Creative Re-Use: Painting on Plastic

I’ve been trying to combat after-school fatigue as much as possible with creative, open-ended projects. This one was inspired when I saw a neighbour throwing away this big plastic sheet. With the use of washable paint it’s completely re-usable and I’ve got a few ideas up my sleeve.

Yesterday we had some friends come by for a playdate after school so it was a perfect opportunity to try out this one. I don’t have a very big back yard so we took this activity to the park around the corner. Along with the plastic sheet we brought a container full of paintbrushes, a towel and an Ikea storage box that I’ve repurposed into a sealable paint tray with a variety of washable paints.

I didn’t manage to rig anything up to hold the plastic sheet (which was fairly thin and wiggly) so I needed an extra grown-up to hold it in place. Then the kids took turns sitting on the opposite side of the plastic and having their portrait painted by the others. Someone a lot more ambitious and skilled could make something like this.


The 2 six-year olds followed the “brief” pretty well, whereas the pre-schoolers just enjoyed the experience of painting on a unique surface. Painting standing up has a lot of benefits for kids as well – this post has a great breakdown of standing vs. sitting. The unique height of this project allowed them to experiment with their positioning and see what worked best.





They ended up with a cool painting that they all contributed to – and we can wash it away and do it all again!

I’d love to try using for some “ceiling” painting like this exercise in learning about Michelangelo painting the Sistine Chapel.

With slightly older kids who may want to start learning more about painting technique, this is a great way to practise painting on top of a photo. When I was studying art I remember using small pieces of plastic, holding them up at the end of the hallway and drawing the lines as a means of learning about perspective.

Really endless possibilities!

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