Friday, March 1, 2013

Kid's Fine Art

I really love the color in our diningroom:
Behr's Swan Sea (It's brighter than it looks on your screen)
But I needed something big to contrast it in that big space.  I remembered that my friend, Amy of Progressive Pioneer, helped her kids make a big painting of "fine art."  The how-to video was gone, so I emailed her and got the instructions.  If I still lived by her, we would have gone to the craft store together and picked out some really fun paint combination (she has great taste), but as it was, I put it off and put it off for about a year before I finally just got some paint and did it.

Here's the how-to.  Imagine it in your favorite color combination.  (note: sorry, our camera is having issues and it's in the shop right now.  You'll have to forgive the very sub-par pictures. The color is particularly off.)


A large canvas
Large paint brushes (the cheap plastic ones give the most texture)
A cheap squeegee (it may not work for it's intended purpose after this, so buy a cheap one!)
Gesso (at any paint or craft store)
Paint of choice (I went to the hardware store (where I'm much more comfortable than a craft store, I'm embarrassed to say), and paid about $2.50 for paint samples and just used those.


1. Put on smocks or painting clothes
2. Have your kids paint on the gesso.
    Here's where much of the "artistry" comes in.  Don't make it smooth.  Be generous with the gesso.  Use things with interesting texture (like leaves, a comb, lids, etc) to spread it around.
    Leaving her mark
3. Let it dry.
4. Squeegee on the background color.  This bring out all the texture you created with the gesso.
5. Let it dry.
6. Paint on the foreground color.
I kind of regret how long I let the boys paint.  They were super fast!  I wanted it mostly to be a yellow painting, but it's mostly a red painting (yes, that is red, believe it or not).
6. Let it dry
7. If desired, paint an accent color.  We chose to splat ours:
I just had the boys dip their fingers in the paint (we used our wall color--is that cheating? :)), and flick and shake it onto the painting.
Then we needed something for the other wall, so we made three more :)

Now, we have something to fill the wall space, and best of all, the kids made it!  It's a fun bright piece of art that's also a fun memory.  If you do some "fine art" with your kids, let me know!  I'd love to see it.


  1. I love this! I have been feeling like we need to get some art up in our house and this would be perfect. About how much gesso did you use? I am wondering what size of bottle to buy.

    1. I used this 16 ounce container, And it was more than enough. I wish i would have been a little more generous with the gesso.

  2. Ah, I wish you lived next door! A trip to the craft store definitely would have been in order:) As it is, I think they turned out awesome! I love the colors; they're so bright and cheery!

  3. DIY modern art. I love it! You are raising some Rothkos and Pollocks I think. Looks fabulous!

  4. Oh such a good idea!! I'm such an artist at heart -- I've been planning a mural for the ceiling of our boys' attic bedroom and play room. Thanks for this brilliant idea for our other spaces!!

  5. Thank you Ariel (and Amy) for being my creative genius. :) I love it!

  6. So fun! What little creative geniuses you are raising. Something like that would look great in our basement.