Every once in a while we do an art activity at toddler play group that silences all the adults and has us all kind of dumbfounded by it’s beauty. This Jackson Pollock art mural for kids was one of those activities. With every addition of color we just all stared in awe of the gorgeous effortless beauty these little ones created. It was truly magical. If you have some little ones (or big ones) who might like to try an incredible art experience, here’s the how to.
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What’ you’ll need…
I was introduced to this incredible, absorbent surface via my friend Joleen at The Inspired Child and it is amazing!!! I have to add it to my favorite must have art supply list. It’s that good. One side is plastic, making it super durable, and the other is this amazing absorbent clothe like surface that sucks up paint and doesn’t tear. It’s awesome and cheap! You can cut it any size you want, too.
Assorted Paints – we used liquid watercolors, Mala Paints, Biocolor Paints
Rollers or brayers
All of the above is optional for this project with the exception of the 2 Layer Drop Cloth. I’m not suggesting you buy all of these supplies to do a project like this. I’ve been collecting art supplies for a long time. Use what you have. Of all the supplies above, I’d say the squeeze bottles are the best investment. We use them for paint, glue, watercolors, water, etc. Great supply to have around the house.
I started by filling a big bucket with spray bottles and ketchup bottles filled with liquid watercolor and water, nancy bottles filled with tempera and water, and bio colors and water. Adding water will help your paints last longer. If you are new to bio colors, they are heavier than tempera paint and sort of stain whatever surface you’re working on leaving an amazing print.
Then I spread the entire 2 Layer Drop Cloth absorbent side up, on the ground in our backyard. This project can get messy so you may want to save it for a sunny day outside. Please keep in mind that we did this on a large scale. You can easily cut up much smaller rectangles of the drop clothe and put them in a bucket like you see here, and do this on a much smaller scale. It will still come out awesome and be super fun.
Within minutes the kids began to gather around the bucket. I didn’t have to explain a thing. They got right to work squeezing the paint over the drop clothe just like Jackson Pollack. These young artists are all toddler age. If you are working with kids older than three I would take the time to talk about Jackson Pollack and show examples of his work. Here is a fun Jackson Pollack book to read as well.
Let the kids squeeze and spray and walk all over that art mural as they please. For these toddlers, the concentration was palpable. Once supplies started to dwindle I brought out my favorite mala squeeze paints from ikea. This gave me a chance to do a little refill of all the squeeze bottles. The kids were engrossed in squeezing those mala bottles. They are the perfect size for little hands. You’ll be surprised how long the paint lasts too. I’m not suggesting you’ll have any left most likely, but you’ll have some really happy kids and an amazing art mural inspired by Jackson Pollock. Look at these kids go.
This step came straight from one of the toddlers at play group. She walked straight over to my supply area of huge brushes (I got these brushes at Trash for Teaching, my favorite place) and started using them on the art mural. All the parents had a good laugh at her resourcefulness. It reminded me to bring out our rollers and brayers too, which the kids loved to move back and forth over the mural.
These kids had such a blast we worked on this Jackson Pollock art mural for two weeks. We probably could go on and on with it but it looks so beautiful right now I am saving it to hang in my new art studio.
I just love seeing these happy artful faces.
Of course, once it was all dry a few days later, we had to hang it and do a photo shoot. That’s pretty much a Cherry household standard. Make a mural, do a photo shoot.
My girls are performers and love a chance to show off their moves in front of the camera.
This Jackson Pollock Art Mural was a super fun art project for kids. I love Jackson Pollock’s free form style and it works so well for young children. Next I want to trace my girls in different positions on the drop cloth in thick black marker and then have them paint it so you can just see the sillohuetes and all the amazing paint. Won’t that be cool? My list of art for kids keeps growing and growing. There is never enough time.
Remember, this art mural doesn’t have to be gigantic like this one. The drop cloth can be cut up and they are so big they will last a long time. I highly highly recommend it. Here are all the other art supplies I recommend as well. This is my go to list from years of experimenting with art for kids.
So, what do you think? Will you give this a try? I’d love to see a picture if you do.
Thanks for reading along everyone! xo Meri
Oh my goodness! These photos make me SO giddy!
: ) We had a really great time!
This is so cool! I used to use the same drop cloth in my art classes when we did watercolor murals, but I wish I had thought to add other types of paint to the mix. Love the photos too!
Thanks Megan! Not surprised you know about this paper. It’s soooooo awesome. The Bio colors work great on it.
Oh what Fun!! Your photos made me smile. I know the focus was on process not product. But the end result is really Gorgeous!
Hi Mary! I love receiving your messages. Isn’t it gorgeous?! To be honest these pics really don’t even do it justice. I didn’t shoot at the best time of day the final product. It’s breathtaking in person. Hope you give something like this a try! xo Meri
may I ask you a question? I’m thinking about doing a little jackson-pollock-art-event at the day care (is that what it is called in the US? I’m coming from Germany, we call it kindergarten) of my son. I’d just like to do some process art with the kids. It’s a group of 20 3-6-year old children. I don’t think that all of the little ones would like to join and of course I can set a limit, but I’m not sure, how big a group should be, what size of a group i could handle. So would you as an art teacher give me an advice? So if I don’t have to worry about the mass of supplies, what would you think, how many kids could work on a piece of canvas (was thinking about buying just fabric and lay it flat on the ground). Is it better to have a huge piece of cotton/canvas and let all the kids work on one? Or would it be better to have smaler pieces and split into different groups of for example 3 kids? Would be great to get some advice from you. Many thanks from Germany 🙂 Petra.
Is this type of material able to be framed? How would you hang it in your home?
Absolutely. You can put it behind any frame. It is very easy to cut.
Love love love this. Where do you buy that kind of cloth? And did you wet the cloth first before you started painting? Do you think you could stretch it onto a frame after? And lastly, what are bio colours? Do they go by son other name? Can’t find them in oz. sorry for all the questions!!! Your blog is wonderful btw, my First time on here really exploring and I’ve been on it for hours! X Susie
Hi Susie! So cool to see your name pop up here. You can definitely frame the clothe. I am actually working on framing a huge one right now. I can let you know how it goes. I think I have a link to the drop clothe in the materials area at the top of the post. I got it on amazon. Bio Colours are kind of thicker tempera paint that you can do a few tricks with. They sort of stain the surface you’re working on even when you wipe it away, but in this really cool way. I think you can only buy big ones on Discount School Supply. I think they are specific to that company. So happy to hear you checked out my blog. Happy to answer any questions you have!!
i love this so much! I just ordered the materials. I will post pics for you to see. Just a heads up that the spray bottles say ‘no longer avaliable’ if you want to switch the link for a different kind.
Love all you do!
Oh great. Thanks Justine! Have fun!!
Hi Meri, what a wonderful project! Love how it turned out. We’re working on a community art project and will potentially be using donated old house paints — I was curious if you think that this drop cloth would also work well with other paints that aren’t water-based? And how do you think the drop cloth would hold up being displayed outside for up to a month? Thank you again for the inspiration. Your site is now my go-to when I’m in search of great materials and projects!
This is fantastic! I was thinking about doing a large collaborative art project for my daughters 4th birthday — I notice you say the kids worked on this for two weeks…how long was each session? Over how many days? Even if it’s not ideal for the party I would love to get one going while the weather is still nice here!
Hi! I want to do this with my class of two and three year olds this week. I know it will be amazing. My only question is do these IKEA paints stain? I have almost everything on your recommended list but I’m worried about this paint getting on clothes or shoes and not coming off… 🙂
They are pretty washable but sometimes they can stain. I don’t want to promise anything. Maybe wear smocks or let the parents know ahead of time to wear art clothes to school that day. Good luck!
We just did this today – thanks so much for the info and helpful hints! I’d be happy to send you pics to see 🙂
Fantastic! Would love to see!
I would love to do this with 10 3-5-year-olds over a 45-minute art class, is it possible to do in one session or do you need drying time between the different media top stop it all blending in together?Thanks and I love your tutorials!
Hi Vanessa, I think you can do it in one session. It just will have more layers the more times you work on it. But everything will still work in one session. Hope that helps and have fun!
When you say you mix Biocolour with water, could you tell me in what ratio?
Hmm…Probably about one part biocolor and 3 parts water. Though it really doesn’t matter so much. It’s ok to experiment and see what effect you like.
Hi Meri Cherry, thank you for sharing. I bought different drop cloth from homedepot and amazon, and my little two love it so much, I mean the process painting on drop cloth you recommended! They were having so much fun in two hours! They were 5 and 2.
I couldn’t stop loving ur blog and ur innovative art ideas from the very first glance on, when I opened the link of ur website krokotak jotted in one of its articles. Thank you for everything you shared.
I did this with my 4yr old and 2yr old daughters and 5yr old nephew!! We had so much fun…but our colors didn’t turn out near as pretty. Looks like you mixed colors before hand so they prettier? We used IKEA Mala Paints, Sargent watercolor magic liquid water color in spray bottles and a few colors of Sargent tempera paint watered down in ketchup type bottles. Tips please! 🙂