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How To Create Painted Paper 101

Many people have asked how I make painted papers.

The whole PROCESS of painting papers is one of my students
favorite things to create in the art room.
They love to paint. 
With these helpful suggestions you will too!

4-painted paper

Construction Paper
Step 1: Grab a nice quality paper. I used 12″ x 18″ drawing paper or 
12″ x 18″ Tru-Ray Construction paper.  
Tru-Ray is really strong and does not tear 
when loads of paint is applied.
Step 2: I use School Smart Stubby Plastic Handle Paint Brush Pack. I suggest to the students to “hop” around their paper. 
No blending. We want to see the paint and brush strokes.
Sometimes we use texture brushes along with cardboard tubes, plastic lids and rings. Any item you can paint with or leave a print will work!
I ordered these from Lakeshore. 
(A pre-primary/primary school catalog.)
Step 3: Grab the paints. I use Blick Premium Tempera and Crayola. I have found the premium paint is brighter and opaque. 
Washable paint is not as vivid.
Don’t forget your placemats to keep your tables clean.

 I use 18″ x 24″ manilla tagboard as placemats.

They are durable and last a whole semester!

When I paint all day: my first class starts with yellow and white
with a little peach or tan.
When you add white to the paint it creates a TINT (a lighter color).


I go to the next color grouping for the next class : Yellow, Orange, Red. 
My third class of the day will use Red, White and Fuchsia (hot pink). The kids also use the same color family of construction paper to paint on. Then we continue with Purple and Blue etc. always using white for tints.
Sometimes we just need to use up paints so we mix it up!

Spray bottles filled with watered down paint or watercolors create beautiful effects on the previous painted paper.4-DSCN0199
When you are painting paper with 5 classes a day you need a
large drying rack. This has been a life saver!!
I can get four 12″ x 18″ sheets on one shelf.
Just imagine the rainbow of colors of painted paper
at the end of the day!
If you are painting with a few children you can lay the sheets on a table
or on the floor. Use a plastic table cloth as a drop cloth.
To store: Stack the sheets in like colors so it is easy 
to grab for future projects.
I have a storage table that I use for storing my painted papers it works wonderful. Bins were purchased at Target dollar spot in the fall.
Enjoy the processing of mixing beautiful colors on paper!!!
Laura 🙂







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  • Reply
    Jennifer Snook
    January 31, 2016 at 7:52 pm

    I love this idea and I'm curious: is this what you do for the lesson that day in art or is it just for part of the class? I know the painted paper is part of something bigger later like collage. I have 40 minutes with my students and could see doing this for part of the class but not the whole time… Thanks!!

  • Reply
    Dee Vandera
    January 31, 2016 at 8:28 pm

    I love your blog. I'm an adult and consider myself in the category of kid when painting, as I'm just learning. Your blog is colourful and beautiful. Lucky kids who have you for their teacher.

  • Reply
    February 1, 2016 at 1:17 am

    Actually I have them make 3-4 sheets per student takes 30 minutes then we open up choice stations Legos, block, drawing. My classes are 40 minutes. I also do this at the end of the school year to get ready for the first day of school for the next school year.

  • Reply
    February 1, 2016 at 1:18 am

    Awww Thank You. Keep on creating!

  • Reply
    Jillian Nintze
    February 2, 2016 at 2:47 am

    I have tried this with my art students and they love it! I have found with some of the younger kids that they want to over mix their paint on the paper and get muddy colors. If they prepare painted paper beforehand and collage their compositions rather than straight paint it, their work stays bright, crisp, and easy to interpret. Thank you for the tips!

  • Reply
    February 5, 2016 at 3:14 pm

    I have a couple of questions… 1. Since you store the painted paper in stacks of rainbows, does that mean you have a stack of painted paper per class? 2. When the students use the paper for a project, do they use the painted paper they created, or do they just pick any painted paper from the stack? 3. Do you let the students pick any colors they want to work with, or do you have guidelines? Like, classes at the beginning of the day start with certain certain colors, and classes at the end of the day do another color grouping?
    Sorry that was a lot!

  • Reply
    February 7, 2016 at 6:59 pm

    I use the painted paper instead of regular colored construction paper, so it just another material available for projects. It goes into a community pile so if I need to use green construction paper for a project I then put out the previously painted paper in different shades of green. This creates more unique projects. I do have some guidelines but that is based on the project not the class. We create so many different shades of paper that my students have a hard time picking which paper they like best because they like the papers so much. When creating painted papers I do make a ton at the very end of the school year so that the next school year we have a huge supply. Usually around Feb we have to start making more, but the students love the process of paint so much it is never a problem. I hope that answers your questions. Please ask if you have any more questions! I love helping ya out. 🙂

  • Reply
    February 8, 2016 at 12:15 pm

    Totally! 🙂

  • Reply
    Lillian Wheaton
    August 5, 2016 at 3:19 pm

    Love the idea of painted paper! I am the first art teacher my pre-k 4 to 5th grade will have. I figure painted paper will give all the age groups practice with using paints and a paintbrush:)

    Question – how are your tables set up? I will have 4-5 students per rectangular table. How many containers of paint? Does each student get their own paintbrush or does each color have paintbrushes already assigned? If so how many brushes per paint color?
    How many paint containers per table?

    I understand you don’t use water- and I don’t have a sink so that’s great! Il thinking I’ll start the day with yellow, go to orange etc – around the color wheel so I don’t have to wash out paint brushes until the end of the day?

    Thank you!!!

    Btw pre-k 4 will not be doing painted paper;)

    • Reply
      August 6, 2016 at 8:57 am

      Hi Lillian! I set up my tables like you 4-5 students at a rectangular table. To start painting paper my first class starts with yellow, white and a little orange. The entire class is only using those colors. Each student has their own brush as well. The next class uses orange and pink plus a little white. Yes I paint the color wheel just like you describe. You will not have to rinse brushes! Yippee! I do like to switch over to clean brushes if I go to green paint but it is not necessary. Plus I use 12 x 18 Tru-Ray construction paper and good premium tempera paint no washable paint. This is a must! Each kiddos paints at 2-3 sheets per class. Happy Painting! 🙂

  • Reply
    Kristen Vetterlein
    August 28, 2016 at 1:18 am

    Hello! To piggyback off of Lillian’s questions, are you having them paint their colors (i.e. yellow and orange) on white paper or a color of construction paper. I always wonder this when I look at your projects but can’t figure it out. Do they every make the paper from white? Thank you! I am inspired to start the year!!

    • Reply
      August 28, 2016 at 10:05 am

      Hi Kristen!
      To answer your question I use both papers, colored and white ~ what ever I have a lot of. Lately most of my painted paper has been on Tru-Ray colored construction paper. Have a terrific year! 🙂

  • Reply
    September 3, 2016 at 4:38 pm

    Hi! Could you please list the color combinations? I am a long term art sub with limited art training, but would like to do this project. I see k-5 daily.

    • Reply
      September 4, 2016 at 12:29 pm

      Hi Cheryl, I start with yellow, orange and white for the first class. The next class uses yellow, orange and pink. The next class pink and white. Purple, pink, red and white. Blue, Purple, and white. Blue and green. Use big brushes and hop around on the paper. Have fun!

  • Reply
    Michelle Kinsley
    September 27, 2016 at 10:31 pm

    Love your post! Can you please let me know what drying rack that is? I’m trying to find one to purchase and I’m having trouble figuring out one that will have enough drying area for 6 classes of elementary art in one day. Obviously I need a strong durable one! Thank you!

    • Reply
      October 2, 2016 at 12:56 pm

      I ordered it from Sax Arts and Crafts. Gran Adell All-Steel Heavy Duty Multi Drying Rack, Galvanized Wire, 50 Shelf, 4 Wheel. 🙂

  • Reply
    Pari Sadeghi
    December 9, 2016 at 7:52 pm

    I really want to try using painted paper instead of plain colored construction paper. I love your ideas. When you pass out the paints, what do you put them in? Do you only put out the colors that the specific class is using? Do you save the paint they don’t use or only put out the amount you think they will use? I find trying to save the paint is not so easy.

    • Reply
      December 10, 2016 at 8:32 pm

      Hi Pari, I pour small amounts of paints on plastic plates so I do not have wasted paint. One class will have 2 analogous colors with white then the next class will have another group of colors. The paint poured is about the size of a small pancake. 🙂

  • Reply
    Teju Jhaveri
    July 20, 2017 at 1:49 am

    How many students do you have in each class? I have about 40 students in each class, with no helpers, and I’m at my wits end trying to make sure that the kids don’t make a giant mess

    • Reply
      July 21, 2017 at 10:44 am

      Hi Teju,
      I have 30 with no helpers. My secret is to use 3 colors per class and no water. Water makes the paint colors not so vivid. 🙂

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