We have been putting paint (and other liquids, like hair gel with food coloring) in ziploc bags to play for years now, and it is always fun – especially since I discovered the trick of taping them to the table with a sheet of white paper underneath to make the colors pop! One thing I kept intending to do but never got around to, was mixing colors – every time I suggested it, my kids vetoed the idea! Then Rainy Day Mum mentioned that I had inspired her to try this method of color mixing, and decided to give it another go! This activity is a perfect match for the book Mouse Paint!
This time I didn’t ask if the kids were interested in the activity. I just set it up! They still think the color mixing idea is a little odd, being their minimalist selves, but they enjoyed it! I was hoping to do a range of different colors, but they all wanted the same set: red, white, and blue. Next time, maybe!
Mixing Colors: A Mouse Paint Book Activity
Emma used her hands to create some very modern-art-looking pieces, like the one above!
Lily has consistently been extremely delicate in her explorations, while Johnny favors more of a full-body approach:
I’m actually hoping to try this out with one of those GIANT ziploc bags – doesn’t that sound like fun?
I also need to introduce Lily to one of Johnny’s original favorite activities: taking small toys and having them make footprints in the paint!
We use the freezer bags for this activity – they are stronger than the ordinary bags, and don’t rip very easily. I also recommend using washable paint over food coloring, just in case the bags do break. I like to dilute our paint with dollar store hair gel, which gives a nice texture. Shampoo can be fun to mix in, too, and creates a different effect. We tried baby oil this time, and the results weren’t particularly amazing. When I tape the bags to the table, the kids enjoy using them for days on end – and so do their visiting friends!
Have you played with paint inside a ziploc bag?
MaryAnne lives is a craft loving educator, musician, photographer, and writer who lives in Silicon Valley with her husband Mike and their four children.
40 thoughts on “No-mess Color Mixing Art”
Loved this and included you in our 10 Mix it Up! Activities!
So cool! I have a similar activity described on one of my blog post. When I first decided to do it I was so proud of myself being so creative just to later find out I wasn’t the first one to get this idea haha I used just 1 colour and I used it (and use) for letters and numbers tracing with my daughter and in my Mommy & Baby sessions. We will try your way too! Sounds fun!
My daughter is 4 years old, but I think she will still love this. I will definitely recommend this to a friend with a baby! Nice way to play with colors! I read a blog at aeioumommy.com, where the Mom used cereals with colors for her baby, quite messy but still is fun! I have another fun activity for the weekend! Thanks for the great ideas! :)
I dont know why I havent tried this before, but I love your idea of taping them to the tabletop/ floor… probably some nice painty walkway idea…hmmm
Did it as a before-school activity. bad idea. couldnt get them off it to go to school and daddy had to yell at us to get out of the house or be late
Oh no! Glad they enjoyed it, at least. Maybe it’s a better after-school activity :)
This is so awesome! I featured it on B.Inspired Mama:
Thanks for the inspiration!
I’m a toddler teacher and we’ve done something similar in my class, but on a larger scale. We covered a low table top with contact paper to protect it, taped down big sheets of thick white paper, put globs of paint in between each sheet of paper, then covered the whole thing with a clear plastic shower curtain from the dollar store. The edges were sealed down with packing tape. The kids could squish the paint around and blend it, making beautiful patterns with the paint. When they went home for the day, we opened it up to get the paper out and let it dry – gorgeous! The blobs of paint were just big enough to squish onto the paper, with different colors just starting to blend in the middle of each page. Then we peeled the contact paper up for quick, no-mess clean up.
Genius! I’m hoping to do something on a larger scale with my kids at home – and maybe a few of their kids. Thanks for sharing your class project!!!
Oops, make that their friends, not kids!
What a great idea! Your kids must love coming into your classroom every day! Very creative….so much fun. :) Love it!
I pinned this on pinterest this week! Love it, and i am going to try this out with my twins!
Thanks for linking to science sparks Fun Sparks!
GREAT idea! I pinned it on pinterest a while ago before I knew it was yours. It’s fun to read the whole article :-)
Thanks, Katey! :D
I went to the dollar store and bought “white rain mens body wash” purple and blue. Put them both in one bag to see what would happen, the colors did not blend but turned out amazing, PLUS your room smells great.
LOVE this adaptation – how awesome that they didn’t blend!
Love this!!!! We have Rainy Day Mum’s pinned to try! A large ziploc bag sounds like an AWESOME idea!
I agree with taping the bag down (when we are doing a collage on contact I tape around the contact to to keep it in position too).
I have been wanting to do this for a very long time!
You have inspired me with lots of great ideas! thanks
We haven’t done this, but it looks perfect for my kids! I’m loving all your great ideas. :)
Thank you so much for this idea! I can’t wait to do it with my son. I wish I had known about it when he was younger (he’s four now), but better late than never. I’m sure he’ll love it!
My oldest daughter loves this activity as well. We have never done it as a color mixing exercise, and will have to try it. What a great idea! I must admit, I have a very hard time putting down with the squishy bags myself. They are quite fun ;)
We haven’t done this. It does look fun though.
I bet Abby would love it =)
Putting the white paper down to highlight the colors is a great idea! I’ll have to try that the next time we do this activity. A giant bag sounds like so much fun. Maybe you could find one of those plastic cases that bedding sets are packaged in. I bet that would work well.
I have always loved when you posted this idea! The mix of colors is very cool!
I think we did this once when Matthew was smaller… I’m not sure why we haven’t done it again. It’s a wonderful idea, and seeing how much your children seem to love it… well, now I have it on my list! I love Emma’s designs, btw. :) Love Niki’s idea of taping the bags to the windows too!
Niki’s idea is brilliant!
That is awesome! I love the no mess part.
We have done this too. It’s been a while, we should do it again.
Does it have to be hair gel? I was thinking of making some finger paints, i.e. from corn starch. Do you think it will work? :)
I think that would work!
I’ve taped the bags to the window before. It looks completely different in the day and night! One thing I did when they poked a hole in the bag (I didn’t have freezer bags on hand) was tape over the whole thing with packing tape. They could still see their creations, but the bag was reinforced! I think I had as much fun playing with them as my kids did! LOL
It’s really fun to play with, isn’t it! LOVE your suggestion of taping them to the window, we will definitely be trying that soon!
Packing tape? Awesome!!! When I did this in the past my buddies used fingernails to rip holes in the bag. I don’t think they would be able to rip through packing tape. I have a hard time ripping packing tape! Thank you!
MaryAnne, I have to try this. Little fingers pressing designs out on the kitchen table while I cook, is a dream arrangement. First I must head out to buy hair gel. I would never have thought of dollar store hair gel, so thank you for the money-saving tip!
Your girls would love this! Another blogger (Niki) commented with the idea of taping them to the window – we’ll be trying that very soon!
We have, but it’s been a while. I should have them try that for spelling or reading soon.
I love how similar and yet different children can be – we love mixing the colours as long as they make green so stuff with yellow, blue and white – he’s now discovered that every time they make green and when ever we do anything with paint it has to be yellow and blue!
I need to get Johnny to try yellow and blue – green is his favorite color! That was my plan, but I set Emma up to make purple and the other two wanted exactly what she had…
Comments are closed.