Monday, April 19, 2010

Big Blue Marble

I'm back!

When I was a kid there was a show on PBS called "Big Blue Marble" and it was my first introduction into thinking globally and ecologically.

In honor of Earth Day I'm taking that big blue marble theme as a basis for some projects.

The first project is a watercolor painting project.

You need the following......

watercolor paper
paint (tempera or watercolor)
round objects for tracing
paper for mounting
reference photos

Find an assortment of round objects around the house.  You want large, medium, and small sized marbles.

Using a pencil trace a bunch onto your watercolor paper.

In order to make your marble look 3 dimensional you need to add a highlight...because it is sphereical your highlight will be a concave rectangular shape.

Your highlight will be in the same place for all marbles.

Pencil in some guidelines for your "earth" marble as well.

Now you can start painting.  Don't worry about staying in the lines as you will be cutting these marbles out.  Don't be afraid to add some drops of water onto your painting to create some "blooms".

This will make yor marbles look more like glass.  Click on photo to see larger.

Paint in your Earth.  Using a kleenex you can lift out some clouds.  When it is dry you can also use a wet brush to scrub where you want a misty cloud and then blot with a kleenex.

Now when painting a sphereical shape with watercolor it helps to go back in after and lift a little paint from the center just below the highlight.  To lift use a wet brush (clear water) and scrub a little.

You also want your edges (where you penciled your circle) to be a bit darker as they are receding.  Add some darker shading.

Keep painting in all your marbles...use a reference photo to help. (search google images for marbles)

Cut out your marbles and experiment with placement before gluing.  Make sure the highlight remains in the same place for all marbles when positioning.

You can also add some pastel to create a shadow on the surface where your marbles are placed or to show the wall/floor.

That's it.  Give it atry and create your own "Big Blue Marble". 


  1. I keep meaning to ask...are those large cake tempera paints or large cake watercolor paints. They seem to produce really good colors. What brand are they?

  2. This is a really beautifull idea.

  3. Wonderful idea. My boys and I are learning about the solar system, I think we'll adapt this idea for planets! Thanks!

  4. I love, love, love this idea! My son loves his marbles. We made these this morning and it was super easy. Thanks for the wonderful tutorials!

  5. So happy to have you back! And with another brilliant crafty way to explore the world around us.

  6. Hey everyone thanks so much for your awesome comments! I am slowly getting back into the blogging groove again and as per usual I have so many project ideas and not enough time!
    apples love oranges: those cake tempura were purchased at Michael's in the kid can buy the tray and then they sell the cakes individually for less than $2.00. They are the same as the paints I use at school.
    For this project I used them and some of the turquoise from my watercolor pans.

  7. wow 500 followers I love your planet idea, and the painted polar bears, I love to do art with my son I am homeschooling him just for a little bit, long story but I am so glad i found you thru pink and green mama. if you have time visit me.
    1 wasabi mommy

  8. love the marble idea. That would be a great watercolor lesson for my 6th graders. especially love it on black paper.