Please Don't Eat the Artwork


The Parthenon and DIY Marbled Paper Tutorial


Warning: this project is AWESOME. I was inspired by this picture:


3rd graders learned about the Parthenon and were fascinated to learn that parts of it have been stolen! We began by creating the background using watercolors and salt to get that cool tie-dye effect.

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Students thought about what they wanted their sky to look like: sunset? stormy? night? day? One student made a “Norfire” sky which was basically just a sky filled with red dragon fire. It was hardcore. Next class period, we got messy. And when I say “messy” I do not mean your average art room mess. I am referring to my room and the kid’s hands being covered in shaving cream. “Shaving cream?!” you ask incredulously? Why yes, you heard me correctly. Shaving cream!


(Okay so the picture makes it look not really messy at all but trust me it was.)

So in order to make the “marbled” stone for our Parthenons, we had to create marbled paper. I went to a hardware store with one of these strange people and bought an actual piece of marble to show the kiddos. They noticed the beautiful colors and even the veins just like in our arms.

To make marbled paper you will need:

Paper. . .

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LOTS of shaving cream . . .


Baking trays at least a couple inches deep. . .

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Popsicle sticks or chopsticks or kebob stick thingies. . .

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Liquid water colors (we used metallic and bright colors).


You will also need a few pieces of cardboard cut about 6×9 but I don’t have a picture. Just turn your imagination on to picture it. Go ahead. . . I’ll wait . . . . Okay are you ready now? Good!

Step One: Fill up the pan about 1/3 with shaving cream. Use something flat (like the imaginary cardboard) to gently smooth the top flat.

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Step Two: Sprinkle some liquid water color onto the shaving cream. Two colors work pretty well but more than 4 would probably end up looking muddy.

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Step Three: Use a stick of some kind to create the ‘veins.’ The kids pointed out that it looks like cake or brownies or even a graph if you criss-cross.

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Step Four: Place the piece of paper on top. GENTLY press down – do not smoosh it! Make sure you get all of the corners and especially the middle.

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Step Five: Peel off the paper carefully and use the imaginary cardboard to scrape off the excess shaving cream. This step is really important because it is the great reveal of (drumroll please) AWESOME MARBLE PAPER!!


The whole process left my room smelling quite clean 🙂

After the marble paper extravaganza, it was time to construct a Parthenon. Students used crayons to create a hill and folded, cut, and glued paper to construct columns and a pediment.


They even added ‘ruins’ and details with torn paper scraps and all sorts of interesting things in the sky.

With some people:


With some snowflakes:


With stars and a sun:


With warm colors:


With a rainbow, hearts, and stars:


With a rainbow sky:


With a triangle sun:


Put a bird on it:


With a dragon!





With a rocket ship!


On a serious hill:


After students finished, they gave a title to their artwork and wrote all about it.




This project was a great success. I am a big fan of cross-curricular activities and this one involved history, writing, math, and even science. These are currently hanging up in the Media Center windows so everyone who passes by can marvel at the amazing 3rd grade artwork.

Author: artwithmsk

Hello! My name is Ms. Katzin and I am an art teacher at an elementary school near Atlanta, Georgia. Teaching art is my passion and I love what I do!

9 thoughts on “The Parthenon and DIY Marbled Paper Tutorial

  1. PHENOMENAL LESSON! I love love love this!! 🙂

  2. Your marbled paper is really nice. So cool that you constructed your Parthenons with ‘real’ marble.

  3. ya, wow, this is definitely an awesome project with equally beautiful outcomes. 🙂

  4. Pingback: Letters to Ms. K | Art With Ms. K

  5. Great post Ms. K! I can see how the kids would LOVE this!!

    FYI, I used it as a reference on a recent paper marbling tutorial I did myself a week or two ago, figured it might be a a good resource for some of your readers…

    Keep up the good work and again, many thanks!
    ~ Paul

  6. Pingback: Italy and Greece | Please Don't Eat the Artwork

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