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Ink Art

Ink Art Activity

based on 3 ratings
See more activities in: Fifth Grade, Arts & Crafts

Your kid probably already knows that oil and water don’t mix, but he might not be aware that this natural repulsion is used to produce beautiful art. The Japanese noticed how floating ink and oil could make undulating patterns hundreds of years ago and created the art form called suminagashi, which means “spilled ink” in Japanese. This project can involve some trial and error, so multiple test runs are recommended. But one thing is for sure: Your child will have lots of fun!

What You Need:

  • Disposable aluminum pie tin, or a small shallow pan that you don’t care about.
  • Water
  • Light-colored construction paper
  • Scissors
  • India ink, black works best, available at most craft stores (Be careful! This can stain) 
  • Light oil (baby or corn oil work fine)
  • Small container for the oil
  • Toothpicks

What You Do:

  1. Find a stable table and cover it with protective paper.
  2. Have your child fill the pie tin two-thirds of the way up with cool water. Let settle.
  3. Cut the construction paper into 4" x 4" pieces. 
  4. Help your child drop a single drop of black India ink into the pie tin. Let it spread.
  5. Have your child use the toothpick to place a tiny drop or two of oil in the center of the ink puddle.
  6. Again, using the toothpick, assist your child in lightly swirling the oil and ink. Don't vigorously stir, or the effect will be lost.
  7. Help your child drop another single drop of black India ink in the tin, in a slightly different location.
  8. Have your child use the toothpick to place yet another drop of oil in the center of the new ink puddle.
  9. Keep swirling, looking for unmixed places.
  10. Assist your child in placing a piece of construction paper on top of the ink and oil mixture. Press lightly.
  11. Remove the paper. The pattern of swirls should have transferred to the paper.
  12. Place the paper on a flat surface with the ink facing upward. Let dry.
  13. Is you kid having fun? Let him try it again. Dump out the contents of the pan, rinse the tin out, and fill it with fresh cool water. Let the water settle before beginning.

These marble papers can be also be used as part of bigger art projects. Your child can glue his best example to a folded piece of construction paper. He might also consider drawing fish, dolphins, boats or other objects or creatures you might see in the water on top of his wavy creations.

Updated on Mar 11, 2014
Printable Workbooks from Education.com
Find a printable workbook to go along with this fun activity. See Workbooks
See more activities in: Fifth Grade, Arts & Crafts
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