Sometimes I put off our family art activities, because we don’t have enough supplies. Well lately we’ve been trying to find things around the house to use. We were surprised by how much we found and could use. Doing an art project with the kids doesn’t always require a visit to the best store on earth (Hobby Lobby). Sometimes all you have to do is look around.

Here’s a list of 10 things we found:

1. Junk Mail Cards

You know all that junk mail you get…don’t throw away the cards that come inside. These are a fun twist on paint brushes. Put a few drops of paint on paper then use the cards to spread the paint around. If you use one color at a time, you’re kid will naturally make a layered effect.

2. Mason Jars

Jars are perfect for holding anything, especially pencils and brushes. You don’t have to buy a pack of mason jars either, just look in the fridge. I’m sure you have a few in there. Remember when the pickles are all gone, instead of throwing it out…wash it. Jars with wider mouths work best…and if you’re concerned about glass jars and kids, buy your peanut butter in the plastic jars.

3. Food

Any food that’s firm and not too juicy can be used as a stamp. Cut a potato in half and let your kid carve something into it. Try some other food…celery and apples work great too!

4. Straws

You probably remember using straws when you were younger, but may have forgotten (getting older is not fun). Put a drop of paint on paper and then let your kid blow the paint around the paper. Be sure to have scraps under their art, because the paint will definitely blow off the paper. Also, remind your kid to take breaks…my kids got a little light headed because they were having so much fun.

5. Dish soap

Try making art with bubbles! This one was a little tricky, but with some experimenting they’ll have it down in no time. Add a little paint (or food coloring) to dish soap and use a straw to blow bubbles all over the paper. When they pop they’ll leave colorful circles everywhere.

6. Food coloring

If you don’t have paint, try food coloring. The great thing about food coloring, just like in cooking, a little goes a long ways. Add the food coloring to dish soap or corn syrup and you got yourself a little homemade paint.

7. Shaving cream

Who cares about art, a pile of shaving cream is irresistible to kids…believe me! It’s like a miniature pile of fluffy heaven to them. Add drops of watercolor (or food coloring) to the pile and let them use use straws to mix the colors around. For fun, we lightly dropped a piece of watercolor paper onto the foam design. Then we pulled it off, and waited for it to set. I guess we could have waited a long time for the foam to disappear…but we were too impatient and just scraped the excess off. It left a really cool design on the paper.

8. Cereal boxes

Well, for that matter any prepackaged food in a box will work. The thick corrugated cardboard can work too, but the thinner cardboard in cereal boxes works best. It’s more like card stock, which is great for paint. I used an x-acto and straight edge to quickly cut the boards, but scissors work fine. If you have gesso or white paint, cover the printed side only. If you paint on the nonprinted side the board will curl.

9. Cookie cutters

Cookie cutters double perfectly as stencils.

10. Old toothbrushes?!

Perfect for flicking paint! Dip the bristles in a color then use your thumb to sprinkle drops of paint everywhere. Believe me you’ll only need to show your kids how to do this once.


Have fun!

Most importantly have fun with your kids, and use your imagination!

Have you used anything more weird than any of these 10 things? I would love to know what they are!

6 Responses

  1. Lesly

    I can not say it enough: this is an AMAZING website!!!! I am already a number one fan of Art for Kids Hub

  2. Alisa

    I’m a beginning art teacher at an elementary school in Texas. I teach over 600 kids in one week. It can be a bit overwhelming! I can’t tell you how some of your ideas have been a life saver for me. Just wanted to say thanks! Your the bomb! lol

    • Rob

      Hi Alisa,

      Thanks for taking the time to write. That sounds like a very overwhelming job :)

      It means a lot that we’ve helped! It really does. I have 3 kids, and tell myself that’s overwhelming all the time . Hahaha!

      Although I am a little jealous of your Texas weather. Please stay in touch, would love to hear more!


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