Painting on foil is an easy process art activity that kids will love!
Foil painting is a shiny, shimmery alternative to painting on paper that offers a new sensory experience and makes beautiful artwork.
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Foil painting is a fun and super easy art activity to try with your kids. You’ll be amazed at how a simple switch from painting on paper to painting on aluminium foil will make boring old painting into something really special!
Painting on foil is a fabulous process art activity for kids of all ages. Even big kids and adults will want to have a go!
As the paint glides across the foil children are using their fine motor skills, and really focussing on the process of creating. The foil is a great surface for mixing paint making it perfect for experimenting with mixing colours as well as exploring the new sensory experience of the feel and the sound of the foil.
How to Paint on Foil
One of the best things about foil painting is that you probably already have all the supplies you need on hand. But you might want to grab an extra roll of foil next time you are at the supermarket because this activity is so fun your kids will want to do it over and over!
Foil Painting Supplies
You only need a few basic supplies to try this painting activity with your kids’
- Paint – washable liquid tempera paint works well
- Paintbrushes or cotton buds/Q tips
- Dishwashing detergent (optional)
You can set up foil painting for your kids at an easel, or on a flat surface such as a table. The foil can be slippery and move around a lot so it’s a good idea to tape the sheets of foil to your work surface, or to a large sheet of carboard. You can also use a little water wiped on the surface to make your foil sheets stick.
You can use any kind of paintbrushes you like, or cotton buds/q-tips are also a great option, especially if you want to work those fine motor skills!
What Kind of Paint do You Use for Foil Painting?
If you are doing foil painting with preschoolers and young children the best kind of paint to use is washable liquid tempera paints. These paints come in a huge variety of colours (we love the fluro colours!), they are easy to use, and they are non-toxic and washable.
To help the paint stick to the foil add a small amount of liquid dishwashing detergent to the paint and mix well. The dish soap will help the paint attach to the foil and reduce the cracking and flaking after it dries.
The paint may still flake off after it dries, but this is a process art activity, so the emphasis is on the creating of the art, not the finished product. But if you have a child who really wants to keep their foil painting artwork, you could try spraying it with an art sealing spray, or laying a piece of clear contact paper over it, or just be really really careful with it!
Older children might like to use acrylic craft paints, they come in lots of great colours and will ‘stick’ to the foil well, but they are not washable.
Painting on Foil
Once you have all your foil painting supplies ready you can start painting!
Let you kids explore this process art activity in any way they want to. Let them experiment with the way the paint glides across the slippery surface of the foil, and how the foil ripples and makes sounds as you paint.
Your child might notice that it feels different to painting on paper, and that the paint takes a lot longer to dry so you can move it around on the foil long after you first put it there.
Your child might be able to see their reflection in the foil and they may want to paint what they see, or experiment with the way the paint covers the reflection.
We set up our foil painting activity on our easel and my kids loved the ‘special’ feel of painting on the tin foil.
More Foil Painting Ideas
Simply painting onto foil is a magical painting activity for kids, but once you have had fun exploring that process art idea you might like to change things up a bit and try some different foil painting ideas.
Foil Painting Printing
Because the paint takes a while to dry on the foil, it is a great surface for taking a print from.
To do some foil painting printing simply paint on the foil as before, then press a clean sheet of paper onto the foil painting, making sure to smooth out out gently and press it onto all the painted surface. Then carefully peal back the paper and you have a foil painting print!
Foil Texture Painting.
As you are doing your foil paintings you might have few torn pieces of foil, don’t throw them away! Scrunch them up and use them for some foil texture painting.
To do foil texture painting simply scrunch up your pieces of foil, dip them into some paint and ‘print’ their texture onto some paper. We used this technique with foil and other materials for this scrunch painting activity.
Finger Painting on Foil
Foil makes a great surface for painting with brushes, or with fingers!
My kids love the slippery sliding feeling so we shared all the information for finger painting on foil here.
More Foil Art Ideas
Foil is such a great art material and there are so many fun ways to play and create with foil.
If you loved this foil painting idea you might also like these foil art ideas: