Straw Blown Paintings

Create some beautiful artwork with kids by blowing colourful paint across the paper using straws! A wonderful activity for toddlers and older children with gorgeous, colour-blended, abstract results.
We had a go at creating beautiful art work by blowing paint through straws!
Straw blown art for kids
This is one of those wonderful, classic activities that I used to use in my teaching days and have been looking forward to trying with the girls! It is a very simple technique that encourages exploration, investigation and a little bit of scientific thought!
Here’s a question to get the children thinking before you begin the activity:
How can I get the paint to move and dance across the paper using only this straw?
I gave the girls some watered down ready-mix paints and a straw each and left them to it!Straw blown art work

Cakie understood what to do immediately and enjoyed dripping paint onto the paper then blowing it through the straw. She first of all tried to blow it holding the straw far from the paper, but found that frustrating as of course the paint didn’t move anywhere. When she came down really close and held the straw directly above or to the side of the paint, she found it moved more impressively.

We talked about making the paint-drops race across the paper, which added a really fun game element to the mix!

Pop was desperate to join in and at first I was hesitant to give her a straw as I was sure she would just use it to suck up the paint! But she’s not one to be left out, and amazingly, she did work out that the idea was to blow through it!

* Top tip from A Mom with a Lesson Plan: Cut a small hole near the top of the straw so that they can only blow and not suck up. Genius!*
She also came up with another idea, which was extremely effective, of using the straw to drag the paint and make marks and patterns with it!

Cakie loved this idea and copied her too, combining both techniques to create quite a beautiful piece of art work.

Here are some of the finished results.

Combining the dragging and blowing.

Pop’s finished masterpiece!

A few tips:
  • Cutting the straws shorter helps as not so much effort has to be put into blowing!
  • Cut a little hole near the top to stop them being able to suck up the paint
  • Make sure the paint is just thin/ watery enough to be blown, otherwise it’s hard work
  • Show your child how to pick up paint from the pot by dipping in the straw and holding their finger over the end as they transfer it to the paper, then removing their finger.
  • If your child wants to suck up instead of blow air, try giving them toothpicks, cocktail sticks or a blunt pencil to just drag through the paint instead. The results will still be beautiful!

Learning Links:

Creativity: Investigating a range of materials and combining them, exploring colour mixing
Science:  Using air to make things move, investigating and experimenting with answering a challenge
Motor Skills: Hand/eye coordination, fine motor skills, pincer grip

Cakie: 3 years 4 months
Pop: 21 months


  1. says

    Oh! Thanks for the reminder of this project! I had done it before as an arts and crafts teacher … but not yet with my kids! Great post!

  2. says

    oooooohhhhh just found your little blog and am in love!!!! lovelovelove!!! What could be more fun than painting with your sweet little ones? Cleanup?! just kidding, it looks quite fun I’ll have to try that with my little ones!

    Samantha (Woodland Woolens)

  3. says

    I would be worried that my youngest would just suck up the paint too. It is interesting to learn that she didn’t and got the hang of it quickly – smart little people aren’t they? I will definitely be giving this a go.

  4. says

    we found that the under threes almost always suck the paint up. In a bubble blowing paint you can poke holes in the straws so that they can only blow through the straw, suction is ruined. But in this style that you showed here a little suction seems necessary. I will give the other suggestions a try though.

  5. says

    Thanks for the reminder. I did this with my students when I taught, but completely forgot about it. My preschooler would love this!

  6. says

    Oh how lovely! So pretty.. and you totally “beat me to it”… so on my “to do list one day”. Yours came out beautifully and thanks for the tips! Wonder if mine will try and suck..!!