When I was in elementary school I remember having a really great art program. As someone who often plans/leads arts and crafts for kids, I often wonder how they were able to do such amazing things. The student’s ages and the schools budget was never seen in that classroom. They didn’t shy away from materials that would stain our clothes or were potentially toxic. (We spray painted in 4th grade. We wore masks, but our hands and arms were stained for a week.) Everything in the art world was fair game. Anyone who knows me, can imagine the impact this art program has had on me.
One of the projects that I was fascinated with was marbling. The process of marbling has a long history and a few different techniques. The main idea is that an oil based ink or paint is floated on the surface of water. A comb, pick, or other device is used to swirl the colors and create patterns. Then a paper is rested on top to absorb the colors in the swirled pattern.
I think the whole process lends nicely to projects in the church. The swirling colors could be used as a way to describe the Body of Christ or the Christian mission. I could see doing it as a demonstration for confirmation students and talking about biblical translation or community (then they could make bible covers or bookmarks together). The possibilities seemed endless, but the price tag can be high. Also, I worry about using potentially toxic items with kids or non-washable items with kids who come in their Sunday Best. I had never been able to figure out how to do this in our setting, until I stumbled across a different technique of marbling paper online.
The technique is simple and safe. We will be using it this weekend for our Pentecost lesson by a quick demonstration of the process and then the kids being able to do part of it on their own. What follows is the lesson plan our teacher will be working from. For just the process, follow the steps under the pictures.
Say: Today’s story is about Pentecost. In the story you heard how the disciples didn’t really know what was going to happen next. What is it like to not know what will happen next? (let them respond. If they don’t have answers, ask them things like, What do you do when you want to know the end of a story in a book? Read it/turn the page. What do you do when someone is driving you somewhere and you don’t know where you’re going? Ask/watch the things passing.)
Do you ever pray when you don’t know what to do? That’s what the disciples were doing in the upper room in our story. They didn’t know what to do now that Jesus was gone, and so they prayed.
Put about an inch of shaving cream, covering the entire plate and say: The disciples prayed to God waited for an answer.
Take the piece of cardboard and say Then, there was a rush of wind. That filled the room. Use the cardboard to smooth out the top of the shaving cream.
Do you remember what happened next? (wait for responses, tell them that there were tongues of fire above the heads of all the disciples.) Add the red, yellow, orange, or pink paint to the top of your shaving cream. Put it in stripes, or blocks of color. Don’t push it down into the shaving cream.
The Holy Spirit had joined the disciples and they were able to do amazing and beautiful things. Before, when they could only speak to the people who spoke the same language, now, they could speak to anyone. Take the sticks/combs and gently swirl the paint together.
Today, the Holy Spirit is here with us also. The Holy Spirit guides us and helps us share all of these beautiful things with other people. (Put your piece of paper down on your shaving cream and press gently so all of the paper makes contact. Pick up your piece of paper again. It will have shaving cream left on it.)
Sometimes it is hard to see the Holy Spirit working. Can we see our design on our paper? But look, it is still there. (Use a piece of posterboard or cardstock to squeeze off the extra shaving cream and reveal the pattern underneath.)
After this, our kids will make their own. For ease and conservation of materials, we will probably have trays with shaving cream and globs of paint all ready, so they each take a turn swirling the paint and then they each make their own pre-cut dove.