Make marbleized paper at family holiday wrap party

Sunday Signal

By Donna Erickson

Signal Contributing Writer

Whether we’re children or adults, we all like to feel useful and part of the holiday festivities. Now’s the time to enlist the kids in the fun and creative job of gift-wrapping. But before you go out and purchase rolls of wrap, save money by making a beautiful batch for this year’s gifts. 

Gather big paper bags from your recycling bin, plus marbles and bright poster paint, and you’ll be ready for family fun.

Here’s the stuff you’ll need:

  • One large, sturdy cardboard gift box approximately 12 by 18 inches, or similar container with sides
  • several marbles (one for each paint color) 
  • liquid poster paint in several colors
  • spoons (one for each color)
  • plain brown paper grocery bags, construction paper or butcher paper 
  • recycled deli or margarine tubs 
  • scissors
  • newspaper

Here’s the fun:

Cover your work surface with newspaper. Cut open the paper bags and trim a sheet to fit the bottom of the box. (Or, if using construction paper or butcher paper, cut to size.) Place the paper inside. Pour a small amount of each color of paint into the containers.

Drop a marble in one of the paint containers. Shake the container gently until the marble is thoroughly coated with paint, or use a spoon to move the marble around in the paint. With a spoon, drop the marble in the box and shift the box back and forth so the marble rolls in all directions, leaving paint on the paper. Repeat the process, using a different marble for each color of paint desired.

When the colorful, abstract design is complete, remove your paper of modern art and let it dry.

TIP or smaller packages, “shake and create” gift wrap using a clean, large cylindrical potato-chip can with a lid. Loosely roll a sheet of paper inside the can so that it lines the interior. Using one color at a time, roll a marble or two in paint (as described above) and drop in the can. Snap on the lid, shake a few times, remove the lid and put the marble or marbles onto newspaper. Repeat with a marble or two in another color. Remove the paper to reveal your art. You might want to paint jingle bells along with the marbles for a fun, festive sound while shaking.

 Donna Erickson’s award-winning series “Donna’s Day” is airing on public television nationwide. To find more of her creative family recipes and activities, visit and link to the Donna’s Day Facebook fan page. Her latest book is “Donna Erickson’s Fabulous Funstuff for Families.” 

© 2020 Donna Erickson

Distributed by King Features Synd.

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