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The magic of easel painting for kidsEasel painting for kids is one of those processes that never gets old.  It’s simple, easy, and almost completely independent.  Easels are a staple in our art studio and kids of all ages use them daily to express themselves.

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The magic of easel painting for kidsI posted the pic above on instagram the other day and mentioned my love for images of children working at easels.  The response was so exciting.  It seems like I’m definitely not the only one who loves to see children painting on easels.  It got me thinking about our easels, the paints and paper we use, and what makes it such a magical experience.

The magic of easel painting for kidsI think there are a lot of ways to have a successful experience working at an easel, though there are definitely some tips that I can share from our experience that might be of value.  Let me know what you think.  And if you have any of your own tips I’d love to hear them in the comments below.

The magic of easel painting for kidsOur Easel of Choice

Our easel of choice is by far, an Ikea easel.  They are 19 dollars the last time I checked.  You can order them on Amazon if you’re not close to an ikea but unfortunately they are way more.  They are light, nice to look at, and sturdy.  Of course it would be nice if they put a tray on both sides, but hey, at 19 bucks, I can’t complain.  They are not weather resistant though so I don’t recommend keeping them outside.

We use four of them daily.  They are painted on all over the place but I still think they look great.  I’ve never had one break and they easily fold together for storage.  I even saw an art studio hang them on the wall for storage which I thought was brilliant.  I have to look up who it was.  Anyone know?  Regardless of where you put them, I highly recommend these easels for easel painting for kids.  They are also just the right height for the littles and bigger kids.

ikea easel

They have chalk board on one side and white board on the other.  To me that’s pretty irrelevant though because we just use paper on each side for painting.

The magic of easel painting for kidsOur Paper of Choice 

To me, paper is very important.  If you use the wrong paper for something, it can totally change your experience and results. I think this is a common problem parents have, choosing which paper to use. I’ve tried the ikea roll paper and to be honest, I’m not a fan.  It’s a pain to rip off the roll and it just makes everything a little more complicated for me.  I like easy. So, we use Newsprint paper sold in pads of 100 pages.  I buy mine at Michaels because I use the half off coupon and it’s only 7 dollars or so.  I found a pad on Amazon with 50 sheets and if you don’t own an art studio that should be more than enough.

Newsprint Paper

The newsprint fits really well on the easel and the kids can paint their hearts out over and over again.


These are our favorite Clips to attach the paper to the easel.  It’s all about easy.  We used tape for a minute and that was definitely not working.  These clips are great.

The magic of easel painting for kidsThe magic of easel painting for kidsOur Paints of Choice

There are a ton of great tempera paints on the market.  I’ve been happy with Colorations, Prang, and Crayola and a lot of others.  We buy the primary gallon set a lot which also comes with white and we’ve been very happy with it.

Primary Paint Set (Gallon)

Primary Paint Set (Individual and washable)

*Note* Tempera paint comes regular and washable.  The washable kind is more watered down, so I choose the regular tempera paint for the studio.  The regular paint mostly comes out in the wash but not always.  But in truth, I’d say that about the washable kind as well.  If you’re very concerned about it, then I recommend a smock or oversized t-shirt over clothes or go naked : )

I also always have a great Magenta on hand for color mixing.  We’re big pink fans over here. If you want to see how we do paint mixing with kids check out this post, How to Mix Paint with Kids.

The magic of easel painting for kidsOur Container of Choice

Baby Jars

If you’re a long time reader, you know of my devoted love of baby jars.  I just think they are perfect in every way for storing and using paint with kids.  In five years I’ve maybe had three break.  It’s really not a concern.  Things break.  We clean them.  No biggie.  The kids can handle it.

Our Brush of Choice

Ikea Brush Set (these have my heart)

These brushes are the perfect size for baby jars. They last and last, look pretty and are easy to clean.  Need I say more?

The magic of easel painting for kidsOk, so I think I’ve covered everything?  I hope so.  If you don’t have an easel at home, maybe you’ll reconsider.  They don’t take up that much room I promise! Oh, and you can put a tarp or table clothe underneath if you’re concerned about the mess. Or maybe keep it outside under an overhang if you’re in a sunny or sunnyish climate. Give it a try for 20 dollars next time you’re at ikea.  I think you’ll be so happy you did.  Or come by our studio in LA.  We’ll be really happy you did!

Thanks for reading along! xo Meri

ps If you enjoyed this post, please consider my ebook, Art Secrets Every Teacher Should Know…a Reggio Inspired Approach.  It’s filled with lots of great ideas!

The magic of easel painting for kids