Homemade Marbled Ornaments: Color Mixing Christmas STEM
I am all about making homemade ornaments. First of all, it is just fun. Secondly, it is a great way to create a keepsake for the tree. Third, and most important, you pack up the project after the holidays.
Yeah, I’m not the mom that keeps everything my kids make. These have a time and place and aren’t cluttering up the house year round though. Wins!
These are some of the easiest ornaments I have made with my kids. You only need a few things and some time for them to dry.
We also use this as a great way to talk about colors and color mixing! You know I have to add some science in there. 😉 Here are simple homemade marbled ornaments and a little holiday STEM learning fun.
Homemade Marbled Ornaments
Mixing colors is a great way to introduce some simple STEM concepts. Colors really grab children’s attention and make it very clear to see what is actually happening.
- Clear Fillable Plastic Ornaments
- Paint Pens (optional)
Let your children pick out two to three colors of paint. (Any more and it makes a big old mess.)
Open up a fillable plastic ornament. You can get these at Target, Michaels, or even Dollar Tree. They are pretty easy to find once you decide to look for them.
Have your child squirt small amounts of each color into your ornament. (Small! You can always add more.) Then gently swirl to mix the colors!
Once you have the coverage you are looking for, carefully pour any excess paint out. (I just pour it onto a folded up paper towel for easy disposal.) Then balance the ornament on the opening over more paper towels to let any remaining paint dry.
These can take a bit to dry, depending on how much paint you put in and the kind of paint. I like to let them dry at least overnight. You can shift them around on your paper towels to check if much paint is still coming out.
Once they are dry you can pop the top back on and hang them on your tree! As a bonus, we also wrote names on ours with a paint pen. Your children can add any extra embellishments they like!
(Want more fun ornaments? Try these crystal ones—> Homemade Crystal Ornaments for Kids)
The only main safety concern here is to not eat the paint.
I do try to take care with the paint so as not to make a mess. Be careful when you are setting up your ornaments to dry that they won’t be leaking paint anywhere. Change the paper towels underneath them as needed.
So there is science here? There is!
You can of course just do this as a fun project with your kids. No harm there. But this is a great opportunity to talk about a few things.
(Get more fun Christmas STEM activities—> Christmas Science Experiments for Kids)
Viscosity is, in a casual manner of speaking, how thick a liquid is. It actually defines the friction between molecules in a liquid, but the idea of thickness works well for kids.
Thicker liquids tend to move more slowly. Think thick syrups or sauces. Water tends to move more quickly, as there is less friction between the molecules. Casually, we would say it is thinner.
Is your paint thick or thin? You can have some fun by putting water into one ornament and watching it swirl around. Then dry it out and add the paint. It flows very differently! This is viscosity.
Properties of Liquids (and other states of matter)
Along with viscosity, you can observe other properties of liquids. Liquids flow and fill the shape of the container they are in. This is different from solids, which keep their shape.
Watch the paint as you swirl your ornament. It flows because it is a liquid. It you put a marble or other small solid in the ornament it would roll around, but maintain a constant shape.
ROY G. BIV
Good old ROY G. BIV. Think back to art class and I bet you remember what it stands for. Red Orange Yellow Green Blue Indigo Violet. This is the order all rainbows take in nature.
The reason for this? The wavelengths of light. Each color we see is an individual wavelength, and our eyes perceive them as different colors.
(Get more detail on how we see color here—> Color Science)
How Colors Mix
How do we make new colors? Generally speaking, when we use paint or other colors we are using an additive process to create colors. This means we need to start with our primary colors: red, blue, and yellow. These are colors that cannot be made by mixing other colors.
Primary colors can be mixed to make new ones though. You can review the basics with your kids:
You can create shades of each color by adding more or less of the primary colors. What can your children create? (Learn a bit more about color mixing—> Click here!)
Make Holiday Memories!
My favorite part of making ornaments with my kids? The memories we are making. These are easy ways to have fun family time, and the projects themselves are simple. That is key during the busy holiday season.
I love that we are creating something together. (And as much as I love baking I like that this does not involve eating.) My kids get to use their creativity and learn a little bit.
At the end, we have a product that serves as a reminder of the precious age my kids are at right now. They can also serve as sweet handmade gifts. It’s a great way to enjoy the holiday spirit.
Here is more holiday fun!