hello resist painting!

Resist paintings are something we do in a few different styles here at The Messy Artist; we appreciate not only the results of these techniques, but the way it gets kids to think a few steps ahead.

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A resist is where one material is used to repel or block (i.e. resist) another. For instance, drawing on paper with wax crayons and then painting over with watercolors creates a resist when the wax repels the paint and remains visible.

Resist paintings open the possibility to lots of layering and interesting effects. This post will focus on using masking tape as a resist, and we will look in depth in future posts at some of our other favorite resist methods.

In this project, students use masking tape to shield parts of a mounted canvas, which they then paint over. Once the tape is removed, clean canvas is revealed, creating white stripes. We had samples of two different types of painting style – color block and blended rainbow.

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We first go over all the steps to the project and show the kids some samples. The students then get a mounted canvas and some masking tape and create their design.

We encourage the children to plan out ahead of time how they want to lay out their tape so this part goes more smoothly. Younger children have trouble managing the tape; it is easy to get tangled. For that reason, we have found that 1st grade is the youngest age that can handle the full project (this group was 1st and 2nd graders).

For a 9” x 12” piece of canvas we have found that 4 or 5 pieces work best per project. We use pieces that stretch across the entire canvas, and try to get the kids to put the tape on angles, so itʼs not too symmetrical and grid-like.

Once the tape is in place, rub it so that it sticks well. If it’s not stuck tightly, the paint will seep under the tape and ruin the effect. An alternative to using canvas is to use card stock – if you do this, use drafting tape instead, as masking tape will rip the paper.

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Once the taping is all done, we then collect the canvases and put them aside before the next step: color mixing. We do this to make sure they kids spend the time mixing the colors they need- they are eager to get painting.

Each child gets a palette (in this case a paper plate) with the primary colors of tempera paint, and a palette knife for mixing. They mix up the colors needed for their project and then we return the canvases.

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They get to work painting in the style they have chosen (color areas or blended colors) and cover the entire canvas.

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Tape removal is always exciting to see how the resist has worked. Sometimes if the students are careful with the tape removal, they can create a new piece of art with the painted tape strips.


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What do you think – are these kids proud of their art? What are your favorite resist projects for kids?


Author: hellokidsart

The Messy Artist is a special place to create art. We offer year-round art classes for children 18 months through adulthood. In addition to art classes from September through June, we offer summer art camp and Drop-In and Play art activities for kids between our regular sessions. Our bright, colorful studio is also the perfect place for a kid’s birthday party! The Messy Artist children’s art center was created and designed by Owner/Director Donna Bernstein, a professional educator and artist. The curriculum is inspired and guided by Donna’s teaching experience and research in child development, as well as her passion for art. At The Messy Artist, art lessons for kids entertain and enrich their brains, bodies, and hearts.

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