Painting with String
Updated: Jun 26, 2021
Everyone loves to paint… but what if you could paint with something other than a paintbrush? By doing this activity, you will be able to create beautiful abstract art using string! This activity is suitable for preschool and school-age children, and will show them how to think outside of the box by using unconventional materials to create something completely original. Due to the inherent risk of mess caused by painting, we recommend that all children receive parental supervision. Have fun!
A piece of paper or canvas
White acrylic paint
Additional acrylic paint colors (1-3)
One large paintbrush
One medium length piece of string or yarn
Protective covering for surface (I used a Walmart bag cut in half!)
One small paintbrush (to coat the string)
Bowl or plate (to mix in water to save paint)
Paper towel (to clean the large paintbrush if
an additional paintbrush is not used)
Step 1: The background
Before beginning to paint, cut your string to the desired length. We recommend that the string be at least 1 ½ times the length of the canvas or paper being used.
To begin, coat the piece of paper or canvas with white paint, being sure to not leave any blank spots.
Helpful tip: If you wish to save paint, mix in a little bit of water with the paint in a separate bowl or plate. Please note that a
little goes a long way!
Step 2: Preparing the string
Next, lay your string flat and cover it with your additional paint colors. I used three but only one is necessary.
Be sure to leave a dry spot on the top of the string so that you can hold it without getting paint all over your hands!
Step 3: Coating the string
After the paint has been laid on top on the string, use a paintbrush to completely coat it. If reusing the paintbrush from earlier, clean it off with a paper towel before using it again.
Step 4: Positioning and pull!
After the string has been coated, it’s time to paint! Pick up the wet string and drape it on top of the paper, starting from the top and working your way down. Make sure to move it from side to side so that the string curves multiple times on its way down.
Pull the string staight down and watch as
the paint from the string melds with the white
paint to create art!
Step 5 (optional): Repeat to your heart’s desire!
If you wish to continue painting, repeat steps 2 through 4 to replicate the pattern. It will likely get messier the more you do it, so this may be most appropriate for school aged children or children who have a lot of painting experience.
All you have left to do is wait for the paint to dry and admire your finished piece! Congratulations on learning how to paint with string and we hope that you had fun!