Painting With Unusual Materials


Have you painted with your kid lately? Maybe he or she doesn’t enjoy painting with a brush (or even with fingers), but there are lots of other ways to apply strokes to paper! You don’t even have to use paint.

My 14 month-old made this awesome painting while eating blueberries! I just put some cardstock on his high chair tray while he was eating, and the juice of the berries combined with his little fingers made this beautiful painting. It reminds me of ink on parchment.

Edible “paint” is a great item for really small kids because then you don’t have to stress out about whether or not they get it into their mouths (in fact, it might just be better that way!). You can even combine craft time with snack time! Painting yogurt on grapes is a fun snack, for example.

Paint Alternatives:

I’m sure you can come up with a lot more good ideas for paint alternatives.


Instead of brushes, try other kinds of applicators. My 2 year old son rolled cotton balls in some paint and made this pretty painting. The width of the cotton balls made it possible to get a lot more color on the paper much quicker than a paint brush, which seemed to keep my son interested. Try to vary the tactile experience from using a brush. For example, get away from something that is attached to the end of a stick like a paint brush! Try something that you pinch with your fingers.

Paintbrush alternatives:

  • Cotton balls
  • Toothbrush
  • Sponge (kitchen, cosmetic, etc.)
  • Tissue
  • Flowers or leaves
  • Veggies (try lettuce, broccoli, or even carrots)
  • Popsicle sticks

What do you think?



  1. 4

    Have you tried making your own magic painting paper?

    Boil a few red cabbage leaves in water. Use the resulting red water/juice to paint over a page of water colour paper (or any absorbant paper). Let it dry.

    Now let your child paint on the paper with vinegar, lemon juice or bicarbonate of soda dissolved in water. The paper will change colour as they paint.

    You can then give them a chemistry lesson about acids and bases and litmus paper – or you can just let them mix the vinegar the red cabbage water and the bicarb to make colour changing “magic” potions.

  2. 5

    Brilliant! I wish I read it three years ago when my daughter was younger…

  3. 6

    What a great idea! I love the blueberry painting. It looks professional!! I would put it in a frame to display in my house. You’ve got a future VanGogh on your hands!! 🙂

    Thanx for the idea!

  4. 7

    Love it! Nothing like a baby masterpiece!