Painting with Babies

Painting with babies sounds like a messy disaster, but it doesn’t have to be!

painting with babies

Once the cold started creeping in, I began scouring the internet for new (indoor) activities to keep the kids entertained. There are lots of good ideas out there for painting with babies, and I find that a combination of techniques works best for us. This method checks the following boxes:

  • No (or minimal) mess — at least not on the babies
  •  Safe
  • Keeps TWO babies entertained for at least ten minutes
  • Bonus: paintings make great gifts!

Here’s how we do . . .

Painting with babies!

You’ll need small canvases: small enough to fit in a freezer bag. I used 8×10 inch and 5×7. The 5×7 are much easier to work with of the two. You’ll also need freezer bags, acrylic paints, masking tape, and a highchair.

First, let me tell you the most important part: get everything prepared before involving the babies. This is especially important if you are dealing with more than one baby at a time!

Step One:

This is optional! Use masking tape to cover an area where you don’t want paint. I tried several different masking materials and techniques, but found that plain old masking tape works best. Choose simple shapes or letters and use a coin, card, or your fingernail to make sure the tape is stuck on really well.

You can start on the blank canvas, and the shapes will be white at the end:

Or, you can let the kids paint a little first, then mask areas after the paint has dried for a different result (you’ll add another paint layer later):

Step Two:

Drip some paint onto the canvas. Small amounts work best! If you plan on adding a few layers of paint, I recommend starting with light colors first, then adding darker colors later. You also have a *little* bit of control where the paint will end up. You can see below that I kept the paint mostly to the top of the canvas, because I’ll add darker colors at the bottom later.

painting with babies step two

Step Three:

Carefully slide the canvas into a freezer bag and zip it shut. Again, the 5×7 canvases are easier . . . and this is a big reason why!

painting with babies step three

Step Four:

Use your masking tape to secure the bagged canvas onto a highchair tray. This is optional, but I find it necessary. With two babies to contend with, and one with sharp little teeth, taping the canvas down allows for some peace of mind. This step ensures that paint won’t get into baby’s mouth.

painting with babies step four

Step Five:

Finally — bring in the babies! Strap the kiddos into their highchairs and let them “paint” away. Arlo is a natural, but Everly needs a bit of encouragement. If your little one needs some encouragement, too, you can give him or her a toy to bang with. Or stick a piece of masking tape to the top of the bag, over the canvas. In the process of trying to pick up the tape, some painting will take place as well. Everly did eventually catch on!

Of course, painting with babies is an activity that requires constant supervision. Babies are clever. And curious. And crazy.

painting with babies step five

Step Six:

When the kids lose interest in painting, remove the bagged canvas from the highchair. Carefully remove the paintings from the freezer bags. If you’re nervous about sliding the canvas out, you can cut the bag open instead. Once the paint is completely dry, you can remove the masking tape, or start over from Step Two and add another paint layer.

For this painting, we did a layer of oranges, yellows, and greens over the whole canvas. Once that dried, I masked off “LOVE,” and the babies painted a second layer of dark blues:

painting with babies step six

This one was masked right away, and was also painted in two parts: light colors first, then dark colors:

painting with babies step six

For this last one, we got a bit more ambitious. I masked off tiny sailboats and birds. You can see that the smaller shapes don’t turn out as well. The babies painted the sunset sky first. Then, I masked the sky and let them paint the lake.

painting with babies step six

And there you have it, little masterpieces! Using canvas and acrylic paints makes these works of art permanent and immediately ready to hang on your wall, or give as a gift.

painting with babies

5 thoughts on “Painting with Babies

      1. I can tell you before I even ask her, She would say,
        Always buy two of everything or they will fight. (Doesn’t matter what it is but it is so true)
        If someone offers help, don’t hesitate to say yes, twins will wear you out!
        And even though it will be super crazy with two, enjoy every minute while they are young because it won’t last as long as you think!

        Oh and be prepared to hear “Are they twins?” for the rest of your life, over and over and over again lol. I still hear that one when I am with my sister “Are you all twins?”. May not be as bad for you with a boy and girl.

        1. Yes, thinking of making a shirt that says: Yes, they’re twins. A boy and a girl. No, they are not identical (see: boy and girl).:)

          1. Hahahaha I love that idea!! The identical question kills me too, I always wanted to say no (just to see their reaction) because we are and you could tell.

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