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Kids Painting Ideas and Techniques
This article contains painting ideas for parents or teachers to use with children. The ideas are suitable for children for various ages from preschool upwards.
The video shows two painting techniques you can do with younger children (though older ones will also enjoy them.) The two techniques using wax crayon and paint are more suitable for kids from around age 7, though this will vary depending on skills level and some younger children may manage them. You know your own children best!
A Vibrant and Symmetrical Butterfly is Easy To Do
Butterfly (from preschool and up)
Small children love this technique, probably because it seems like magic. It’s also very easy to do. This technique is shown in the video above.
- Poster paint
- Paint brush
- Fold a piece of paper in half. On one side of the paper paint a butterfly’s wing. Add colors and patterns as you like, but be sure to work quickly so that the paint doesn’t dry out. Be careful not to overdo the paint because it will spread out a little - in the butterfly above those large spots of pink started out as small dots.
- Fold the clean side of the paper on top of the wet painted side. Run your hand over the paper to make sure it touches everywhere.
- Spread the paper out and you will have a mirror image of your painting, making a complete butterfly. If any lines are not as clear as you'd like you can go over them now.
Flowers (for children from about 5 and up)
- Paper (A3 is a good size to use.)
- Broad paintbrush
- Bright poster paints
- Lentils, quinoa or rice for “seeds.”
- Using a broad flat brush, paint a few strokes to make the flower “petals.” Start at the center and work outwards.
- Leave it until the paint is dry.
- Paint the centers of the flowers.
- While the paint is still wet add grains to the centers to make seeds.
A variety of flower paintingsClick thumbnail to view full-size
Using Paint and Wax Crayons.
There are two ways to use wax crayons and paint together. (There may be more, but there are two I know of!) Both are fun, and kids will get surprises with either method.
- Paper (cartridge paper will be better than photocopier or printer paper)
- Wax crayons
- Poster paint
For Method 2 only:
- Washing up liquid
Method 1: Resist Technique
- Do a line drawing with wax crayons, using a pale color. White paper and crayon is the most common way to do this, but you can use any pale color and then use a darker color for the paint. In the examples we used yellow crayon because white would not have shown up well in the photos. The design can be simple or elaborate so is suitable for all abilities, but draw with lines only – no shading.
- Press firmly to make sure to get enough wax to form a resist. The photo below shows what happens if there isn’t enough crayon on the paper. On the left the crayon was pressed firmly and so it shows through, and on the right there was not enough pressure to create a good resist.
This picture shows why you need to press firmly with the crayon
- Using either a board brush or sponge, apply a thin layer of paint all over the sheet of paper. You can use one color only or a mixture. Suitable paints are watercolors or thin poster paint. The wax crayon resists the paint, so your original drawing will show up.
Some examples of wax resist paintingsClick thumbnail to view full-size
Method 2: Paint and Scratch
1. Color over the paper with wax crayons. You can use as many different colors as you like, and make stripes, patches or any arrangement you'd like. The picture below shows a sheet of paper that has been crayoned. You can see it is sitting on newspaper - this prevents your furniture getting messed up!
Be sure to press firmly, so there is no white paper showing.
Color with wax crayon
2. Into some poster paint add a drop or two of washing up liquid. This stops the wax from resisting the paint. Paint all over the wax crayon.
(The usual color to use for this is black, but you can vary if you'd like - just make sure it's a dark colour and the paint is thick.)
3. Leave this until the paint is thoroughly dry.
4. Now scratch a design onto the paint to reveal the colors underneath! You can use the “wrong” end of a paintbrush handle to this, so long as it’s a small brush, or you could use a bent paper clip or a clay tool. Anything that has a point but isn’t sharp will do.