colours are mixing after a little while though – could this be because I’m using too much / too little oil? I’m using readymix paint. Thanks ๐Ÿ™‚

  39. I love this idea. I had planned on a similar project for color mixing with my playgroup. The baby oil is a great and I will do this one too! Thanks! Following you on Twitter and FB. Love all the blogs I keep finding! Keep up the great work!

  40. I am a preschool teacher and we do something similar to this in our center. Actually in the infant room they have clear contact paper on the floor sandwiched with paint/oil in the middle of another clear contact paper and then the whole 3′ x 5′ thing is sealed to the floor with clear packing tape. The babies love crawling on it, and the parents love messing with it too! I have a permanent one on one of my walls in the art area. It gets played with every day! I love this version as it is so portable. Thanks for sharing.

  41. Do you think it would work with vegetable oil? I used all my baby oil to make a wave bottle ( – scroll down to see the wave bottle). Guess I’ll just try the canola and see if it works.

  42. Fantastic! Bookmarked it and can’t wait to try it out!! Thanks

  43. Lovely, thanks a lot, can I use plastic sealed bag that we use for sandwiches ???


  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Early Childhood, Valerie. Valerie said: New Post ~ No Mess Marbled Painting: This no-mess version of marbled painting was quick, easy, and inexpensive to … […]

  2. […] So simple. Hours of fun! Get crafty ย  ย  get crafty ย  No Mess Marble Paper Oh my oh my oh my. Valerie at Frugal Family Fun, really is a genius. I keep marvelling at the latest wonder she comes up with! This one is […]

  3. […] 3- Per aconseguir efectes de marbrejat amb pintures de colors i oli corporalย  als qualsย  es poden afegir altres elements opcionals com purpurines. La proposta รฉs de Frugal Family Fun. […]