How to marble with Acrylic Paint

INSIDE : Learn how to make Marbled Crafts using simple Acrylic Paint.  A complete how-to guide to make gorgeous marble DIY projects every time using these simple tips.

Acrylic Paint Marbling

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I have done quite a few marbled craft projects over the course of my blogging years.  I love how each marbled project you make is completely different from the last.  Even with the same materials, same colors and many other similar variables – the outcome can take on a whole new look each time!

Looking for ALL the details on marbling projects?  My Marbling 101 post might be just what you are looking for!

I have done a handful of projects on my blog marbling with acrylic paint.  It can be a little bit trickier, but definitely can be done.  I have done a few marbled jars and even these adorable pumpkins were marbled with acrylic paint.

My very favorite color medium to use in marbled DIY projects is probably nail polish.  However, if you are looking for a fun and even kid friendly marbled technique, using shaving cream is the way to go!  However, today I am going to walk you through all the details of marbling by using acrylic paint.

You might also be interested in the BOOK that I wrote all about Marbling projects!!

What supplies do you need when Marbled Crafts using simple Acrylic Paint?

The main basic supplies needed when doing acrylic paint marbling are below:

Water OR Liquid Starch
Wooden Skewer
Disposable containers
Acrylic paints
4 Disposable plastic cups
Thick paper like card stock or watercolor paper
Other items you could marble : wood pieces, ornaments, gift tags

How to best float acrylic paint :

The best way I have found to float the acrylic paint is by using liquid starch.  If you can’t find liquid starch (I could only find it at the local grocery store), I have an easy recipe to make your own.

I searched high and low for liquid starch and could only find one brand available at my local grocery store.  No other stores appeared to carry liquid starch… but the Sta-Flo brand worked wonderfully, so it seemed worth the effort of searching it out.

Paint Marbling

Ingredients for homemade Liquid Starch:

1 Tbs. cornstarch
1/4 cup cold water
3 3/4 cup tap water
2-3 drops of fragrant essential oil or lemon juice (optional)

How to make homemade Liquid Starch:

1-Bring 3 3/4 cup tap water to a rolling boil.
2-While waiting for water to boil, mix the tablespoon of cornstarch into cold water. Stir constantly until cornstarch is completely dissolved.
3-Once water boils, slowly stir in cornstarch mixture.
4-Remove from heat and let cool.
5-Next, fill a contain with your liquid starch to store.

Acrylic Paints, Red, Pink, Greens

What is the best type of Acrylic Paint to use when doing water Marbling?

In my opinion all acrylic paints I have tried, have worked fairly well when doing marbling projects.  I have noticed that heavier paints will sometimes sink to the bottom of your container and not “float” on the top if you are using water.  If you see the paint you are using does seem to be heavier, you have a few options.

First you can add smaller amounts of paint at a time, as that will sometimes make it lighter weight and float a bit more.  You can alsoyou can thin your paint a bit with equal parts water.

You can also switch out the water and use the liquid starch instead.  Liquid starch is a much more dense liquid and will often allow for the paint to sit at the top, allowing for you to dip an item into it for marbling.  (See recipe to make homemade Liquid Starch above.)

DIY marble with acrylic paint

To diy marble with paint, first start by slightly watering down your paint.  Add equal parts water to your acrylic paint and mix with a wooden skewer.  You should be going for a “milky” look to your paint.  If you add too much water and you will lose the vibrant color.

Slowly drip the paint into your liquid starch mixture.  Using the wooden skewer, slightly run it through your paints to create a lovely marbled effect.  Too much stirring will muddy the paints, so just a few simple swirls will do.

Marbled Bookmark step3

Cut your cardstock down to size and lightly dip the front side of your paper into the paint/water-starch mixture.  Note : There is no need to completely dunk the paper, unless you are wanting to marble both sides of the paper.

Once you have dipped the fronts of your paper, set them aside to dry on paper towels.  As the paper begins to dry, you can place under a few heavy books to keep a more flattened shape.

See how to DIY Marble Bookmarks using this technique.

Easy DIY Marbled Bookmarks

Can you do Acrylic Paint marbling on canvas?

Yes!  Almost any object that you can lightly dip into your container can be marbled with acrylic paint.  The main issue with marbling on canvas would be find a canvas that will fit into your disposable container.  But otherwise, canvas marbling would be a great creative idea!

Acrylic Paint Marbling

Where to buy marbling paint?

I think using regular craft acrylic paint is just fine for most marbling projects.  However, if you really are looking for a “marbling” paint I have heard good things about this Bokuundo Marbling Paper Origami Marbling Kit.

If you are looking to do acrylic paint pouring, this FolkArt Marbling Paint Pour set is a favorite.


Marble with Acrylic Paint for beginners or kids:

Marbling is a great craft pastime for people who are just starting out and for kids, too.  It is a technique that can really go numerous different ways with no concrete right or wrong paths.  If you are a beginner or super advanced, you can still create gorgeous marbled projects!

Make sure if you are marbling with kids and using acrylic paints, to set out a washable or wipeable tablecloth and to have art clothes on.

Acrylic Paint Marbling

Acrylic Paint Marbling

If you are looking how to do all kinds of marbling projects, you might enjoy these too:

How to Marble using Nail Polish

Nail Polish marble craft

How to Marble using Shaving Cream

Shaving Cream


  1. You mentioned that if you use too much water the colours will be muted? How do I if my made starch mixture is the right consistency? I used decoart medium.

    1. You want your paint to just be a little like thick milk in consistency. If it’s too watery then the colors will be muted since it’s more water (or decoart medium) than paint. I suggest doing a small test batch first, that way you can figure out the best quantities for the look you want and once you have it perfected, you can try on your real project! If you follow the starch recipe, it should be the right consistency. Happy marbling!

  2. I’m curious about making Christmas ornaments. What do you suggest for a larger quantity project

  3. Hi! Would this work on Styrofoam you think?
    Thank you!

    1. It might since you are using acrylic paint. If you used nail polish, for example… it would sort of errode the styrofoam.

  4. Two questions – does the paint stick to the paper without having to pre-prepare it with alum? Also, with carageenan you have to rinse the slimy surface off of the marbled paper. Doyou need to do that with cornstarch size too?

  5. Marina Giddings says:

    I’ve used nail polish to marble in the past but have far more colors in acrylic paints at the moment so am going to give this a try on some rocks.

  6. Suzanne Hinton says:

    Does this marbling work on glass balls?

  7. Debra Gash says:

    I had no luck with other approaches to using acrylics, so I was excited to see your article. The instructions are confusing though. After making the liquid starch, why are you putting it in a spray bottle? Wouldn’t you just pour it into your marbling tray? If I can find the prepared liquid starch, does that completely replace the water or am I adding it to the water, and at what ratio? Thanks!

    1. Laura Sidwell says:

      I’m wondering the same thing about the liquid starch… I am going to make some up anyway &hopefully figure out!

      1. delineateyourdwelling says:

        Laura, thanks for your comment. Sorry for the confusion there. The liquid starch (homemade or pre-made) goes directly into a tray and will replace the water. There is no need to use both when marbling. Let me know if you have any other questions! 😉

        1. Ann Wilson says:

          Hi, I would like to do marbling on some terracotta pots. What do you recommend I use as I don’t want it to run off when applying and when the post is in use

    2. delineateyourdwelling says:

      Thank you for your questions. I just edited the post to clear things up. You are correct, after making the liquid starch you can either fill a small container to store or pour directly into your marbling tray. And if you can find a pre-made liquid starch, then you do not need any water… the starch replaces it. Let me know if there is anything else! Thanks.

  8. Jenny Lind says:

    I love this craft!!! I did it with my 7-year-old daughter’s class and they had a blast!!! Thank you so much, Amy!!

    1. delineateyourdwelling says:

      Oh I love hearing that! Glad they all enjoyed it. 😉

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