Crafting with Kids: Pour Painting

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A new commitment means my mother hasn’t been able to come over for her weekly visits; instead she’s been offering weekly day visits and a sleepover to my youngest. This has opened up a window of opportunity for the bigger boys and me to do some things that aren’t so well suited to toddlers, and we actually have time to do them because some extra-curriculars have waned.

Without further ado, we tried pour painting. There should be a better name for this, there must be and I’m too encased in my own little cave to know.  Pour painting is so… literal.  Because the method is as simple as this:

1. Take a canvas (or sturdy piece of cardboard) and prime the surface (including the sides) with a coat of paint. (Try to do next steps while primer is still wet.)

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2. Pour or squeeze pools of paint (we used acrylics) onto the paint surface.  We did this two ways:  first, pouring little pools of paint hither and thither and then tilting the canvas in various directions to let the paint run; and second, pouring multiple colours of paint in the centre of the canvas over and over until it spilled off the edges.

3. Repeat step 2 as many times as needed until the surface is completely covered with paint.  (I was doing this project alongside the kids so didn’t take pictures during the process, but here’s more detail and instruction from the Housing a Forest.)

And that’s it! It’s hard to go wrong, and you’ll end up with a painting that’s colourful and evokative.

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A couple of notes… our paint cracked a bit as it dried where the colours met each other. I’m not sure how to avoid this and was a bit disappointed at first, but I think the paintings still work overall.

Also, we used a lot of paint. Not nearly as much as I bought, mind you, but the paint was very thick and required more than a day to dry. The canvas could handle this easily but if you’re using another surface, it really needs to be sturdy for this project. I also used cardboard under the canvasses to capture the paint that will spill off as regular paper will get wet and tear.

I have a few much bigger canvasses and think this project would be beautiful for decorating a wall; I can also imagine a few collected together. Also, doing the pour painting over an object, such as an inverted clay pot, is another fun project with beautiful results, so it’s on our spring list too (maybe to use as a special holder for a special seed).

And if you really want to be inspired by the possibilities of pour painting, check Holton Rower’s Tall Painting:

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13 thoughts on “Crafting with Kids: Pour Painting

  1. Thanks for sharing this!!! So awesome! We have a hoard of paint and I’m looking for activities to use it!!! (And use it all up!)

  2. FANTASTIC!!!!! This is such a great child-driven art project. Our school does an art auction each year. The students work together with their class to produce one piece of art. My boys’ class finished their contribution but I am going to file away this for next year. It would be stunning on a large scale too.

    • You could build some community spirit by having parents drop off all their unfinished paint cans lingering in the basement too!

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