How to Host a Kid-Friendly Painting Party
Find practical tips for how to throw a creative painting party at home.
Hosting a painting party for your kids and their friends is just about as fun as you can imagine. It was a great opportunity to get a little messy, stir up the creative juices, and entertain during a time of the year when we’re sequestered indoors due to cold weather (not to say it wouldn't be a great outdoor party theme for a warm summer afternoon). While painting parties are a fun social activity that adults have enjoyed for the last few years (a la Paint ’n’ Sip wine nights), planning a similar party at home is a piece of cake, whether you’re in the company of adults experimenting with oil paints, or letting your kids play with washable acrylics.
Gather a few materials in advance of your party:
- fresh paints (choose washable options for kids)
- paper plates for paint
- new paintbrushes
- canvases (high quality paper that can be framed is good too, but I can attest that there’s a magical ‘big kid’ appeal when you give a child the opportunity to create on a real canvas)
- water (for cleaning brushes)
- paper towels for cleanup
Paint palettes can be found at many craft and supply stores (both the classic wooden oval variety and plastic palettes with divided wells), but if you want an even more cost-effective option, use paper plates. For added appeal, use an utility knife to cut a circle as a thumb hole in your palette.
Easels are another must-have that can be hard to find affordably when you need multiples. To allow seven kids to simultaneously paint on the 11" x 14" canvases, I built a long easel ledge that extended the full length of the table. I used bolts, dowels and scrap 1 x 2 boards to assemble the easel.
Find an assortment of paintbrushes for your guests, and don’t underestimate how many the kids will manage to use in a single painting party. Be on stand-by to help rinse the brushes too, to minimize post-party clean-up and keep the utensils from drying out with paint on the brushes.
Choose a theme for the night, and encourage the kids to paint to that theme. Another popular option is to select a single, professional work of art and allow the kids to replicate it in their own style.
Our theme night was “Flowers.” And paint a beautiful variety of flowers, they did.
- Sketch with pencil first! This will help kids plan and execute their vision.
- Keep a hair dryer in the room. Blast the artwork periodically to help expedite the paint dry time so that colors can be layered without smudging together.
- Be sure each child puts their name on their finished art – either on the wooden frame on which the canvas is attached, or in the lower corner on the front.
At the end of the party, make some beautiful memories and don’t forget to take a photo with all of the kids standing together, displaying their artwork.
Infused sugars are ideal for any spring or summer soiree. They're versatile and can be customized to a specific region's flavor with ingredients like vanilla beans, espresso beans or even exotic fruits. For an added touch to make your gift even sweeter, attach a tag to the canister with a special family recipe that includes their new infused sugar. Design by Eden Passante of Sugar and Charm
Choose an ingredient (suggestions: whole coffee beans, vanilla beans, lavender or citrus zest). Let the ingredients dry out on wax paper overnight before adding them to the sugar. In a sealed container, layer the sugar with your ingredient of choice. The sugar will take a few days to infuse, so keep the containers tightly sealed.
Easy As Pie
Perfect for an outdoor barbecue or intimate dinner party, these petite pie party favors will capture the hearts and tummies of all your guests. Tiny pie tins, your favorite pie crust recipe and a delicious canned-pie filling make these little gifts simple to make. Don't forget to wrap up the delectable treats in your favorite vintage handkerchiefs or fabric for an extra-special touch. Recipe and design by Rubyellen Bratcher of Cakies
Buckets of Bubblegum
Whether you're planning a kid's birthday party or a neighborhood block party, a small pail filled to the rim with colorful gumballs will do the trick. Take it a step further and make a game out of it — can you blow the biggest bubble? Even adults will leave the party feeling like kids again. Design by Kim Stoegbauer of The TomKat Studio
Delectable Lavender Lemon Cakes
Hosting a sweet, summer-style celebration? Give your guests a party favor they'll savor to the last bite.
To make these personal lemon cakes, cut one lemon in half. Hollow out both sides of the lemon and fill with a lavender lemon cake recipe of your choosing. Tie the lemon closed with a piece of twine. Place the tied, batter-filled lemon in tin foil and bake in the oven. (Note: Set the oven to double the normal cooking time and reduce the temperature of your cake recipe by 50 degrees for the best results.) Once the cakes are done, place a few sprigs of lavender inside the twine as a pretty garnish, add a creative label and watch your guests enjoy their scrumptious desserts. Design by Victoria Hudgins of A Subtle Revelry. Photography by Carly Taylor
A New Take on an Old Recipe
For the music lovers out there, this is a must-try party favor to show off your personality. Just grab some cellophane CD envelopes and pop your favorite homemade cookies right in. Wrap it up in colorful twine and top it off with a special message. Friends and family will leave with a grin on their face when they receive these personal party favors. Design by Kim Stoegbauer of The TomKat Studio
A Taste of Tradition
These gifts are reason enough to celebrate with a spring or summer brunch. Topped with a vintage, printed fabric these traditional jam jars will be the talk of the table. Go the distance and use homemade jam. Then, surprise your guests by sending them off with their own taste of your family's favorite homemade jams.
Cupcake Liner Candy Favors
Whip up some cute candy favors with just a couple of supplies from the kitchen. Simply tape two cupcake liners together and fill with any colorful candy of your choice. Add a tiny toothpick sign to make the favor double as a place setting. With so many styles of cupcake liners readily available, this favor can go from a bright and festive birthday party to an elegant and sophisticated wedding reception. Design by Jessica Okui of Zakka Life
Deciding on party favors and decor can be as simple as stepping into your garden. Bundle up some freshly picked flowers with printed wrapping paper. Then attach a ribbon to the top of the cone-shaped "vase" to adorn chairs and tables. As your guests are about to leave, just send these pretty arrangements home with them. Design by Denise Vivaldo
Going for an element of the Orient? Takeout boxes brimming with fortune cookies (or white chocolate-covered fortune cookies like these) can be a great decoration and entertainment, too. For a little extra fun, open the cookies together to spark elated chatter. Design by Chris Nease of Celebrations at Home