PRESCHOOL ART: Painting on Foil


We love Vincent Van Gogh, he was born 164 years ago on March 30th.  His work is world famous and is studied by many.  We love the movement in his brush strokes and the use of thick paint to give dimension.  So let’s celebrate by painting on foil to try and achieve the movement in our mark making.  


  • Tin foil
  • Cardboard
  • Tape
  • Washable paints – we use Crayola (blue, black, white and yellow)
  • White glue
  • Cotton swabs
  • Palettes – we reuse our plastic party plates


We took a look at one of Vincent Van Gogh’s paintings called, Starry Night, in an Usborne Book,  Art Treasury by Rosie Dickins.  This is a great book to help you make art at home.


Ask questions to elicit understanding of what the painting depicts:

  • What can you see?
  • What colours can you see?
  • What do the brushstrokes feel like?
  • What shapes can you see?
  • Is this daytime or nighttime?
  • Where is this?
  • Do you feel warm or cold?

Cut the foil slightly larger than your cardboard so that you can tape it on the back.  Also fold the corners of the foil just like you would when wrapping a present.  Mix your paints with glue.  I went with equal part paint and glue.  This helps to thicken the paint, making it easier to create brushstrokes and texture.


The use of foil and cotton swabs to paint with, creates fantastic marks similar to the feel of Van Gogh’s brushstrokes. Paint blue and white swirls for the sky and yellow for the stars.  Use the clean end of the cotton swab to scrape or make clean swirly lines in the paint.

My cotton swab was slowly unraveling, in fact this added to the fun and forcing me to make more exaggerated circle movements, that my preschooler wanted in on the action.

If you hear a voice within you say ‘you cannot paint,’ then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced.       VINCENT VAN GOGH


As you can see the ArtyPants preschooler used her hands, which was awesome to watch her create her own marks.  She even created her own colour green from mixing the colours together.  There is no one way.  Explore, get in and have fun with it.  With all my years in art school, I’ve never tried painting on foil so I too loved this activity.  Imagine this for an ArtyPants birthday party, all the guests would be super proud of their masterpieces.

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