Drawing on Doilies

Do you have any doilies in the back of a cabinet that could use a little marker and sticker beautification?

Why limit yourself to plain ol’ 8.5 x 11 paper when there are so many paper options out there?

We’ve been experimenting with drawing on teeny-tiny paper, gigantic rolls of paper, coffee filters, post-its, tape, and now doilies.

I love browsing dollar stores for fun odds and ends that can take on new lives in our art studio (it’s my achilles heel, if you were to ask my husband), and I spotted three different sizes of paper doilies that sang to me from across the aisles.

Did you know that doilies are known for their singing? Anyhoo, I picked them up, along with a gold sequin tiara for dress-up and kitchen tools that will make great sand toys.


  • Paper Doilies
  • Markers
  • Glue
  • Sequins, pom-poms, stickers, etc.
  • Any other mark-making tools you can dream up

The invitation: I laid out markers and sequins during my daughter’s nap, and when she woke up we made some energetic doily drawings.

The fun thing about doilies is that they pose all kinds of neat challenges to the artist:

  • The round shape offers a suggestion to create circular marks
  • Doilies are full of little bumps and holes that challenge the artist to go around them, over them, or simply deal with them!

What else could we do with our doilies?


A Program Designed to Encourage Kids to Think Outside the Box

I discovered a really great website that’s full of innovation-generating ideas for kids (but they would be SO much fun for adults, too):  Think!

As I read the mind-stretching “assignments,” I was reminded of Learning to Love You More and creative design challenges such as this one at the Tech Museum of Innovation in San Jose, CA.  The ideas are generally fun and simple, and encourage experimentation, problem-solving, curiosity, and exploration…all good skills for helping children develop their abilities to generate new ideas and think independently.

My daughter is mostly too young to be my test-subject, but having taught children ages 5-18, I can see the potential in these activities and look forward to trying these out in our future. Here are a couple examples from the site…

Cards and Straws

Build the largest structure you can and send its measurements in with your pictures. You may use — one box of paperclips, one bag of straws, and one deck of cards.

Good luck!

Paper and Pencil

The only things that you need for this challenge are a stop watch, paper, and pencil. In 60 seconds, write down all of the things that you can do with a brick and a blanket. If your list is less than 10 items long, give yourself another 60 seconds and add some more. Good luck! Share your lists — we’ll make one big list.

New Project from the Getty Museum

Open Studio: A Collection of Art Making Ideas from Artists

In conjunction with Los Angeles-based artist and MacArthur Fellow Mark Bradford, the Getty Museum just released a new project that’s full of unique artist-designed activities. Through these activities, the internationally known artists (Catherine Opie and Kara Walker, to name two!), offer glimpses into their own art-making approaches and processes.

Although the projects are designed for K-12 teachers, some of these creativity-boosting ideas could be fun to try out at home with the 5 and older crowd.  Or, if you’re planning a trip to the Getty this summer, consider preceding or following up your visit with one of these lessons.

Interested?  Check out the Open Studio website here!

Celebration Flags

The town next to us boasts a fabulous kids parade every Fourth of July, where kids of all sizes decorate a vehicle of their choice and then parade down the main street, ending at the park for a big festival of music, hotdogs, and bouncy houses. This is our second year in the parade:  Last year I did all the decorating, but this year N and I collaborated on a triangle banner to adorn her wagon.  We talked about the parade all morning, and she was enthusiastic about the process of drawing circles, dashes and dots all over her triangles.

This really simple project could be spun in a hundred different directions (see links below for other ideas), and it’s a great way to add some bling to your yard, wagon, bedroom, patio, birthday party, etc.

What’s the hook?

  • Your child will reflect on a holiday, idea, or celebration (i.e. Fourth of July, Nature, Birthday)
  • Your child will have an opportunity to collaborate
  • Your child will be part of a process of contributing to an important celebration.


20+ minutes


  • Paper
  • Scissors (for the adult)
  • Drawing materials; crayons, markers, paint, etc. (we used markers)
  • Yarn, ribbon, or twine
  • Masking or Clear Tape


  • Cut paper into shape of choice. We made triangles. I cut 8.5 x 11 paper in half, and then cut free-hand triangles from the paper (we were in a hurry!).
  • Give your child a stack of triangle papers, and keep some for yourself.
  • Draw on your papers, and encourage your child to draw on his or hers’. Since it was the 4th of July, I drew red and blue stars. My daughter has been into circles and dots lately, so that’s what she drew.
  • Cut a piece of string to the desired length.  Leave a little extra on either end to tie it off.
  • Tape the top/back of each triangle, side-by-side, to the string.
  • Voila — you have a banner!
  • Extra fancy, extra credit: If you plan to see both sides of the banner, glue another set of triangles to the back of each piece.  And, if you have time and a sewing machine, you could sew these together with some pretty, wide ribbon for a more lasting creation.  See “Sew a Simple Fourth of July Banner” below.

Related Projects

Sew a Simple Fourth of July Banner

Tutorial: No sew triangle pennant banner with kids

Garden Wish Flags

Newspaper Bunting: A Tutorial

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Kids Art Projects | Rolling Rock Painting

Kids Art Projects | Rolling Rock Painting | TinkerLab.com

Fun Kids Art Activity with Rolling Rocks

I’ve been on the hunt for inspiring activities that foster creative thinking, and just came across a sweet project called Super Sized Marble Painting from Jenny at Let the Children Play.

Jenny is a preschool teacher, so many of her activities are geared toward large groups of kids and I was pressed to figure out a way to pull this off with just me and my 2-year old. Another issue was that I didn’t have any marbles in the house, and I couldn’t swallow forking out $11 for the marbles I found at the toystore this morning. In a fit of resourcefulness that I attribute to my girl scout past, I remembered the big bowl of smooth river rocks I have tucked away for forcing hyacinth bulbs to grow.  Score!  Something to consider:  because painted rocks/marbles are bound to fly around, this is an excellent activity to try outdoors.

Fun Kids Art Activity with Rolling Rocks | TinkerLab.com

Why This Art Project works

  • Children get to experiment with non-art materials (in this case, marbles or rocks instead of paintbrushes), a reminder that all things are not necessarily what they seem, and that objects can be repurposed with new possibilities.
  • Older children will problem-solve as they try to figure out how to achieve color and line combinations within this almost unpredictable, moving framework.
  • Children will be active!  This is not quite Jackson Pollack Action Painting, but without some physical activity the artwork would just never happen.


20+ minutes, 5 minutes for set-up and 5-10 minutes for clean-up

Fun Kids Art Activity with Rolling Rocks | TinkerLab.com

Rolling Rock Art Activity Supplies

  • A stack of paper
  • Thick paint such as Crayola washable tempera paint (affiliate)
  • Small, rolling objects such as marbles or smooth rocks
  • Bowl/bowls for the paint. I lined my bowl with tin foil so that I could simply throw the paint away when we were done — easy clean-up!  I was happy to use one bowl for all the colors, but you may want yours in separate containers.
  • A tray of some sort. I found ours at a thrift store for $3 similar to this one on Amazon (affiliate).  You can find these new at stores like Target.  A clear plastic tub or cardboard box would also do the trick.
  • Masking tape
  • Paint Brush (optional).  Great to have on hand in case your child wants to ditch the rocks for ol’ fashioned brush painting.

Fun Kids Art Activity with Rolling Rocks | TinkerLab.com

The Set-up

  • Tape a sheet of paper inside the tray.
  • Squeezed four paint color into a bowl
  • Dip a rock into the paint and then place it on the paper.  Repeat this step for as many rocks as you’d like.  We used about 8.
  • Rock the tray back and forth to create marks all over the paper.

Fun Kids Art Activity with Rolling Rocks | TinkerLab.com

  • We taped the complete paintings to a fence
  • Clean-up:  I dropped the rocks in a sand pail full of water, swished it around, and poured the water on in the garden, and we washed our hands in the hose before heading inside. Pretty easy.  The apron helped, too!

Kids Art Projects | Rolling Rock Painting | TinkerLab.com

More Toddler Art Projects

For more Toddler Art Activities, you will probably enjoy 12 Art Projects for Toddlers

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