The original ideas I was seeing on Pinterest were using paint in a Ziploc bag, taped to a table. This way baby can squish the paint around without making a big mess using finger paints. However, I wanted an actual painting in the end, not just a Ziploc bag full of paint to throw away!
Pretty easy fix. I just added paper to the bag! The main issue here is finding paper that will not fall apart with the amount of paint soaking into it. This will depend on how much paint you use, of course. The first time, I didn't use very much paint, so construction paper worked just fine. Next I tried cardstock with a lot more paint, and when I peeled the bag off it peeled most of the paint and the top layer of paper off, too! :( After that I used a thin piece of 8x10 canvas that I got from Hobby Lobby. It's a bit pricier, of course, but the great thing about using canvas is you can create a real keepsake. We framed Sugarplum's canvas masterpiece and gave it to my mom as a Mother's Day gift.
So, step 1. Select your paper or canvas. Then add paint (I just use cheap craft paint that you can get at a craft store or Walmart) in little blobs all over the paper. Carefully slide the paper into a gallon-size Ziploc (or off-brand if you're like me!) bag, and seal it tightly! Sealing is definitely one step you don't want to skimp on, if you truly want no-mess painting. :)
Depending on the age of your baby/toddler, there are a few different options for the next step. Our first time painting, I taped the bag using painter's tape to our kitchen table, and put Sugarplum in her highchair with the tray removed so she could reach to pat on it to her heart's content. The next couple of times, she was crawling, so I taped it to the hardwood floor or the front porch and let her crawl and sit all over it. Now she's walking, so the most recent time, she grabbed that bag and carried it all over the house with her (this works best with canvas, not paper). Any of the above will work just fine. The main thing is to get the paint thoroughly squished all over the paper, and for your tot to have a good time doing it. You can also experiment with using toys to roll over and beat on the painting, which can create interesting patterns.
The last step is to get the bag back from your toddler (if you can!), lay it flat on top of something you don't mind possibly getting paint on, and cut the bag open. You will need to cut all down the sides of the bag and peel the top layer back, rather than trying to slide the paper back out. Then lay your child's masterpiece somewhere safe and flat to dry and enjoy!
These pictures are from our first try:
The rest of the times I used more paint, and I liked the end results better.
Painting on the porch:
Have fun painting!
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