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First Year Teacher Prep: Water Marbeled Labels

Water MarblingThis post contains affiliate links. All opinions are my own.

Hello friends! Glad you’re here.

Special hello to any first year teachers. I hope we can become close friends, because my first year of teaching is right around the bend, too. Let’s be there for each other. Let’s navigate the First Day, in all of it’s uncertainty, together. And be there for epic fist pumps when the going gets good. Are you in?!

Over the next few weeks, find your way back here to snag ten ideas for preparing for the first year. Some are DIYs, some are organizational, and I hope all of them will be useful beyond the first year. Share the love with your fellow teachers, and definitely share your own ideas through a comment!

Today, I’m sharing with you a simple way to create beautiful labels through water marbling. This is a pretty easy technique and could cost you nothing, depending on the supplies you have on hand.

Supplies Needed:

sturdy white paper (like cardstock or scrapbooking paper)

a container that can accommodate the dimensions of your paper

nail polish in a variety of colors

lukewarm water

a method for writing on/labeling your paper (if that’s what you choose to do with your paper)

I snagged a few nail polishes in the colors I needed and found a stack of scrapbooking paper that was white on the back that I’d been hoarding for four years. I purchased some gold number stickers to add extra pizazz, because I knew I wanted to use these to label each of my kiddo’s “creative boxes” where we’ll store extra supplies, like colored pencils and scissors.

I started by filling up my container (I used an under-the-bed-organizer) with lukewarm water. Next, I poured a little bit of each color of nail polish into the container, creating the pattern I wanted as I poured. I started with my main color (teal) and then splashed my accents (gold and coral) in and around the blue. Many water marbling tutorials (like this one) have you place droplets of color into the water and use a tool to marble, but my color droplets would burst and spread completely, no matter how the temperature of the water. So I adapted my technique and still came up with some beautiful results, even though I couldn’t try my hand at these beautiful patterns like I wanted to. I think perhaps the size of my container had something to do with this problem.

Once I had my color in, I gently laid my paper down and ran my hand over the back, pressing it onto the color but not into the water. After a few seconds (when I could see just a bit of water soaking into the paper, I lifted the paper out and laid it flat to dry. I found that the swifter this motion, the better. My paper was dry in a few hours, and I found that the best results came from using China Glaze and Essie.

Water Marbled Labels

I knew that the only way I’d be able to use this paper as labels in my classroom was if they were laminated, but I was sure the polish would melt and smear. To my total excitement, they laminated perfectly. I cut my 12×12 marbled paper into 3×3 squares and I added my gold numbers. A little hot glue later to attach them to my containers and they’re adding a lot of fun to my classroom. I had several labels left over, so I used Washi tape to create a writing surface on the label and organized my library book bins by genre. I can’t tell you how much I love these labels.

Do you have any unique ways to add color and organization to your classroom? If you want to try your hand at this technique, check out Sally Beauty Supply’s nail polish BOGO sale!

4 thoughts on “First Year Teacher Prep: Water Marbeled Labels

    1. cathrynannjones Post author

      Yeah! I’m even imagining several 12×12 marbled squares in a 4×3 grid above a bed or other piece of furniture, in super modern frames. Let me know if you come up with a spin! We’ll have you guest post! 🙂

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