Updated: Oct 24, 2021
Have you ever heard of syringe painting? Syringe painting is a medical play activity that allows us to explore how syringes work in a non-threatening way and use them to create art. This activity is great for all ages but preschool and school-age children will especially love it. We usually think of syringes as something that helps get medicine to where our body needs it but they can also be used for fun!
washable paint in a variety of colors
white and/or colored construction paper
syringes (without needles of course)
6 muffin baking pan or empty egg carton
tablespoon for measuring
tape (as needed)
Hint: Sometimes syringes are included with over-the-counter medication for children so you might already have some at home. If you do not have any syringes, a local pharmacy might give you one for free if an adult requests it or dosing (oral) syringes can be purchased at common pharmacy store chains.
Step 1: Before beginning the activity, make sure you have all your supplies ready. We suggest doing this activity on a flat surface outside (that can be washed off) because paint is messy! Even if the paint is washable, wear clothes you don’t mind getting dirty.
Step 2: Next, take your paper and lay it flat on your work surface outside. I used two pieces of paper; one white and one colored but you can use as many pieces of paper as you want. If your paper starts to move around, ask an adult to help you secure it by taping it down.
Step 3: Pour a small amount of each paint color into the 6 muffin baking pan or empty egg carton. You can pour a different color into each muffin cup, fill more than one cup with the same color paint, or mix colors to create a new color.
Tip: Add one tablespoon of water to each muffin cup and stir to make the paint more liquid. This will make it easier to use in the syringes.
Step 4: Now that your paper and paint are ready, add one syringe to each muffin cup. Holding the syringe, pull the plunger back to get paint into the tube. If the syringes are different sizes, the paint will come out differently--paint may drip out, squirt out, or quickly fly out! Hint: The smaller the tip of the syringe, the more control we have over how much paint comes out.
Tip: It may be helpful to have an adult hold the syringe and show how suction works to collect paint in the tube. Using a syringe exercises the small muscles in our hands and is great for working on fine motor skills!
Step 5: Now that your syringe painting is complete, we recommend placing it inside to dry overnight. Once the painting is completely dry, find the perfect area in your home to display it - on the refrigerator or wall for example!
How do you think you can use syringes to make more fun art? Surgical tape or masking tape can be taped to your paper or canvas to create a unique design. The tape will block the paint from going onto your paper or canvas. When you peel the tape off, it will reveal the blank space behind the tape - creating a unique design! This is called tape resist art. You can achieve similar effects using stencils or even stickers.
~Made by Lauren T.