Halloween Art Ideas for Kids :: Tape Resist Skeleton Paintings

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Tape Resist Skeleton Painting -- a fun and educational kids' halloween art activity. Plus it looks awesome!

I’ve been trying to come up with more fun, age-appropriate Halloween art ideas for kids and I think I hit on a really great one.

Tape resist skeleton paintings!

Maia and I made full-sized tape resist skeletons a couple weeks ago and have been LOVING them as spooky cool Halloween decor. The process was fun but not without its faults—we have some refining to do next time around.

Here’s how we made these skeleton paintings



Tape Resist Skeleton Painting 01

First off, Maia and I traced each other onto the butcher paper.

Tape Resist Skeleton Painting 05

Then we worked together to add pieces of blue painters tape for the bones. Maia mostly wanted to add the bones to my body, so I added many of them for her body. As you can see from the book in the upper right hand corner of the photo, we referred to our much-loved copy of See Inside Your Body by Katie Daynes.

(I also wrote about using this book for body tracing art when Maia was much younger.)

Tape Resist Skeleton Painting 09

Once the tape bones were in place, we painted over the whole skeleton (and much of the paper) with black tempera paint and then black BioColor paint when we ran out of the first.

Tape Resist Skeleton Painting 12

We let our skeleton paintings dry…

Tape Resist Skeleton Painting 17

…then pulled up the tape skeleton.

Tape Resist Skeleton Painting 14

This step was actually trickier than it sounds.

In the past, we’ve done tape resist paintings on canvas, which worked great. The tape pulled right off.

But the tape was harder to pull off from the paper and in some (ok, many) spots pulled up parts of the paper with it which was frustrating. But I went back over the skeleton with a glue stick and glued the paper bits (that you can see above) back down.

Tape Resist Skeleton Painting 19

And the skeletons DO look pretty great.

However, next time I would either try to do this on an old white sheet—maybe with watered down acrylic paint.


Try it on paper but use washi tape instead of masking tape. Washi tape is definitely more expensive, but it wouldn’t stick as much, and if you come across three packs for $1 clearance at the Habitat for Humanity store as I did, then it’s easier to justify using them this way.

UPDATE :: People have said to try pressing a piece of tape to your jeans first before placing it on the paper to make it easier to remove later.

Tape Resist Skeleton Painting 23

Despite our difficulties removing the tape, in the end I think the tape resist skeletons worked well. We hung ours in our hallway.

Tape Resist Skeleton Painting 21

I LOVE how they look and spend too much time looking up from the computer at the one I can see through my office door.

Tape Resist Skeleton Painting 25

And besides making spooky, cool Halloween decor, the tape resist skeletons are a good way for kids to learn about the bones inside their body. And as Halloween art ideas for kids go, this one is pretty awesome.

More Body Tracing Art Ideas for Kids

More Halloween Art Ideas for Kids

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  1. Angie says

    Stick the masking tape to your pants once beforehand you stick it to the paper. It picks up just enough lint to not pull up the paper when you remove it.

  2. says

    I cannot wait to do this. Now off to find our copy of See Inside Your Body (it really is a great book isn’t it?). Thanks Jean, as always, for your inspiring ideas. :)

  3. Janet says

    What a neat idea. We did this today and used Scotch tape that we left on. It was hard to see where we put the tape, but it came out great. If we do it again, we will go with the de-stickied masking tape. Thank you for the fun idea.

  4. michelle says

    Thank you for this super nifty idea. It will be perfect for tomorrow after school – just in time for Halloween – can’t wait!

  5. katie says

    so spooky! we will be trying this soon. just for kicks- what about using glow in the dark paint for some aspect …

  6. says

    Yes! The torn paper does make the skeletons more spooky, but at the same time, I’m thankful for the hint from Angie. Glad you like the project, MaryAnn!! :)

  7. says

    Yep, it’s definitely a good book. I noticed when I linked to it on Amazon that it’s not available anymore (new anyway) which I thought was sad. It’s such an accessible book for a variety of ages, yet packed with REAL information.

  8. Megan says

    Thanks so much for this great project! By the way, it looks like you have a really cool white board calendar/bulletin board set up… any chance you can share this with us? I’ve been searching for the “perfect” calendar idea for a while, and yours is just what I’d envisioned, without actually making it happen!

  9. Tauna W. says

    This was so fun! I saw this post and we created these the very next day–myself with my 6 year old and 4 year old. They loved it!! Now it is by far my favorite Halloween decoration! They look so great! (and we stuck each piece of tape to our pants first and it worked perfectly)

  10. Sarah says

    We loved this, I’m not a big fan of halloween but this counts as art + science! Thanks very much for the idea!

  11. Nancy says

    You could also try a cheaper brand of painters tape that may be less sticky; perhaps some might be available from a dollar store. It’s a bonus that it is even cheaper, but you would need to experiment. Great art project!

  12. Allison S. says

    Oh my goodness I LOVE this idea…bummed I didn’t check in BEFORE Halloween! But now I’m thinking of how we could try this idea other ways. :) Love it! And what about using blue painters tape…wonder if that would work? We use it all the time for this and that- it always come off great!

  13. Allison S. says

    oh duh- did not read thoroughly, so embarrassed! and I even saw the blue tape- just noticed you said it didn’t come up and that surprised me. Oh my gosh- so Sorry. :) Still can’t wait to try it! Seriously cute idea. :)