Things to Make - 20 (Easy) Painting Projects With Kids

It's been a winter of SNOW here in Northern Virginia, so if you're looking for some easy art projects to keep the kids entertained while indoors - here are 20 suggestions (click on each project's title for more detailed instructions):

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1. Tissue Paper Tie-Dye - Fold the tissue paper into triangles and wrap with rubber bands (click here to see how to fold). Dip into different colors of paint then unwrap and watch the designs form.

2. Salty Watercolors - This is one of our favorite super easy projects. Use glue to draw designs on thick watercolor paper. Next, sprinkle salt on the glue. Finally "paint" over the salty glue, the color travels slowly through the designs - both fun to watch and fun to look at.

3. Watercolor Nature Prints - Collect interesting items outside (old leaves, acorns, branches, etc). Pour liquid watercolors onto a stamp pad (or use a regular stamp pad) and stamp the natural materials to make fun quirky designs.

4. Marbleized Paper Using Shaving Cream - Combine liquid watercolor paint and shaving cream in a pan, make designs using popsicle sticks or a fork. Press thick watercolor paper into the shaving cream and then wipe off. Voila, art.

5. Marbleized Paper Using Oil - Mix watercolor paint and vegetable oil (click here for the correct ratios). Fill the bottom of a pan with water and using eyedroppers add the oil/paint to the pan, swirl to create designs. Press thick watercolor paper into the designs, then let dry.

6. Winter Trees - Pour brown liquid watercolor paint into a small container. Use paintbrushes to draw a tree trunk on the page. Then add a few drops of paint at the top of the trunk. Use straws to blow the paint away from the trunk, thus making branches. Fun.



7. Secret Agent Messages with Lemon Juice - Paint with lemon juice on paper. The juice dries clear, but if you cook the paper at 350 degrees for a few minutes, your super secret spy message "magically" reappears.

8. Condensed Milk Paintings - Combine condensed milk and liquid watercolors/food coloring. Paint. The colors will look super glossy and thick.

9. Saran Wrap Painting - Paint with watercolor paints on thick paper. Cover with saran wrap and move the saran wrap around to make designs. Let dry, then remove the saran wrap. Lovely.

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10. Toddler Googly-Eyed Monster Art - Ask a toddler to paint. Then have him/her attach two google eyes to their painting. All of a sudden abstract art becomes a monster.

11. Painted Snow Scenes - Use oil pastels or crayons to create a snow scene (my kids drew snowmen). Then paint over the sky with watercolors. You can also add salt to create the illusion of falling snow.

12. Valentine's Day/Heart Banner - Cut out a series of hearts from construction paper. Have the kids decorate the hearts using paints/markers/crayons, etc. Tape the hearts to a string and hang somewhere. Celebrate.

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13. Q-Tip Printmaking - Use a roller brush to thinly spread paint on a pan. Draw designs using q-tips. Then press a sheet of (thick) paper onto the design. Voila - a print.

14. Potato Stamp Prints - Carve a stamp out of a potato. Dip in paint. Create.

15. Paint Photographs - You can also use Sharpies to draw in details.

16. Paint a Cardboard Box - Create a castle. Or a boat. Or whatever you want.

17. String/Kitchen Painting - Dip the strings in paint, then use the painted strings to create designs of paper. Once your child tires of the strings you can also use: sponges, forks, superhero figurines and whatever else you find around the house.

18. Firework Painting - Twist four pipe cleaners to create a star shape. Dip in paint. Add glitter to make the night really sparkle.

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19. Suminagashi Marbleized Paper - Purchase a sumingashi kit (Amazon sells one for $13.50, just click here). The effect is very similar to liquid water colors and cooking oil (#5 above), but with the kit the colors are much more vivid and the designs are more pronounced.

20. Watercolor Pencils & Crayons - For a change of pace, Watercolor Pencils and Watercolor Crayons can be so fun to create with. Draw as you normally would and then paint with water.

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