5 Tips To Help your Child Create their Best Painting Ever.

One of Greta’s favorite things to do is paint (I’m so proud), so we spend a lot of time in the studio together.  Greta is currently working on a painting for her own room and I thought it would be a good time to share some tips on how to help your child create their best painting ever.

1.  Protect their clothes and surrounding areas. I take off Greta’s clothes and let her wear one of my many painting shirts.  Also, wherever you decide to set up shop, make sure to lay down newspaper, dropcloths, a plastic tablecloth–something that will allow you to relax about your child painting.  Freaking out over splattered paint kinda puts a damper on the whole activity.

2.  Turn the canvas often. Even I do this as an artist, but it is especially important for little ones who tend to focus their efforts on whatever is right in front of their face.  I turn the canvas every few minutes for Greta so she has a clean/new area to work and it adds a lot of interest to her painting.

3.  Help them dip their brush in water frequently. Greta uses my acrylics, and she can get frustrated when the paint is dryer on the brush and doesn’t go on as smooth.  Sometimes “dry-brushing” is a great effect in art, but for kids–using more water not only keeps their hands moving freely, but also will use less paint. (Bonus tip: You can pick up mistinted paint test pots at the hardware store for 50 cents for even cheaper paint for your child).

4.  Let things dry in between.  This is such an important thing to keep in mind to make sure (insert child’s name here)’s painting doesn’t get muddy brown or lose vibrancy. Let each layer dry before coming back and working on it more.  Luckily, (I guess) Greta usually gets bored after about 30 minutes of painting and is ready for the next activity.  So we’ll go play with her trains or sort the laundry and have lunch and then come back to her painting later in the day or even the next day. Then, the colors won’t mix together without your permission.

5.  As a sort of addendum to number 4–Provide colors that work well together for each layer. Setting out greens, yellows and blues at a time and then later providing reds and oranges really keep things mud-free.  Unless brown is what they want.  Then by all means–bring on the full spectrum at once.  Which, we’ve also done. :)

^^Vine App video alert.  Of course the most important thing–and I don’t even like saying the word “important” when talking about having fun–is having fun with paint and letting them explore.  I have found, over the course of the last year that Greta has really gotten into painting, that these five tips really made our painting sessions successful, happy, hilarious, enjoyable and melt-down/frustration free.

Any tips you’d add?

P.S. Greta’s art she did for our stairwell.


  • […] “gallery wall” has some familiar pieces in it as well. The painting she did for her last room and the “Greta the Great” poster and the Max Wanger balloon print were in there, too. I […]

  • Reply January 31, 2013


    Like mother like daughter. I think she is your protege.

  • Reply January 31, 2013

    Kim @ Yellow Brick Home

    Aw, love this. I always, always (always!) tell Scott that if we ever have a kid, I pray that he/she loves art AND hockey. While I don’t see a kid in our near future, my heart swells at the idea of painting with my kiddo, then hitting the ice rink later for exercise!

  • Reply January 30, 2013

    Julie Petunia

    Great tips! One thing I might start doing with my daughter is to paint a background color on the canvas before I let her have at it. I sometimes really end up by liking her final result but all the unpainted white space bothers me. It’s not the empty space I have an issue with, but more so the fact that it’s just bare primed canvas. But that might make it…more of a collaboration, I guess. :)

  • I think Greta is a better artist than I am ;) Such a cute idea to have her create art for your house and especially her room! :)

  • Reply January 30, 2013


    Looks like Greta’s painting will be fantastic, looking forward to the reveal. My daughter, a freshman in high school, just painted her first canvas for her art & design exam. When she was little I didn’t think to use a canvas so, while I did hang up her art, it didn’t last as long. Wish there were blogs with great tips like yours back when my daughter was little.

  • Reply January 30, 2013

    Katherine Sanneman

    These are such great tips! My girls love to paint, but sometimes just can’t seem to stop so the painting ends up getting really busy, not to mention muddy…coming back later is a great idea!

  • Reply January 30, 2013


    Thanks for the tips!! I was having the boys paint this week and it was very “muddy”. haha I like the idea of introducing colors at different times and allowing dry time. Love Greta’s painting too :)
    ~Rachel Beebe

  • Reply January 30, 2013

    Meagan@Meagan Tells All

    Cool vid!!! Brinley also loves to paint, but it seems like it takes longer to set all up than the amount of time she really paints….like the other day, I set everything up knowing it would only be up for 5 minutes, and 30 seconds in….mama I’m done. No! You’re not!!! You must play for at least 5 minutes!!!! Geez.

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