Thursday, May 24, 2012

diy: toddler painting masterpiece

i found a tutorial for a diy toddler painting while browsing youtube and thought that it seemed simple enough to give it a, there was this large, vacant wall space in the dining room that was *begging* for a piece of custom artwork. after the success of the first painting we ended up making another, smaller version for my mother for her birthday. both were unique and amazing. 

this is the first piece that hangs in our dining room currently. 
it measures 3 feet x 5 feet.

i used this video that i found on youtube as inspiration and followed most of their color suggestions for the first piece of art.

here is the second piece of artwork that we made for my mom:
this canvas measures 30 x 24

A LARGE stretched canvas (you could also use a piece of masonite, plywood, etc.) (mine was from michael's and was 50% off with a coupon).

gesso (michael's has this too. you don't need to do this step if using a canvas, but it does add a ton of texture)

paint brushes (larger is better since the canvas is so big. and spend your money on paint not brushes, as the brushes will likely get destroyed).

paint (i used acrylic, but the colors are up to you. you will need a base color and 3-4 of one shade, plus one other contrasting color).

drop cloth or newspapers (majorly important)

smock (a must have----or an apron that you don't care about being ruined)

squeegee (i didn't use this but they suggest it in the youtube video).

start by preparing the area by covering with newspaper or a drop cloth; you don't want to have to worry about a mess, so make it easy to clean up.

put your canvas in a place that is most accessible for little kids. (i used the dining room table.) start by applying the gesso liberally. the thicker it is, the more noticeable texture you'll get. cover the whole canvas, adding texture with the brush as you go. let this dry. (we left ours overnight.) thicker applications may take longer.

choose your base color. if your painting will mostly be done in cool colors, choose a warm base, and vice versa. we used a warm yellow for our painting (with both canvases). squirt some paint onto the canvas and then use your squeegee or brush to drag the paint across the surface, covering the whole canvas evenly.

once your base layer has dried, it's time for your little artist to get to work! because kids love to mix colors, i choose just a few variations of the same color. this way you can get interesting depth and texture, without the muddy color. i chose 4 shades of blue.

plan to give yourself a few days to complete this project. each step requires about 20 minutes of work, followed by a few hours of drying time. it's great for kids, as they can keep coming back to it throughout the day instead of having to have all of their focus for one long extended period of time.

let us know how yours turns out-----we would *love* to know.


  1. A friend had an art party for her daughter's birthday and they had all the kids paint on a canvas for the birthday girl to keep. I thought it was a cool idea.

  2. I had my daughter paint her first masterpiece at 1. It was the perfect age. She wasn't into mixing the colors, just moving her arms around. It looks very impressionistic.

  3. Glad to see this! We have a HUGE area above our fireplace that I just couldn't find anything perfect for and decided to have my daughter paint something. We've been hung up at finding a canvas big enough... We're talking like 6 feet wide and 4 or 5 feet tall lol. Thanks for sharing!