Combining movement and painting without paintbrushes is always a win in my opinion. In the past we’ve painted with rocks, raced cars to create art, and even painted with water shooters. And we’ve played with DIY shooters a lot to launch things like pompoms, marshmallows, ping pong balls and more. Recently while we were playing I wondered if we could actually use our DIY shooters to paint, and so we started experimenting with ping pong shooter painting. Here’s what we came up with!
Ping Pong Shooter Painting
- Plastic cups
- Strong tape like duct tape, masking tape or electrical tape (optional but recommended)
- Washable paint or liquid watercolors
- Objects to launch like ping pong balls, golf balls, marbles
- Canvas of some sort-we used a large roll of paper spread over a big box.
- Cut the bottoms off of the cups.
- Tie the ends of the balloons and trim the bottom of the large part of the balloon off.
- Gently spread a balloon over the top rim of a cup. Secure with tape if you’d like. (We did not do this the first time, and we highly recommend doing it).
- Take some time to allow your child to practice using the shooter and the different objects before adding in the paint. They may need a little practice giving the balloon a strong enough tug to get it to launch to the target.
- Set up your canvas. This will vary by what you have available. A large sturdy piece of cardboard would be perfect. We rolled out white paper and taped it to a box that we propped up so it would be at a level high enough for the kids to aim straight at it. You could also put something on a wall and use that as a canvas, but beware paint splatters everywhere so you’ll need a clean up plan.
- You may also want to put down a tarp or sheet under the painting area so that the objects don’t fall into the grass and get dirty.
- When you’re ready to paint place paint in the open end of the shooter. You can experiment with thinning the paint a bit with water or using liquid watercolors to get the paint to splatter even more. Test out a few options and see which you like best.
- Place an object in the shooter and go for it! Pull back the knot on the balloon, aim at the canvas, and see what happens. (Be sure to use enough force to launch to your target area).
Ready! Aim! Paint!
The anticipation of that first launch is so much fun. My girls loved seeing the designs created as they launched their objects.
At first we tried to put the objects back in their matching colors, but we quickly realized it was more fun to watch the colors mix.
We also experimented with using the shooters with only paint and no objects. That created some very cool splatter decisions, and I think this may have been the girls’ favorite part.
Often art activities evolve into things we didn’t really anticipate, and that’s okay! In fact it’s exactly what process art should be.
More Art Activities to Try