Did you know your kids can enjoy painting even if you don’t own paintbrushes? There are actually quite a few things you could use . . . (besides fingers!)
. . . old toothbrushes . . . q-tips . . . sponges . . . matchbox cars . . .
Today we’re going to use yarn. Or string. Or kitchen twine. It doesn’t really matter what form it comes in or what material its made of. As long as it is flexible and can be cut into lengths, it should work.
Supplies Needed for Yarn Painting:
- yarn, string or twine
- toothpicks (or something else you can use to push the yarn into the paint)
- basic painting gear (see Painting with Kids: 6 Tips to Get You Ready for suggestions)
Creating Your Yarn Painting:
- Gather supplies. I find it helpful to do this before I even tell the kids we’re going to paint. Remember to get plenty of paper ready for all the artists!
- Cover kids and painting surface in protective gear.
- Cut (or let the kids cut) varying lengths of yarn. You will want at least one length of yarn for each color of paint, probably more – especially if you have more than one child painting at a time.
- Squirt puddles of paint onto a palette. Palettes in my house are not fancy and they are disposable! I have used pieces of cardboard, a stack of newspaper, old paper bags, foam veggie trays and the clear plastic lids that come on some take-out containers. If you don’t have anything to re-use (but who doesn’t have excess cardboard?) a paper plate will work.
- Give everyone a paper and start to dip the yarn into the paint. Use a toothpick (I actually broke a wooden skewer into several pieces) to push the yarn into the paint.
- Lay the paint covered yarn on one side of the paper. This can be done very carefully so the colors don’t touch or in a helter-skelter fashion that lets the pieces of yarn cross each other. Lay the yarn down randomly for a surprise result or place each piece purposefully to achieve a specific image.
- Fold the paper over and gently press down. Don’t get concerned if your child doesn’t keep keep the yarn on one side of the paper. You can fold it anyway or give them a second piece of paper to press down on top of the arranged yarn. Yarn that is lightly coated with paint will yield sharper, more defined lines than yarn that is heavily saturated. Pressing down very firmly will squeeze more paint out of the yarn than pressing gently. There are lots of variables. Experiment and have fun.
- Gently open the paper and remove the yarn. Yarn pieces can be re-used, often without adding more paint – my kids always add more paint! I take the yarn they aren’t using anymore and make my own pictures without having to add any more paint.
- Admire your creation and set it aside to dry!
Here are some samples of completed yarn paintings.
Yarn painting can also be a fun introduction to the concept of symmetry. A symmetrical image has matching parts on both sides of a dividing line. Since this type of yarn painting is made by folding one side of the paper over the other, the paint on one side of the fold line forms a mirror image of the paint on the other side of the line. They aren’t perfect examples, but it is fun to notice.
Have you ever made a yarn painting? Try it out and let us know what you think.