How to Create a Family Painting Without Tears

By Stacy Brown

Six Tips to Collaborate with Your Kids

The idea of painting one picture together as a family is almost laughable in my house, with my wild and crazy two-year-old boy and my gentle and sensitive five-year-old girl. But it is possible! We recently collaborated to create one beautiful family painting for our wall (sans tears) and I wanted to share these six painting tips with you and your family.

1. Be Patient

This is supposed to be fun, right!? Spending time doing a creative activity with your kids is a special time, and it can also teach them valuable skills like listening and cooperation. If you find yourself getting frustrated, just try and slow things down and get everyone to focus on the end goal.

2. Secure Paper

Get out the masking tape and tape down the paper that you’re going to use. It’s never going to stay in place otherwise and it’ll be on the floor in two seconds. Use a heavy-duty watercolor paper or paper on a roll made for paint so it can absorb all of the excess water that is bound to be poured all over it.

3. Draw Outline

Since we have two kids, we chose two animals to draw (remember, art without tears). Pick out a favorite toy or even Google some animal cartoon drawings and freehand it onto the paper. I always draw the outline with a Sharpie marker so it doesn’t bleed into the paint. Go big and simple so it’s easy to paint!

4. Simplify Colors

Choose one family of colors for your painting so they don’t mix and create a brown muddy mess. For our rhino, we chose cool colors: blue, green and gray. For our cat, we chose warm colors: red, orange, and yellow. I use Sax Non-Toxic Giant Tempera Paint Cakes and I swear they are the best paints you’ll ever buy. They come in a tray that collects the excess water, which is perfect for sloppy toddlers. You can also remove a few paint cakes so only the color family you want is available.

5. Cut & Mat

Here is the trick to making your work of art wall-worthy: cut it out. By cutting it out, it eliminates the worry of painting outside the lines and creates a beautiful finished look. If you have colored construction paper lying around, then you can easily tape that together and glue the final piece onto that.

   

6. Put it on the Wall

There is no prouder moment for your child than seeing their artwork on the wall. I guess that’s why we have a giant wall dedicated to our children’s art in our house–we’ve got a lot of things to be proud of! Once the paint has dried I like to re-outline the image with a marker a bit around the eyes and other key features.