KidsPost demonstrates how to create a pretty vase for Mother’s Day. Follow the steps below. You’ll need an adult’s help at the end, plus some patience. (Photos by Marvin Joseph/The Washington Post)

Marbled paper coverings for fancy books and journals have been around for centuries. The paper features colors swirling around each other unevenly to make a unique pattern. But it’s not just paper that can be turned into something beautiful through marbling. Glass can, too.

We’d bet that a certain someone would love a bouquet of flowers in a custom-made marbled vase. (Hint: Mother’s Day is Sunday, May 14.) You may think this project looks difficult and expensive. It’s not. You can find the materials at your local craft store for about $10. The only trick to marbling is thinning the paint: It shouldn’t be too thick or too runny. And remember, you need a few days to let the paint dry. Great artwork, after all, can’t be rushed.

Adult’s help:

Hands-on time:
25 minutes

Total time:
About 3 days

The supplies you’ll need.


• Newspaper or craft paper

• Glass vase, clean and dry

• Acrylic paints (at least two colors)

• Small paper cups (Dixie cup or other brand)

• Water

• Plastic spoon or other stirrer

• Paper plate or plastic cup

• Plastic wrap

• Clear spray sealant, glossy


1. Spread newspaper or craft paper on your workspace.

2. Spoon or squirt paint colors into separate paper cups.

Prepare the paint.

3. Add a small amount of water (start with ½ teaspoon for every 2 tablespoons of paint) to thin the paint. Stir the paint and water until mixed. Tilt the cup gently to make sure the paint moves around the bottom of the cup. Add more water if needed and stir again.

Adding water.

Stirring the paint.

4. Pour a small amount of each thinned paint into the bottom of the vase.

Pouring the thinned paint.

5. Slowly turn the vase sideways and roll back and forth to cover the lower part of the vase. (Be sure to do this over newspapers.) Add more paint and continue to turn until the inside of the entire vase is covered.

Now time to marble.

6. Place vase upside down either in a plastic cup, if the cup will not fall over, or on a paper plate covered with plastic wrap. (The wrap makes it easier to remove the vase.) If paint has gotten on the outside of the vase, wipe it off with a damp sponge.

The paint will start to drip down in the first of two drying sessions.

7. Let dry overnight, then change plastic wrap or cup to remove built-up paint. Continue drying for 24 hours, then turn right side up and dry for 24 to 48 hours.

When the vase completely dries after a minimum of three days, look what you’ll have as a gift for Mom!

8. Touch the inside of the vase gently to make sure the paint has dried. Shake the can of spray sealant. Have an adult help spray the sealant into the vase to protect the paint from water damage. Allow to dry for 2 to 3 hours.

If you choose the same paint colors, you can make a set.