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I will be posting a series of posts here over the coming days with ideas of mark making tools that you can easily make for yourself. I hope you find it useful.

Since beginning my voyage into mixed media art I have been continually in search of different ways of mark making. Flora Bowley, Alisa Burke and Tracy Verdugo have all inspired me to use mark making in my work. Mark making produces such interesting elements into a painting. There are endless methods of introducing exciting marks into your work but I thought I would share some easy ways that I have found of making my own mark making tools. These are tools that I constantly dive into when trying to introduce exciting elements into my art. I mostly use items that are knocking around the house or if I buy something it is never anything expensive.

Today I will show you my home made mark making roller. This is so easy and inexpensive to make and has endless possibilities. It is one of my favourite tools.

Mark making roller

First of all you need to buy yourself a cheap foam paint roller. You will find them in DIY or hardware stores. They are usually used for small or difficult areas of painting around the house, like for radiators or tight spaces. Here is the one I bought. I think it was around 4 Euros.


Then you will need the cardboard inner of a paper kitchen towel plus some bubble wrap (used for packaging delicate items) for your first roller attachment.

Paint Roller Materials

You may want to check that your cardboard roll fits over the foam roller nicely. Mine was the perfect size! Cut your kitchen roll inner cardboard into lengths the size of your paint roller.

Cut kitchen roll cardboard

Now cut a piece of bubble wrap the size necessary to cover one cardboard roll. Glue in place. I used tacky glue. Here you have the first roller attachment for your paint roller.

Bubble Wrap

Now let’s make some more. The next two I have made are using non slip matting. The rubber type that you buy for putting underneath items that might slip. This comes in various designs and is inexpensive. I had two that were different so I used one of each. Attached with glue, same as before.

Paint roller with attachments.

Here you will see three more ideas for your cardboard rolls. Sorry, I forgot to photograph them before I used them.

Mark Making Roller

The two in the bottom middle are just rubber bands stretch wrapped around the cardboard. No gluing necessary. The top one is made up of two wide rubber bands and the bottom one has several thin bands wrapped around. Make sure to overlap the rubber bands here and there to create more interest. Then bottom left you have the clingfilm (food wrap) wrapped roll. Again, no gluing necessary. just wrap around and let it cling to itself. Make sure it has lots of lovely wrinkles in it.

To use them just roll them in your acrylic paints. I squeeze my paints out onto a heavy sheet of glass that I have on my workspace and clean it up at the end of the day with a paint scraper.

Now shall we see what types of marks these roller attachments produce?

Bubble Wrap
Bubble Wrap
Roller 3 marks
Non slip rubber matting – type 1
Non slip rubber matting - type 2
Non slip rubber matting – type 2
Roller 4 Marks
Rubber bands large
Rubber bands small
Rubber bands small
Food Wrap
Food Wrap

They have created some pretty interesting marks and textures, huh? And all of the cardboard attachments are interchangeable as you paint. I don’t wash my cardboard attachments in between use or after, so they really are maintenance free. And of course easily and cheaply replaced when they wear out.

And here I have just used the paint roller with the attachments shown above to create a textured background. A quick easy way of creating an interesting first layer for a piece of artwork. Notice how I only used small sections of the roller in order that the designs were not too uniform. Little short bursts of the roller randomly here and there.


Well, I hope this post has inspired you to make your own paint roller. Do leave me a comment below to let me know what you think and if you use the idea, let me know how you got on. And also let me know if you come up with some more ideas for covering your cardboard rolls to create interesting texture. I am always keen for new ideas.

Tomorrow I will be posting an idea for another mark making tool and more during the coming days.

If you are enjoying this series and would like to make sure you don’t miss future posts may I suggest you subscribe to posts in the top right hand corner of the Home page or follow on your RSS feed.

Happy Mark Making.


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  1. Thanks for sharing your wonderful ideas for mark making! I look forward to see more of your art.

  2. Thank you so much, fabulous ideas!!

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