17 Acrylic Painting Techniques To Try With Kids

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17 acrylic painting techniques to explore with kids • Artchoo.com

 

Exploring acrylic painting techniques with your kids is a wonderful way to get them used to the medium. Any time kids play with an art material, they become more comfortable with it and will approach future projects with confidence. Plus it’s just really, really fun to experiment.

Acrylic paints may be my all-time favorite medium. They’re versatile and they dry fast- 2 important aspects of planning projects for both children and me. You can use them in an astonishing number of ways, and I played around with some of them to give you ideas of what you can do with your kids to introduce them to using acrylics.

My very favorite brand is Golden paints, (I’m not affiliated with them in any way) but to start with you may want to buy cheaper paints for your kids. I’m a big fan of using the best materials you can afford, since these will always yield the best results, but at the same time I wouldn’t give my 3 year old a bunch of expensive acrylics to play with! My 10 year old is another story. She loves exploring with acrylics, and appreciates learning how they work.

How do they work? Let’s dive into them. (And these are only some of the ways you can use them.) Wheeeee!

1. Wet-on-wet- Mix a color of acrylic paint with water until it’s the consistency of watercolor. Drip or splatter in a second color mixed to the same consistency. Does this remind you of one of the watercolor techniques I featured?

Acrylic Painting Techniques • Artchoo.com

surface: watercolor paper

 

2. (top) Wet-on-dry – Mix the acrylic to the consistency of watercolor, but paint on dry paper. You’ll get a clean edge, but the paint looks transparent.

3. (bottom) Use a wadded-up paper towel to blot up some of the wet paint to create a textural look.

Acrylic Painting Techniques • Artchoo.com

surface: watercolor paper

4. Paint a wash of acrylic paint over dried acrylic paint.

Acrylic Painting Techniques • Artchoo.com

 surface: watercolor paper

5. Use oil pastels to draw on top of dried acrylic paint.

Acrylic Painting Techniques • Artchoo.com

 surface: watercolor paper

6. Paint a wash of acrylic paint over oil pastel.

Acrylic Painting Techniques • Artchoo.com

surface: watercolor paper

7.  Stencil with acrylic paints using makeup sponge wedges to apply the paint. Acrylic Painting Techniques • Artchoo.com

surface: canvas panel

8. Impasto! You must shout this word out every so often while painting this way. Take a palette knife, and use it to smear a blob of paint gently over the surface. Check out the cool mix of smoothness and texture you get.

Acrylic Painting Techniques • Artchoo.com

 surface: canvas panel

9. The red marks on the bottom were smeared on with a palette knife and then sort of scooped out with the tip of the palette knife. It’s like sculpting!

Acrylic PAinting Techniques • Artchoo.com

surface: canvas panel

10. If you don’t like the weird globs of paint, scrape them off with the edge of the palette knife. It will leave a stain of color in the grooves of the canvas.

Acrylic Painting Techniques • Artchoo.com

surface: canvas panel

11. After your paint has dried, paint a wash of another color over it. Layering washes is a great way to show depth and it is so fun to experiment with using different colors together.

Acrylic Painting Techniques • Artchoo.coom

surface: canvas panel

12. Sgraffito is another fun word to holler, and you can have fun drawing into fresh paint with the end of a paintbrush. Your kids can probably make a far cooler sgraffito painting than I did here. Consider this a challenge.

Acrylic Painting Techniques • Artchoo.com

 surface: canvas panel

13. Using a brush, paint on some acrylic paint that has not been watered down. You will be able to see the brush strokes. Let it dry and then dry brush another color over it. Dry brushing is using paint that is not watered down, but not a lot of it- you sort of drag the paint over the textured area so you can see some of it break through.

Below you can see dry brushing over dark grey paint and over white canvas board.

Acrylic Painting Techniques • Artchoo.com

 surface: canvas panel

14. Hey, why not finger paint with acrylics? Dip your fingers in and make some dot paintings.

Acrylic Painting Techniques • Artchoo.com

 surface: canvas panel

15. Give your acrylics some texture. Grab a piece of white tissue paper. Crumple it into a ball. Flatten it out somewhat and glue it down to your surface. We used acrylic gel medium, but Mod Podge would work well if you have that lying around. We didn’t try regular white glue, so I’m not sure if this is too watery for the tissue or not.

After this dries, paint over it. The green paint is a wash, and the orange is straight paint. Both look great!

Acrylic Painting Techniques • Artchoo.com

surface: canvas panel

16. Straight. Up. Painting. Just mix up some colors and paint with a paintbrush. No water, no fancy scraping or smearing. See what it can do.

Acrylic Painting Techniques • Artchoo.com

 surface: white cardboard

17. Roller-painting - Use a brayer to roll paint across the surface. You’ll end up with a subtle texture and a quick background. The background below was rolled on, followed by impasto painting with a palette knife for the flower. The flower was incised with the end of a paintbrush, and then the dots were added with the stencil. Look at all these techniques coming together!

Acrylic Painting Techniques • Artchoo.com

 surface: stretched canvas

Big Edit! I was reminded in the comments to tell everyone that acrylic paint is permanent, Don the smocks! Have your kids wear junky clothes! (Thanks, Youngzinger)

For more projects using acrylic paints, check out my paper mache/acrylic paint pencils project, mini books project, tape resist painting project, and teeny tiny landscape painting project.

Amazon affiliate links for you art material-purchasing pleasure:

palette knives

Liquitex BASICS acrylic 6-tube set

watercolor paper

canvas panels

brayer (roller) 

small stretched canvases

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Comments

  1. Dionne says

    Thanks! Cheers to you for making this blog. To add… Acrylic on wood, foil, Brown paper bags, and vellum are cool too! I love the idea of affordable art for parents and kiddos. Too often we worry we aren’t doing it properly, when really the bottom line is FUN, an you are bringing the fun back :)

  2. says

    We use acrylic paint fairly often but never in all these cool ways. Just pinned this and your watercolor techniques post. Really excited and motivated to try some new things with the kiddos in my life. Thanks for sharing your talent and creativity!
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