Art Experiment | Glue Art on Paper


Glue Art on Paper is a process-based art activity that will lead to surprising discoveries and build creative confidence in kids.

If you’re finding yourself here, chances are that you have a young child and/or see the benefits of experimenting with art materials. Process-based art is a meaningful way for young children to grow as makers and for adults to take an well-needed art break that’s good for the soul.

There are so many benefits to playing and experimenting with art supplies — for both kids and adults:

  1. It’s relaxing
  2. Taking time to create can be meditative
  3. New discoveries come through experiments
  4. It builds confidence and knowledge of tools and materials

This project can be done with children as young as three.


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The Set-up

  1. Squeeze liquid watercolors into your ice cube tray or separate bowls. We used 4 colors. A variety of colors is useful for this project as it encourages color experiments.
  2. You can use one pipette or different pipettes for each color. We chose to used two. This led to colors mixing, which we didn’t mind.
  3. Set up one sheet of watercolor paper, glue bottle, pipette (on top of the ice cube tray), and a skewer.
  4. Squeeze glue circles onto the paper.
  5. With the pipette, squeeze a few drops of liquid watercolor on the glue circles
  6. Invite your child move the paint through the glue in whatever way he or she likes.
  7. Older children can practice fine motor skills by squeezing their own glue and drops of liquid watercolors on the glue.

Take it further

Once you have this preliminary test under your belt, ask yourself or your child, “what else can we do with these materials?” Be open to new experiments and ideas. You may be surprised where it takes you. Some ideas:

  1. Add small pieces of paper to make collages.
  2. Press stickers onto paper and make glue designs on top of them. Will you be able to see the stickers when the glue dries?
  3. Play with glue and watercolors on top of wax paper. When it dries, can you peel the designs off the paper?

For more activities like this, along with tools for setting up a home space that supports creative growth, the The Art Habit is designed just for you.

What Adults Can Learn From How Children Create

Lessons Learned from how Children Create | by Amy Miracle | TinkerLab

I’m happy to introduce you to my friend, art therapist and artist, Amy Maricle, who’s talking with us today about what adults can learn about how children create. As we get older, we often ignore our own creative desires, and observing children easily tap into their natural interests as makers is a wonderful reminder that this same set of skills has been inside of us all along.

The next time you sit down to do art with your kids, I’d like to invite you to approach it a bit differently. Without saying anything, let your kids lead the art activity. Observe them, copy them, and be inspired by them. Why?

child directed art activities

Kids naturally know a lot about how to use art to manage their feelings. They let their anger, fears, and uncertainties speak through song, dance, storytelling, and drawing.  Until they reach a certain age, they aren’t concerned about making “art,” or whether or not it’s “good.” We could learn a lot from them!

Kids make art for the joy of it. You could too.

child directed art activity

Art is a powerful tool for being present, letting go, and expressing emotions if you approach it intentionally, but because we live in a society that says that art belongs to people who are “talented,” it takes a bit of practice to allow yourself to create for the joy of it. I’m not saying you shouldn’t ever teach kids art techniques. These tools are empowering tools for self-expression. However, you can help your kids hang onto their ability to use art for wild, free creation that brings release, joy, and meaning, and let them teach you how to do it too!

child directed art making

Recently, as I made a watercolor painting with one of my kids, he dipped his paintbrush directly from one color to the next, using them as his palette. At first, my perfectionistic side cringed as he “muddied” my watercolors, but I suppressed the urge to shut down his creative idea. He achieved beautiful color variation and created a pattern with a series of these multicolored brush strokes he called his “little onions.” I followed suit and took his idea to the next level, filling up the whole page with these gorgeous “little onions.” (Green onion, maybe?) This painting is one of my favorites and hangs in our hallway where I am reminded of this lesson and the fun we had frequently.

Here’s some tips for letting your kids teach you about how to express yourself through art:

  1. Cut a length of roll paper big enough for you and your children to work together.
  2. Observe: Let your kids initiate the art making. Watch how they hold art materials, apply them to the page, make choices about what comes next, etc.
  3. Let go of expectations/ Reframe your expectations: Know this is not “art,” it’s self-expression.
  4. Imitate and innovate: Imitate your kids’ techniques and images at first, and then take the ideas in new directions as you feel inspired.

I’d love to hear from you in the comments about how this kind of free expression works for you!

If you’d like to learn more about using art as a way to turn off your busy mind and just get creative for YOU, check out my new class, Free Guide to Creative Self-Care. I’ll teach you to take advantage of some easy, fun art techniques to let go of stress and perfectionism and use art as a tool for your own healing and self-expression.

child directed art

Thanks to my friend Missy and her wonderful girls for allowing me to record their art making!

Amy Maricle HeadshotAmy Maricle is art therapist and artist based in Massachusetts. She is also the founder of Mindful Art Studio. She created Mindful Art Studio to share all that she knows about the healing power of art for ANYONE and EVERYONE. Find Amy on Facebook and Instagram.

Junk Critters | Make Art with Recycled Materials

I’m a huge fan of breathing new life into long-lost materials, and I’ve been making found object art pieces like these since I was a kid.

How to make art with recycled materials

Last weekend my friend, Danielle, and were in Napa to lead a fun, fast-paced Maker Session at the California Association of Museums annual conference.

For our workshop we brought these cool hands-on mystery boxes that my kids oohed and ahhhed over before I headed off to play in wine country.

Tinkering Kits

The tinkering kits carried similar materials, but the nature of collecting found objects meant that each maker box was unique. I’ll share images from the workshop with a close-up on how adults interpreted these materials shortly, but I thought you might be interested in seeing what kids made of these.

My kids were my prototype testers, after all.

Found Object Art - Make a Junk Critter |

Collect your junk supplies

Before the boxes were even filled, we experimented with some basic materials like ribbon, wood scraps, fabric swatches, paper baking cups, markers, and plastic party beads.

You’ll need:

  1. Junk
  2. Something to cut the junk (scissors)
  3. Something to attach the junk (glue gun – Amazon link to our favorite one)

Found Object Art - Make a Junk Critter |

Invest in a low-heat glue gun

There are always people who gasp when they see kids handling hot glue guns (maybe that was you…no worries) and I’m here to tell you that kids are capable of using glue guns.

Here are a few glue gun tips for kids:

  • Use a low-heat glue gun like the Cool Shot (Amazon link). I’ve been using this model for years, and it’s fabulous. If you spend more than a few seconds touching the tip you could theoretically burn yourself, but I have yet to see this happen.
  • Explain the glue gun rules to your child ahead of time: don’t touch the tip, try not to touch the hot glue with your bare hands

Found Object Art - Make a Junk Critter |

Add some eyes

My 3-year old worked on this one. She added goggly eyes to make it come alive, but of course you could draw eyes on or cut eyes from paper. Googly eyes are an awesome invention, and truly animate anything they’re stuck to. We have a pair on our stapler, and “he” looks like a little alligator.

Found Object Art - Make a Junk Critter |

We foraged the recycling bin for more objects and had some fun with building blocks and pom-poms: all stuck on with the miraculous glue gun.

Found Object Art - Make a Junk Critter |

Share your found object art critters

When you’re all done creating, put your critters on display, play with them, take photos of them, carry them on a walk and take photos of them in different places. The options are endless. More sharing ideas:

Share on Facebook

And if you’re really brave, snap a photo and share it with me on my Facebook page!


When I was at the conference we asked participants to take a photo of their critter and tag it with #tinkercritter. Here’s on example. I love it! Go check out their critters and upload your own to Instagram. Don’t forget to tag it with #tinkercritter!

More Found Object Art

This cool Pinterest board from Mary Briden

Louise Nevelson painted on assemblages made from wood scraps in the 1950’s.

Joseph Cornell made these gorgeous diorama boxes that were filled with all sorts of curious ephemera.