Something about Springtime makes me want to put away the math, the reading, and the spelling and just focus on art.

After all, the kid is barely five.  And at five, paint and glue and pretty colors earn me quite a few Awesomest Mommy Points.

(Besides the fact that I find it all rather cathartic myself.)

I have a huge deck of paint chips, compliments of Pelham Paint and Flooring with whom I’m working on a project and giveaway to share with you guys soon.  But this paint chip deck sitting around my house, just STARING at me, has been creating an unavoidable desire within me to embark on the journey of Paint Chip Art.

I started a board of paint chip ideas on Pinterest, then began brainstorming on simpler ideas so as to be able to include Ali.

We started small: A tree with fun flowers on it.  After all, it’s Springtime, and Ali lives for the opportunity to collect the myriad of weeds spectacular flowers out of our yard.

So we cut out circles.  Since I knew Ali was helping me and I myself am horrible at cutting in a circular path, I purposefully went for the not-so-perfect look:


We then matched up the large, medium, and small circles and glued them together.  I drew a tree for Ali, and she placed the flowers, with much intensive thought as to where they should go.


And amazingly, she did all of her placement analysis while calmly keeping Noah out of her art.


She’s a natural mother, that one.

Here was our first finished piece:

Paint Chip Flower Tree

And she was hooked.


So we expanded our tree concept and started over.  I painted a simple tree on canvas,


then we cut out more circles, and she helped me match up the circles and craft glue stick them together (we found that this worked much better than Elmer’s Glue).


After we glued all of our circles onto our tree, we glazed over the finished project with Mod Podge to help everything stay in place and be happy and shiny:

Paint Chip Tree

So.  Cutting our own circles was really fun, but then I discovered the craft punch aisle at Michaels.

I almost decided to just buy the store out, but reigned myself in and only got a circle punch and a few $1 bin punches.

We punched a ton of paint chips, and then I described an idea to Ali:

“What if we had all the big circles in the corner all close together, then the little shapes spread all over the picture like they were shooting out of it?”

She totally owned the idea and surprised me with how well she was able to translate it onto canvas.


For this project, we strictly used Mod Podge: We painted it onto the canvas to make our shapes stick, then painted it again over the top.  The edges still curled up a little, but we didn’t mind since we were going for the whole “shooting out of the picture” effect.


Here’s her finished piece:

Paint Chip Art

Luckily, she had a grandparent in mind for each of these art projects, which means that they’re blessedly not laying around the house, useless and unhung, like our Crayon Art is still doing.

(Instead, they’re hanging around a Grandparent’s house, useless and unhung.)


So next time you’re wandering around a home improvement store waiting on your husband, look like you know what you’re doing and stash a few paint chips away – they offer cheap therapy for you, hours of entertainment for your kid, and, if you play your cards right, awesome grandparent gifts.

32 thoughts on “Paint Chip Art

  1. Very cute! Looks like she had a good time too. I’ve been thinking about getting a circle punch. I wish for one 2-3 times per year, and I can’t decide if that is enough to merit ownership. Sigh.

    1. There are all different sorts – the one that I was really tempted by is the one that can do any size circle. But it couldn’t go down below one inch, and paint chips aren’t that big…

  2. I REALLY love your paint chip art. Can you get away with doing a craft day with a 5th grader??? Hmmm…. Sooo cute! I love all your ideas.

    BTW–I used every single one of your reading ideas from your previous blog and Christopher loved them, so if you ever feel the need to blog more about your unique and creative lesson plans, I love reading them…and using them.

    1. Surely you can still have craft day!! Art is an integral part of education, right??

      I’m so glad y’all were able to use the reading games!!

  3. These kinds of posts make me excited for Anderson to be a pre-schooler! You are so smart! That tree on the canvas would be a fun nursery art project too! I’ve also seen people make cards with paint chips. Maybe Ali could do g’parent cards? & give us all some more inspiration ;)

  4. That is a brilliant idea! My mom works at a home-improvement store, so we’re always going by to visit, and the kids always want to go get some paint chips, which end up collecting dust in a drawer at home. I’m going to have to try this, and I even already have the punches! (Although I did like the imperfect look on the trees)

  5. Tell Ali she did a phenomenal job. I totally would use one of the last ones she did in my guest room. Maybe I need Ali to come over and help me decorate.

  6. Ali did a great job. I need her to make me one of those trees with big circles – so I could make a Family tree with it. I am a geneaology nut. Always looking for someone in my family. Great Ideas….

  7. Wow how lucky is Ali! I think my poor little girl is going to be seriously craft deprived, I’m the least creative person I know! I may have to borrow some of your ideas so she at least has a chance to create!! I have the same complete lack of ability with birthday cake decorating so any ideas or suggestions would be great, I have 6mths to come up with a wonderful plan for her first birthday.

    1. Oh I would slaughter a birthday cake. I can’t ice a cake to save my life!!

      And don’t worry – I’m a terrible artist and not usually very crafty – but having a kid that wants to create plus having Pinterest for inspiration can be a miracle worker.

  8. I keep seeing all the paint chip art on Pinterest. It’s all cute but I keep thinking if everyone does it they are going to start making us pay for paint chips. Haha :)

    You hit the nail on the head of why I am unmotivated to do crafts…what do you do with them all once you are done? Presents are a good idea. I’ll have to do that because I like to do crafts but rarely do b/c we have so much STUFF around I don’t want to add to the chaos!

  9. I love this- and I pinned it! You are so clever. Does your daughter take commissions? ; ) I want that last one for my dining room.

  10. I’m seriously impressed! I loved the second tree the best! Also, I loved that Ali is wearing a princess costume the whole time. Ahh, the life of a 4 year old.

  11. These are AWESOME!!! When I first started reading, I was going to suggest using craft punches to make the circles, but I see you already figured that out! Craft punches are some of my best friends. HAHA!

  12. Such a great idea. I loved the trees, but what really caught my eye is how grown up Ali is looking. Her hair appears to still be straight and thick, :-( poor curls, and she looks like such a grown-up little princess.

  13. I love craft punches too, but unfortunately Elizabeth isn’t strong enough to operate them reliably on her own yet. But I’m waiting patiently for that day!

    Our problem with crafts is that Elizabeth sometimes finishes making them and can’t bear to send them away after all!

    We have a wall of corkboard at our side entrance where we display her art, and a bulletin board in her room that are totally full of projects she can’t bear to part with yet. But the fun of creating things keeps me going ;)

    Love Ali’s end results. If you are looking for other ideas, you could make flowers with glitter glue or “jewels” in the middle.

    1. We have the opposite problem – Ali wants to give everything to everyone – often it’s things that I want to keep or that she really should keep. I hate telling her not to give things away because I don’t want to encourage selfishness, but some things you just need to keep!

  14. I especially love the Mod Podge idea. I love the shiny look it gives the project. Amazing what you can create with such simple, kid-friendly materials.

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