Tuesday, January 18, 2011

If Van Gogh Had Q-Tips

Q-tip painting is something I started doing when I taught preschool.  Sometimes I would give brushes to the kids to apply glue and getting them clean was always an ordeal.  So when I didn't have brushes, I would give the kids Q-tips.  They often looked at me confused and unsure, until I explained that we don't have to use only brushes in painting; there are a lot of different ways to paint that can be unique and fun.  The kids I painted with today gave me the same blank stare as I tried to explain the project.

I decided to try Q-tip painting out on the kids in my mom's group.  We had a play date at the park, so I packed up my supplies and headed out with my son to see if I could gather any interest.  The kids seemed excited (once they understood the method to my madness) and the parents were just glad the glitter I brought wasn't going all over the table at their house.  And I learned that for traveling art projects, I should always bring wet wipes.

So here's what you need:

Q-tip Painting (Winter Theme)
  • Q-tips
  • Blue, White, and/or Black Paper
  • White and/or Light Blue Paint Tempera Paint
  • Silver or Iridescent Glitter  
Small plates work best for the paint because the Q-tips are short.  Yogurt cups or paint cups are fine but be prepared for paint on the hands.  Always place a bit of dishwasher liquid in the paint to help it wash easier. Placing glitter on small plates is good too.  You can teach the kids how to sprinkle the glitter on their painting rather then dumping it from a canister.  No plates?  Then let them sprinkle from the canister.  Excess glitter can be dumped into a cup then saved in a baggie for another project.

  1. Give the kids a couple of Q-tips and explain that they will use them like a brush.  Then, stand back and let them paint.  Nothing they do is wrong.  They can scribble, draw, and drip to their heart's content.  Don't feel you need to ask them, "what is it?"  It doesn't matter.  If they want it to be something, they will tell you.   
  2. When they are done painting, show them how to sprinkle glitter onto the wet paint.  Then take the picture rolling it slightly, and dump the excess glitter back onto the plate.
There will always be some kid that finds it fun to use their hands.  Don't freak out.  It's OK.  You can try to explain to them that, "this time we are using Q-tips.  We'll paint with our hands another day." Chances are it's too late.  Let it be apart of their art.  Some kids like the extra sensory.  This is why we put dishsoap into the paint.


Link Party Thursdays


  1. how fun! I have yet to use q-tips with my girls to paint. I am sure they would find it fun - I must put it on y short list of must do's - thanks for the fun reminder!

    Would love for you to link-up & share your ideas on my kids crafts linky party - the Sunday Showcase!

    Bernadette - Mom to 2 Posh Lil Divas

  2. very fun! I haven't ever tried this. I will need to soon. Thanks for sharing at my art party.



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