dripping paint

My daughter lurves squeezing just about anything (including her sister’s “plump little cheeks,” as she says it).

I was inspired to pull our squeeze bottles out for a painty afternoon. I purchased the small squeeze bottles (Nancy Bottles) from Discount School Supply, but clean shampoo, ketchup, or similar bottles would also work well. In fact, a variety of bottles would be a playful painting experiment!

Our easel was set up in a funny spot between the dining table and a wall because I found that moving it around the house and yard makes it much more appealing to my daughter. Without this movement it becomes a stagnant piece of furniture and won’t draw her in.

splat mat

Set Up

  • Cover the floor with a drop mat or large pieces of paper, taped to the ground.
  • Fill your easel with paper
  • Fill bottles with tempera, Bio Color, or acrylic paint. We used tempera, which is great for process-based work and it isn’t archival. If you plan to work on a canvas, acrylic paint would be a better way to go.
  • To create coherency, choose a palette of colors that work well together.
  • Optional: Add paint pots and brushes for adding additional mark-making

child squeezing paint

Without actually squeezing the bottle on the paper, I described the process to my daughter. I tried to be somewhat vague so that she could explore the medium freely. She’s used these bottles numerous times and got right to work.

drippy painting

Once she squeezed as much as she wanted, N picked up a brush and added some brown paint strokes over the drips. She seemed to enjoy the procces of blending colors to eradicate some of the drips.

painting over drippy paint

And then she enjoyed the process of smearing more of the drips together into beautiful mixed up smudges of color.

Because of the splat mat, clean-up was surprisingly simple. While I should have wiped down the easel soon after the painting session, I waited half the day and our easel still sports reminders of this project. But it reminds me of a fun afternoon, and I like the way it looks!

If your children like to drip paint, here are some other paint dripping projects that we’ve experimented with:

Salt and Flour Paint (age 2 1/2)

Squeezing Paint (age 2 1/2)

Sugar Cube Sculpture (age 3)

Funnel Painting (age 33 months)

Drippy Gravity Painting (age 2 1/2)


  1. Oooh, this would be right up our alley. I have two cherubs that love to squeeze bottles, so how captivating to squeeze away to your hearts content and create a masterpiece in the process.

  2. I love that you’ve put ages next to the projects…and the paint on the easel looks good enough to eat. Really, it looks like pudding, such a fun texture.

    • I’m glad to hear that’s helpful, Jena. And that pudding-like texture must be why so many kids gravitate to painting!

  3. Oh I love it! I am bookmarking this page! Hopefully my kids will let me paint with them!

    • I hope they’ll let you paint with them too, Keri 🙂

  4. Love it!
    Wondering what else you do with your larger paper masterpieces.
    Last year I started using them for wrapping paper.
    (I even wrapped 2 LARGE wedding gifts with brown craft paper painted by a then 3 yr old- umm – they sure stood out on the gift table! *grin*)
    Now it is our standard wrapping paper and I refuse to buy wrapping paper- no matter the occasion.

    • Do you mean besides recycling them? 🙂 We also use them for wrapping paper, but you’ve taken it a step further to wrap wedding gifts with art. That’s brilliant! Some go into our “keep” box, a few hang around our house, they’re occasionally gifted to family members, and once in a while we’ll cut them up and collage them into new pieces. Great question!

  5. great squeeze bottles and anything that drips is an engaging experiment for kids!! love the photos!

Comments are closed.