It has been a long time since I have done marbling with my charges, so long in fact, that all the marbling ink has dried out.  Never fear.  We can make our own oil and water marbling trays.

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To make your own oil and water marbling trays you will need:

  • Oil*
  • Baking tray
  • Food colouring or liquid watercolours
  • Card stock or watercolour paper
  • Oil based food colouring (optional)
  • Water
  • Pipette

*I used baby oil as it is a clear colour, but you can use cooking oil too.

Start by filling your tray with a small amount of water.  It needs to completely cover the bottom, but not too much, otherwise you will need a lot of colouring for it.  Plus, if you want to change the water colour you will need to throw it all away.

Add your watercolour liquid or food colouring to your water.  It needs to be quite vibrant to show up on the paper.

A few years ago, when BB was a baby, I made 2 tone water sensory bottles for him.  To do that I coloured the oil using oil-based food colouring.  Thankfully, I still have 2 little bottles left (not that I would use them in cooking any more), which are very handy for moments like these.  I used these to dye the baby oil so that we had an assortment of colours.  Remember you can’t use ordinary water-based food colourings on oil, they will just bead in the oil.

oil and water marbling trays

Add the oil to the water tray with the pipette and swish it around to get a nice patter.  This part is great for little ones to do.  Using the pipette will help develop fine motor skills.  Just remember if you add too much oil then none of the water will stick to the paper.

oil and water marbling trays

Place your paper onto the water surface and push it under the water.

oil and water marbling trays

Leave your paper to dry on a cooling rack.

When your paper is finished these make great gift tags of fronts for cards.

If you enjoyed making your own oil and water marbling trays, be sure to check out my surprise rainbow drawing, oil and water play activity, and simple marbling thank you cards.

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oil and water marbling trays