• Made by Molly G.

Northern Lights Marble Painting


Learn a fun and exciting new painting technique in this arts and crafts activity which is perfect for school-age kids! We will be creating wintering night landscapes with colorful and bright Northern Lights in the background painted using marbles! A happy snowman in the middle of our picture will complete the scene. This is a great indoor activity to do on a chilly winter day and it will allow you to practice following directions, and express your creativity!


Supplies:

  • Pink, blue, green, and purple paint

  • 5 small bowls or cups for the paint (paper/plastic if you have them)

  • Marbles of different sizes

  • Aluminum foil tin or shoe box (big enough to fit a piece of construction paper)

  • 3 pieces of Black construction paper

  • Penci

  • Scissors

  • White construction paper

  • Black and Orange markers

  • Glue

Activity Steps:

Walk the participant through your activity!

This should include things to prepare prior to activity, any ti


ps for activity or reminders and be sure to make them developmentally appropriate; reminder no bullets or numbers!


Before you get started, make sure you have a clear, clean, and flat work space and a caregiver’s permission to use paint and scissors!


Marble Painting


Step 1: First, set out your pink, blue, green, and purple paints, along with your 4 small cups or bowls. Now, you are going to add a small amount, just about a nickel sized squirt of paint to the bottom of each bowl or cup, so that each color is in its own bowl or cup. Remember, you can always add more paint to your cup later if you need, but you can’t put it back after you already squeeze it out. So, less is more for crafts using paint! Once you have that done, drop a marble into each cup or bowl and swirl the cups or bowls so that the marbles get coated in the paints. *Tip: you may need a toothpick to help move the marbles around in the cups to coat them.*

You can then set those aside for a moment.


Step 2: Now, grab one of your pieces of black construction paper and your shoe box or aluminum foil tin. Place your piece of paper inside the tin or box.


Step 3: For this next step, you get to choose if you want to paint each color by themselves or all at the same time! So, grab your paint cups again and gently tilt each bowl or cup over the tin/box so that the marble falls into the box.

*Tip: I really like seeing how the marbles interact when you have them in the box to paint all at the same time, but if you want a longer activity or a more precise painting, then you can paint each color separately and just repeat this step for each different colored paint coated marble one at a time.*



Step 4: Now that the marbles are in the box, next comes the exciting part. You can now shake your box/tin back and forth, forward and back, around in circles to allow the marbles to roll and add paint streaks all over your paper. Make sure not to get too wild while shaking so that the marbles don’t fly out of the box and get paint all over your workspace!


*Tip: If a marble is running out of paint, just drop it back into the paint cup to coat it again and put it back into the box.*

You can do this for as short or as long as you want until you get the desired Northern Lights design! Did you know that the Northern Lights are also called the Aurora Borealis? When you are all done, set the box/tin aside to allow your paint time to dry.


Cutting out your black shapes


Step 5: Next, you will need another sheet of your black construction paper, scissors, and a pencil. With your paper turned so that it is longer side-to-side than it is up-and-down, starting about the length of your pointer finger from the bottom of your page, using your pencil, draw a long wavy line across the sheet going side to side. This is going to be the hills at the bottom of the picture.


When you are done, use your scissors, and cut along the line you just drew. Remember to check with a caregiver for permission for using scissors, or ask for help if you need it! Take the smaller piece of paper that you just cut and set it aside in a new pile we will make of pieces to glue to the background when it is dry. Keep the bigger piece in your work station for later.


Step 6: Next, we need our final piece of black construction paper that we haven’t used yet. We are going to make two evergreen trees using triangles! We are going to use our pointer finger as a stencil. We will need two sets of three different sized triangles. We will make them from biggest to smallest. Near one of the edges of your paper, take the pointer finger of the hand that you don’t use to write and lay it on the page. Take your pencil and draw a line the same length as your whole finger.


Now, pick up your finger and lay it at the end of the line you just drew so that it makes the shape of a “V”.


Using your pencil again, draw a line the same length as your whole finger. You can pick up your finger now. Finally, connect the two ends of your lines to create a triangle. When you are done, cut it out.


Step 7: Now, take that piece you just cut out and lay it on the piece of black construction paper. Using your pencil trace around it. When you are done, you can use your scissors and cut out the shape you just traced. Set aside both large triangles when you have finished.


Step 8: Next, we are going to make our medium sized triangles. Again, take the pointer finger of the hand that you don’t use to write and lay it on the page. Take your pencil and draw a line from the tip of your finger to your second knuckle (where your finger bends).


Now, pick up your finger and lay it at the end of the line you just drew so that it makes the shape of a “V”. Using your pencil again, draw another line from the tip of your finger to your second knuckle (where your finger bends).


You can pick up your finger now. Finally, connect the two ends of your lines to create a triangle. When you are done, cut it out.


Step 9: Now, take that piece you just cut out and lay it on the piece of black construction paper. Using your pencil trace around it. When you are done, you can use your scissors and cut out the shape you just traced. Set aside both medium-sized triangles when you have finished.


Step 10: Next, we are going to make our small triangles. Again, take the pointer finger of the hand that you don’t use to write and lay it on the page. Take your pencil and draw a line from the tip of your finger to your first knuckle (where your finger bends).


Now, pick up your finger and lay it at the end of the line you just drew so that it makes the shape of a “V”. Using your pencil again, draw another line from the tip of your finger to your first knuckle (where your finger bends).


You can pick up your finger now. Finally, connect the two ends of your lines to create a triangle. When you are done, cut it out.


Step 11: Now, take that piece you just cut out and lay it on the piece of black construction paper. Using your pencil trace around it. When you are done, you can use your scissors and cut out the shape you just traced. Set aside both small triangles when you have finished.


Step 12: Finally, we need to make the trunks for our trees and the hat for our snowman. Pick up the rest of the sheet of paper that you used to cut out the hills. We are going to use our pointer finger as a stencil again. Lay the pointer finger of the hand that you don’t use to write down on the paper. On the page, using a pencil, draw a line going from the tip of your finger to your second knuckle (where your finger bends).


Now pick up your finger and lay it down on the page so that the tip of your finger touches the end of the line, making a shape that looks like an L. Draw a line from the tip of your finger to your first knuckle (where your finger bends).


Now you can pick up your finger. Complete the shape by finishing to make a rectangle. You will need to draw another line that goes up and down and another line that goes side to side to connect the rest of the shape together.

When you are done, you can cut the shape out.


Step 13: Now, take that piece you just cut out and lay it on the piece of black construction paper. Using your pencil trace around it. Do this so that you have 3 traced rectangles on your page. When you are done, you can use your scissors and cut out the shapes you just traced. Set aside two of the rectangles and keep the other two at your workstation.



Putting together our trees


Step 14: Next, we are going to assemble our trees. Grab both of your big triangles, both of your medium triangles, both of your small triangles, and your glue. To start, line up your triangles so that there is a flat edge lined up with the table, and facing you, and a point facing toward the top of your workspace.


Bring your big triangles in front of you. Add a little bit of glue to the top of the point at the top of the triangle.

Now take your medium triangle and place on top of this so that you cover the tip of the big triangle and you have a flat side of the medium triangle at the bottom. Do the same thing with the other big and medium triangles.


Step 15: Next, add a little bit of glue to the top of the point at the top of the medium triangle.


Now take your small triangle and place on top of this so that you cover the tip of the medium triangle and you have a flat side of the small triangle at the bottom. Do the same thing with the other tree and small triangle.


Step 16: Finally, flip over your trees on your work space. Add a small drop of glue to the top of your rectangle trunk at a short edge and flip over to attach to the middle of the edge of the big triangle base of your tree.


Do the same thing with your other tree and rectangle trunk. When you are done, set aside your trees to dry.


Cutting out snowman pieces


Step 17: We are now going to cut out the shapes for our snowman. You will need your pencil, white piece of construction paper, unused small cup or bowl for a guide to make your circles, and scissors. Place your small cup or bowl, open-side down, on the piece of paper and use your pencil trace around it. When you are done, move the cup/bowl over on the page so that it isn’t touching the circle you just drew and trace another. Again, when you are done, move the cup/bowl over on the page so that it isn’t touching the circle you just drew and trace another.


After you have three traced circles on the page, set aside the cup/bowl. Next, using your scissors, cut out the circles you just traced.


Step 18: Now, we are going to put together our snowman. You will need the 3 circles you just cut out, the 2 remaining rectangles, glue, and your black and orange markers. Add a small amount of glue to the top and bottom of one of the circles you cut out.


Place another circle on each of the dots of glues so just a small area of the curves are overlapped, and you are making a line of circles. When that is done, set it aside.


Step 19: Now, with one of your rectangles facing so that it is taller up and down rather than side to side, add a small amount of glue to the bottom one one of the short side edges. Place your other rectangle, this one being longer side to side than it is up and down on top of this glue to make a hat shape.


Step 20: Now, flip your line of circles over so that the middle circle is underneath the other two, and add a small bit of glue to the top curve of the top circle.


Place the hat shape with the longest side of the long rectangle at the bottom on top of the glue to add a hat to the snowman.


Step 21: Finally, we will add a face and buttons to the snowman. Using your black marker, add two dots for eyes and a curved line of dots for a smile to the top circle with the hat attached to it.

To the middle circle, add a line of 3 dots going up and down in the middle to be the buttons. Finally, using your orange marker, in between the eyes and smile on the top circle, we will add a nose. To do this, make a sideways V so that the point is facing to the right edge of the snowman’s head. Set it aside when you are done.


Adding the pieces to the background


Step 22: Last thing we are going to do is add all of the pieces to our background picture.


First, we will need to take out our painting from the box/tin and make sure that the paint is dry. If it isn't, wait to do these steps until it is. Mine is dry, so I am going to keep going now. Take the hills that you cut out and add some glue to the back.


Decide which long edge of the painting you want to be the bottom and press down the hills along that edge, so that the wavy side is in the middle of the page and the edge is lined up with the edge of the painting.


Step 23: Now, we are going to add the snowman. Flip your snowman over so you can’t see its face and add a line of glue going up and down the back.

Press it down in the middle of the painting so that the bottom of the bottom circle overlaps with the hills you just added.


Step 24: Finally, we will add the trees. Flip over the tree so you are looking at the side you want to glue on the page and add glue going up and down the cut-out.


Press it down next to one of the sides of the snowman, so that the trunk is connected to the edge of the hills on the page. Repeat this step again for the other tree, but put it on the other side of the snowman.



Now, your winter-y Northern Lights Marble Painting is all done! Be sure to show it off to all of your friends and family and share with them everything you learned about the Northern Lights throughout today’s activity! Keep this cool painting technique in mind, too, for the next time you want to do an arts and crafts project with a twist! There are so many ways that you can use this technique to create other pictures - let your imagination and creativity run wild!


~By Molly G.

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