Art parties are joyously messy fun for kids and parents, and the summer months are a fab chance to do a little plein-air painting. Take your baby-safe paint, paintbrushes, sponges, and mini-monets outside and watch the creativity craze begin. When your starving artists need snacks and treats—we’ve got those covered, too. From where to find inspiration to what to send home with your creative guest, these paint party ideas will make your outdoor painting party the absolute best.

For other party ideas, check out how to throw a pool party, the best ideas for a picnic party, and the best outdoor birthday ideas.

1. Use a huge DIY canvas.

For super-size artistic expression (and mess), throw a paint party like Katie’s Pencil Box threw for her son. She arranged a huge canvas outside, set out metal paint cans and spray bottles filled with washable paint; water balloons, and a slip ‘n’ slide added to the fun!

2. Find natural painting supplies.

Use things in your yard like stones, leaves, flowers, and other natural painting “tools.” With a large piece of cardboard for a canvas, guests will have a blast painting stones, making prints, and creating swirly patterns with sticks. Get inspired over at No Time for Flashcards.

4. Have a theme for your painting party.

Pick a theme for your paint party to give guests some inspiration. It could be superheroes, Disney characters, an outdoor view, flowers, anything! You can take it one step further and trace an image in pencil on each canvas, so everyone has somewhere to start.

4. Give each artist their own canvas.

a picture of kids painting their own canvases, one of the best paint party ideas
Gabby Cullen

Allowing each guest to create a masterpiece of their own not only gives them plenty to work on during the party but it’s also a party favor that they won’t want to toss in the trash. You can get a set of your preferred size canvas here.

5. Make it a Jackson Pollock party.

This is one of the paint party ideas that’s a lot of fun—but messy. Lay the canvases on concrete (a driveway or patio), and use washable paint to fill tiny paper cups or even water balloons. Then have your guests throw the the cups or balloons at the canvases one at a time. They’ll end up with a unique Pollock-style painting worth putting on display.

6. Paint Rocks for Kindness.

Provide a bowlful of large, smooth stones and plenty of paint. Let your guests paint whatever they want on each stone, and once they’ve moved on to other games, cover them in a layer of Modge Podge for gloss and protection. Then, they can either keep their rocks as a keepsake or hide them somewhere in a public space for others to find. Find out more about Kindness Rocks here. 

7. Provide colorful snacks.

Fresh fruit (think strawberries, blackberries, green grapes, and pineapple), kid-friendly veggies like baby carrots, cherry tomatoes, and celery sticks, and other finger foods like cheddar cheese are perfect for creating a splash of color on a painting party snack table.

8. Offer up inspiring desserts.

Whether you make or order cupcakes that look like an artist’s palette or make paintbrush-style Rice Krispie treats, ending the party with a birthday dessert that isn’t cake will make your painting party stand out from the crowd.

9. Send them home with extra supplies.

A party favor that includes supplies they’ll need to be creative on their own time is a gift that keeps giving. Get inspired by Event Designer Taleen Shirikian of Simple Little Details, who put together aprons with a palette, paintbrush, and sponge.

10. Have them help clean up.

Initially, this might not sound fun, but imagine ending the party with a sprinkler session, water balloons, or water guns! You’ll be able to hose down your party space, and they’ll go home clean (ish).


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