Are you looking for ways to add some excitement to your art center? Why not make your own paintbrush. Experimenting with different materials and methods for making paintbrushes is a great STEAM activity for young kids. Plus, using a variety of paintbrushes will help kids work on those fine motor skills that will help them grasp and control a pencil or crayon.
Here are some ideas for DIY paintbrushes to get you started.
Make Paint Brushes from Nature
The variety of DIY paintbrushes that you can make from natural materials for your preschool art activities is endless. Let your kids help you come up with some ideas.
Sticks, Straw, herbs or Grass
Bundle some natural materials together with a rubber band or tape and dip them into the paint.
Evergreen trees are an excellent choice for paintbrushes, but you experiment with other tree branches. I attached this evergreen sprig to a small dowel to protect our fingers from the pokey branches.
A single flower or a bundle of them will create some exciting designs.
I recommend that you use feathers from a craft store instead of feathers that you find in the yard. You can purchase feathers that have a more natural appearance, but the brightly colored ones are fun to use as well. Painting with feathers is one of my favorite techniques.
Make Paint Brushes from Craft Supplies
You can stick a variety of things to a small dowel rod or to a pencil to create an interesting paintbrush. Good masking tape or thin duct tape works well to attach the materials.
Bendy straws work the best for making paintbrushes. Cut them off and attach them to a dowel. Kids can bend them in all different directions before they start painting.
Experiment with different lengths of yarn, different quantities of strands, and yarn of different varieties. Long pieces of yarn attached to a stick created some of my favorite effects with the paint.
Ribbon & Bubble Wrap
There are soooo many different varieties of ribbons out there. Try out some thin ribbon, mesh ribbon, curling ribbon, wired ribbon, wide, and thin ribbon.
Here, we used the plastic lacing ribbon that is used for beaded necklaces. Plus, we tried out some bubble wrap too.
Strips of Fabric or Craft Foam
You can experiment with strips of fleece, denim, cotton, tulle, felt, etc. Craft foam is a little bit more resistant than fabric or ribbon, but it creates some nice effects.
Here is another fun and flexible material that you can use. Experiment with the length of the pipe cleaners and with how you bend them (swirls vs zigzags etc.)
Wire & Plastic Tablecloths
Like pipe cleaners, you may be able to bend wire for different effects. How do the strokes from a wire paintbrush look different than the strokes from a pipe cleaner paintbrush?
Try out some plastic from your recycling bin or cut strips from a plastic table cloth.
Much like real flowers, you can make paintbrushes with silk flowers as well.
Of all of the homemade paintbrushes that we tried, my favorite is the rubberband paintbrush. So Much Fun!
Make Paint Brushes with Clothespin Clips
You can also use a clothespin clip to make paintbrushes. The best thing about this type of brush is that it is also a great fine motor activity.
Kids can attach a clothespin clip to a small sponge and use that as a paintbrush.
Or you can provide a variety of materials so that kids can experiment with all of them.
What Kind of Paint Brush Are You Going to Make?
I hope that I gave you a little bit of creative inspiration and encouraged you to try out some fun homemade paintbrushes with your kids. Let me know which type is your favorite.
Creative Resource from the Store
If you like doing creative activities with your kids, you will also like my Maker Mat Resources in the store. Click on the images below to check them out.