Painting with Straws in Preschool

Blown straw painting kids

Make gorgeous drips and swirling designs by painting with straws. This is a wonderful preschool art activity, but fun for all ages.

straw blown painting preschool

painting with straws preschool

Materials: Straw Blown Painting

  • Watercolor paper or card stock — we used 8.5 x 11 card stock from the office supply store. A heavier weight paper will do a good job absorbing the paint and water.
  • Liquid watercolors. We like to use Sax Concentrated Liquid Watercolors from Amazon. They’re washable and non-toxic.
  • Eye droppers or pipettes. If you don’t have a pipette, you can forage your medicine cabinet for a medicine dropper.
  • Straws
  • Tray to hold the paper. This keeps the paint from blowing all over the table
  • Paper towels, sponge, or towels. Optional, but you won’t regret this insurance policy

squeeze paint onto paper

Blow Painting Steps

  1. Set up a tray with a heavy sheet of paper
  2. Place a few bowls filled with a bit of liquid watercolors nearby. Place a pipette in or next to the watercolors.
  3. Invite your child to draw watercolor paint into the dropper and then squeeze it on the paper.
  4. With a straw, blow the paint around the paper.

blow painting preschool


Experiments and Extensions

  • Once your child has had enough paint blowing, add a brush and invite him or her to paint
  • Test regular narrow straws against fat milkshake straws. Which works better? Our favorite was the fat straw.
  • After the paint blowings have dried, add another layer of paint blowings with different colors
  • Fold in half and turn your paintings into cards. See 40 Homemade Cards that Kids can Make for ideas.
  • Dip the end of a straw into tempera paint and then use it as a stamp. Watch Art Tips and Tricks: 5 Non-traditional Painting Tools to see this in action.

straw blown painting


Rachelle is an arts educator, coach, and author of the best selling kids’ craft-meets-science book, TinkerLab: A Hands-on Guide for Little Inventors. Her articles and ideas on creativity and arts education have been featured in School Arts Magazine, Real Simple, and FamilyFun. Rachelle has an art studio in Palo Alto, CA  and leads an active Facebook group, Club TinkerLab, which is home to over 6000 maker parents and educators.

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  1. says

    i love that N used an analogous color palette for these paintings. keeps the results from getting muddy. N’s works of art are so lovely and what a fun process! we’ve only done the blown paint thing once two autumns ago to make trees — which is a timely application in the coming month’s too, so maybe we’ll do it again: — and i’ll try to add an image to my comment, too! :)

    • rachelle says

      Thanks for adding the art vocabulary bit, Jen :) I should have thought of that. I try to keep our palette tight when I can, but sometimes it’s impossible! I love the wind blown tree…perfect for fall and all the leaves that are currently shedding from our trees. Sniff sniff.

    • rachelle says

      You absolutely could do this with water and food coloring, and that’s where I’d start if I thought my child might suck the paint right up (it happened when my daughter was almost 2 1/2…how old is Jaycee?). Glad to find you on the Sit and Relax hop!

  2. says

    I’m not familiar with liquid watercolor paint. How does it come? Is it a powder that you mix with water or does it come in a bottle? Maybe a dumb question! : /