Abstract Painting Project

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This painting project is fun and gives satisfying results for pretty much all ages of kids. You can tailor the project to the age of the child by helping them more or less. For instance, if you are doing this with a 4 year old, you will do more of the placing of the tape and showing them how to mix colors. An older kid will be able to do the whole thing themselves. An even older kid could go nuts with adding lots and lots of different tape layers or even different shapes with the tape.



1: Place some tape onto your board primed with gesso (or canvas). We used a pine board primed with 2 layers of gesso and started by placing random tape pieces on the board.

abstract painting project for kids


2: Cover it with acrylic paint. Don’t use it straight out of the tube! Take this opportunity to work on color mixing.We used a yellow and and unfortunate looking yellowy-green.

abstract painting project for kids

3: Let it dry, peel the tape, add more tape, add more paint. We peeled up about half of the tape pieces, and then made tape stripes this time. You can of course make any shapes you want, loose or straight. We opted for loose stripes with ripped edges.

abstract painting project for kids

Blue paint- the color of the tape!

abstract painting project for kids


abstract painting project for kids


4: Repeat #3. We ripped off the rest of the ‘random’ tape pieces and decided to stick with stripes at this point. We agreed that the green was really ugly, so we left a lot of it uncovered to paint over. (Place next tape stripes mostly over the blue paint to protect it, and your next paint layer will cover over much of the color you don’t like.)

Bright orange this time!

Artchoo! Kids' painting project


abstract painting project for kids

We’re pretty happy with the finished product, but next time we want to try even more layers of stripes. I think limiting the palette to different shades of one color would be really cool. Or try layers of ripped ‘dots’. This project is way open to experimentation.

For more inspiration, check out my acrylic painting techniques resource- 25 techniques!

Acrylic Painting Techniques


  1. 07/09/2012 / 2:53 pm

    Fun! Perfect project to do with my bored 6 year old.

  2. 07/09/2012 / 8:46 pm

    Love this and have a Camp Mom situation brewing – thanks!

  3. 07/10/2012 / 6:17 am

    Yes- and happily acrylic paint dries pretty quickly, so you won’t be waiting forever to remove the tape!

  4. 07/10/2012 / 6:18 am

    Well, then. You could always set up 10 of them to work on at once. Boom. Boredom buster! (That actually sounds fun to me…. hmmmmm)

  5. 07/10/2012 / 12:26 pm

    This is such a neat project – really like the bold colors and the look of the ripped lines! I am thinking of so many possibilities!!! I have to get some of that tape. Wonder if it would work with tempera…

  6. 07/10/2012 / 3:07 pm

    OK, that is an amazing yet very easy art project and yours is worthy of a frame to hang in your living room. You come up with the BEST art projects EVER!!! Seriously. You are amazing with the art ideas! My hat is off to you!

  7. 07/11/2012 / 10:21 pm

    This is such a great project. I think I will attempt this with my (almost) 3 year old. 😉 I have just started browsing your posts and love your blog, Jeanette! I am always looking for new creative projects to do with my daughter so I am adding your blog to my must reads. Thanks also for checking out my blog after the Alt class… I really appreciate it. Looks like you are in Chicago too, so it would be great to keep in touch!

  8. 07/11/2012 / 10:29 pm

    Oh no! I have an almost 3 year old, too! I would absolutely love to see the results if you do the project. Plus, I only know approximately 2 Chicago bloggers, so yes!

  9. 05/06/2013 / 3:45 pm

    What’s this called? I tried looking up negative acrylic painting but that didn’t work. I’m interested in knowing about paint bleed, as well as whether tape rips up underlying areas when you peel it.

    • 05/06/2013 / 3:56 pm

      You know, I’m really not sure if it has a specific name. Try Googling “masking tape painting techniques” and see what you get. Generally, I would stick to using the blue sort of painters tape, because it sticks less than regular masking tape. That way it’s less likely to rip up the surface underneath when you remove it!

  10. 06/02/2013 / 10:14 pm

    This is a very cool process, Jeanette! I’d love to try this with the hooligans.

  11. monika
    05/13/2014 / 10:08 pm

    i look forward to checking out this site.

  12. zeenat
    07/06/2014 / 3:26 am

    Love this! definitely looking forward to this with the kids!

  13. Malka
    07/15/2018 / 9:06 am

    Hi, I am very interested in combining collage and acrylic. Does your book has the instructions, and some ideas?
    Thanks Malka David

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