Hello string and straw paintings!

art class camp and parties for children morris county njPainting with strings and straws is a great way for students to experience process-oriented art and creating with non-typical tools. The children enjoy seeing how the paintings evolve with each step; the looks of pride they have with their completed artworks says it all!

Click here for a PDF to download or print of Hello string and straw paintings

Age Level: 4-6


  • Following multi-step directions
  • Expanding childrenʼs ideas of how and what you can use to create art
  • Learning about symmetry


  • Tempera paint
  • String
  • Straws
  • Thick White Paper (doesnʼt have to be watercolor paper, but thicker than construction paper )
  • Large wooden craft sticks
  • Small condiment containers with lids for paint
  • trays to organize materialskids art project

Teacher Preparation:

  • Cut string into approximately 2 foot lengths and arrange on a tray (one per child, plus a few extras just in case)
  • Prepare 2 sets of tempera paint in cups. We used red and blue, and had one per child for the blue and one per every 2 kids for the red.  We also watered down the red to make it thinner and easier for the kids to blow with the straws. (Placing lids on the containers keeps the paint from drying out so we can prepare ahead of time. We also reuse the paint containers if they havenʼt gotten too messy by snapping a lid on them for later use.)
  • Fold paper in half, one per child
  • Write each childʼs name on a label to put onto their artwork laterbest art class new jersey


Tell the children that today they will be creating a painting, but they wonʼt be using, brushes, or their fingers, or their feet, or anything that they have used in class before. What will they be using? Two things that they may have used in other ways, but today are using to make art. If you open your mind to new ideas, you might come up with a way to create art out of almost anything.

Todayʼs paintings will be made by using two different materials. The first is string.the messy artist

Show the children how they will be holding the string in one hand and then dipping the other end into the cup of paint. Using the craft stick, they will push the string into the paint until all except for about a 6 inch tail is covered in paint.nj art parties for kids

Then they will take it out, place it on one side of their paper, leaving the unpainted tail sticking out over the edge. Next theyʼll fold the paper in half and rub it. What do you think will happen? (see what they predict) Open the folded paper up to reveal the design the string has made. By folding and rubbing the paper they have created a symmetrical painting.art project lesson plan

Have the kids move all their chairs back and away from the work table before sending them to the supply table to pick out a piece of string and a craft stick. It is easier for them to push all the string into the paint if they are standing. While they are getting their supplies from the table, pass out the cups with the first color of paint, one to each child.

Once they have covered their strings in paint, give them a piece of paper. Make sure the strings are really covered in paint so that they will get a good transfer.best fine art class for children new jersey art studio for kids new jersey

Have a tray or paper plates out on the table so that the children can easily discard the paint covered strings.best fine art class for kids new jersey

Next, the instructor will demonstrate the second part of the project – painting with straws. To do this, dip the straw into the new color of paint, and then tap it onto the paper. Blow through the straw to disperse the paint drops. The papers can then again be folded and rubbed to create symmetry if the students wish.

Before the students start with this step, we like to make sure that all students know how to blow through the straws (we donʼt want anyone sucking up any paint). We pass out all the straws (or have them get them from the supply table) and have them practice blowing through them before handing out any paint.birthday party art new jersey

We encourage the children to use lots of drips of paint to create a layered painting, and they enjoy doing so. This project is always a messy favorite in our studios!art class toddlers nj new jersey art camp summer art camp new jersey


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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