Painting without a brush!


Sometimes you want to paint or color and you do not have a brush handy. What do you do?

Here are some cool ideas for ways to paint in new and fun ways using household items!

Painting is all about finding new and interesting ways to express yourself. This is a great way to explore color, shape and design without feeling like you have to do realism (or naturalism).

abstract art

Abstract Art – art that does not try to look like real life.

realism art - fruit

Realism or naturalism – art that looks like a photo.



The great thing about this art style is that you don’t need a lot of tools! I used a butter knife, cutting board, pencils or markers and either a paper plate or newspaper for a palette.


palette – a thin board artists use to apply or mix colors.


Paints and colors

Any sort of paint will work! You can use tempera, acrylic or oil paints. I also used a couple of small ink pads for doing negative space painting.

negative space image

Negative space painting – painting the area around the subject of art making an outline in color.

Stamps, stencils and “brushes”

Here is where you can be creative! Any object with an interesting texture or shape can be used to make art!

Food – If you have some scraps left over or food that will be going bad soon, why not get one last use out of it? Things like scraps of apple, potato or even carrot can be cut and shaped with a butter knife to make a stamp or dotter. Foods like oranges, celery lettuce or berries can make interesting designs because of their texture. Spread paint evenly on the food and then press on the paper like a stamp.


Home goods – Things like toy car tires, old tooth brushes, toilet paper rolls and cotton swabs make interesting designs when rubbed on paper. Just make sure the object can be cleaned easily with soap and water. Avoid things made from cloth or wood, choose things made of rubber, plastic or metal.


Paper – Paper is great for stenciling! Thicker papers like note cards or construction paper hold up better, but you can use any paper if careful when dabbing.

Draw a design on the paper, then with adult supervision cut it out using scissors. Then put the stencil on another piece of paper. I used a stamp pad and just dabbed the pad onto the paper, but you can use paint and a brush of some sort. When you remove the stencil, you’ll have a negative space image!

stencil 3

My name and an alien spaceship as stencils!

stencil 2


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