Fork-Scrape Painting

The way that we chose to do this activity is NOT for the clean and tidy person. If you are worried about mess then back away slowly from this post and do not read on!

If, however, you don’t mind a bit of crazy mess-making amidst all of that creativity, then welcome to our world :-)

 We used a long-arm decorator’s roller and a few sponge rollers to put some brightly coloured, ready-mix paint all over a large stretched canvas.

 This is possibly where the madness began. I let baby get out of her highchair and join in. Cue horrendous mess beginning!

 She had a good go at using the roller to make a lovely, brown, sludgy concoction…and also to taste (as you can see from this picture!)

 Baby found that crawling over the canvas and then inadvertently smearing her feet into it was a GREAT way to mix more colours 😉 Excellent.

 When she got a little bored of the art-making, she went for a crawl and stood up at the washing machine, leaving a spectacular trail of paint marks. Yes, I just took photos.

 But then some wonderful, co-operative paint smooshing began and it was so lovely to watch them totally engaging in the sensory fun.

 C did some squeezing straight out of the bottle!

 Baby thought that was just wonderful and mixed it straight up! Shortly after that last photo the mess got too much even for me to cope with, with C running into the living room and touching our new cupboards with orangey-brown hands! 😉 So a major clean up followed while the painting dried overnight.

 The finished painting looked like this (after two more squirts of colour and quick rolling without baby present!)

 We squeezed a thick dollop of fuschia acrylic paint onto the dry undercoat and C spread it all over with a flat, sponge mark-maker. All of the colours were hidden underneath and ready for revealing!

 Using a few different forks, she began to scrape into the pink acrylic paint and in so doing lift it off, revealing the lovely amalgamation of colours underneath. You need to work quite quickly when using acrylic as it dries fast.

 We threw in a pizza cutter for a bit of explorative mark-making. It wasn’t so effective at lifting off the paint but did create interesting tracks.

 And she drew scribbly lines using a thick, coloured pencil.

 I let baby have a little go too, but obviously couldn’t photograph that as I was stopping her other hand from smearing the whole lot together again!

 The finished product is beautiful and rather reminiscent of a little work of modern art! It was worth the mess :-)

* Edited to add: If you want to do this in a clean and tidy fashion, then either paint the base coat yourself and just let your child do the top layer and scraping, or do it at a table without a crawling baby nearby!

This is activity is good for:
* mark making using a variety of materials
* creative and imaginative development
* exploring colour mixing and the effect of layering colours
* working on a large scale
* working collaboratively (PHSE)


  1. says

    Wow! You are such a fabulous Mummy to let them use acrylic paint, in the house, on the wood floor, with no cloth underneath! I think I am sadly one of those mums that needs to back away slowly… quite envious of your fabulousness!

  2. says

    Oh no not at all! You should have heard my final shrieks when I’d suddenly had enough and discovered the handprints on the cupboards :-) They are hideous, laminate floor tiles, not real wood (would NEVER paint on real wood floors!) :-)

  3. says

    I was thinking the same – acrylic paint on wood floors??? You are very mess-tolerant, but the result is lovely. My husband would have had a heart attack if he walked on something like this :)

  4. says

    You are a brave mama! I luv you! I just found some canvases I’ve never used. Maybe this will be our weekend project….outside (I have carpet!)

  5. says

    Yes, the hideous laminate even has patches of brown tape on it that I can’t scrape off (that I put there myself as a joke….but anyway!) It’s one of the perks of not having redecorated the kitchen yet :-)

  6. says

    You are SO much braver than I am! I love that you were able to take pictures instead of worrying about the mess. I think I will try this one outside – at least we can use a hose out there. 😀

    Kudos to you for letting your kids have so much fun!

  7. says

    Ohhh I’m going to get J some long armed paint rollers. He has the small ones but he’s just going to love the big ones. You know how much he adores getting messy :)


  8. says

    Love this idea heaps!!!! Was just reading your blog again to get some inspirations for my son (2.5) and can’t help smiling to myself….Thanks for sharing such lovely idea. I’m also in love with your discovery simple yet so fun…