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I have been wanting to do squirt gun canvas art with my kids for two whole years now, ever since my creative blogging buddy Amy from CreatePlayHomeschool wrote a guest post for me featuring this idea. It’s a genius idea – a messy craft perfect for summer and the great outdoors. I’m often reluctant to do messy art projects like this with my kids because, frankly, it’s just so much work. But we finally gave it a try, and I’m glad we did. They really enjoyed the Squirt Gun Canvas Art.
Squirt Gun Canvas Art – Fun Summer Activity for Kids
The Supplies –
You don’t need a lot of supplies, but you do need some. Walmart, Amazon, a craft store = good places to get your craft supplies.
- Tempera Paint, washable of course, and you’ll have to dilute it with water to get it to squirt out of the water gun.
- Canvas panels, or you can buy complete canvases too. I had never seen these canvas panels before and I really like them. They’re cheaper than the complete canvases and they’ll work great behind a simple frame. You can buy them on Amazon for under $1 each!
- Cheap water guns, we went really cheap-o on the water guns and had a little difficulty with them. I’m not sure if splurging a little more on the water guns would simplify the process or not, but you’ve been warned. Here’s a 12 pack for under $1 each that you can have delivered directly to your door.
- Glad Press’n Seal, this actually came in really handy for protecting our little wooden picnic table. It was pretty easy to put down and it stayed put nicely.
The Process –
The process is pretty simple for this squirt gun canvas art. Fill guns with diluted paint and fire away! Sounds simple, right?? Welll…..I had some major challenges.
First, filling the water guns was not as easy as it sounds. The hole is teeeeeeny tiny and getting the paint inside was actually pretty frustrating. My super-smart friend, Chantal, suggested we dilute the water first in a shallow containers and then swirl the gun around in the paint-water to get it to go in. It worked pretty well. We also tried a funnel – but have you ever seen a funnel that small? Making our own out of paper didn’t work so well. Simply dumping the paint in the hole did work, if I went slowly and was patient. Adding water to the paint in the gun was easy. But being slow and careful are pretty big iffs for me, so swirling the gun in the diluted water seemed to work best for us.
Next, we went outside. This project was a massive exercise in trial and error. First, we set the canvases up around a tree and let the kids fire away. But it is so stinking windy out here in Eastern Iowa that the wind picked up those canvases and threw them across the yard. Not good, people. Not good.
Then, we thought maybe a little shelter would be helpful, so we went into the garage. I covered a little handmade wooden picnic table with Glad Press’n Seal to keep the paint off and let the kids fire at the canvases in the garage. Yet still, even in the shelter, the wind made this project impossible. Everything was whipping around in the garage, insulation and dirt were blowing all over, making a huge mess. We were all purty-darn frustrated. We finally decided to wait a few days and try again.
Finally, we got it. The wind died down, we were able to put the table outside in a nice shady spot, cover it with Glad Press’n Seal, and let the kids go to town. They had a lot of fun and created some really awesome artwork!
I love the looks of concentration on all the faces. They were down with this!
They used a lot of different techniques to get the paint out of the water guns. Some of them shook the guns, some beat it with the palm of the hand, some resorted to finger painting, and sometimes the water guns were actually able to squirt properly. Again, these cheap water guns were probably the worst part. I’m not sure I’d like to splurge on more expensive water guns, because I doubt it would actually make the process any better. But if you try it, I’d love to hear your thoughts.
The kids’ concentration was pretty cute. Their creative nature took over and they figured it out, even with all of our challenges.We had a group of 8 kids ranging in age from 13 down to 3 and they all enjoyed it.
Despite the trial and error nature of this semi-challenging, the kids had a great time and I’m really pleased with the end results! We let the canvases dry outside in the sun for a few hours and then took them inside.
Summer Squirt Gun Canvas Art – checked off the summer bucket list. Aren’t these canvases awesome?! They will look fabulous in our new passive house when we finally move in in a few months! Next, the kids want to fill balloons with paint and pop them over canvases. We’ll see if I ever get to that. 😀
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What do you think? Is this a project you will try with your kids?