Blow Painting with Straws - Fun Abstract Art

Blow Painting with Straws (with Video)


Blow painting with straws is simple yet lots of fun for kids of all ages. Use a straw to blow liquid paint around on paper, creating interesting designs.

Blow Painting with Straws - A Fun Art Activity for Kids
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We are not new to blow painting with straws but, gosh, it had been a while. We used to do this when Maia was younger and I included it in my first book (The Artful Parent: Simple Ways to Fill Your Family’s Life with Art & Creativity).

But then? It kind of dropped off our radar. In the, “We’ve already done that art activity” kind of way.

I shouldn’t have let it, though.

This is one of those simple art activities that you can do over and over again and enjoy it every time and get a different result every time.

Here’s a video showing blow painting with straws in action:

We recently revisited blow painting, and had so much fun with it! Day after day after day.

We had the activity set up at the studio table for over a week and every day, multiple times per day, various configurations of kids and adults would be in there blowing paint around paper with a straw.

It’s kind of funny to watch, super satisfying to do, and the results are always interesting.

Here’s how to do blow painting with a straw.

Blow Painting with Straws - Fun Abstract Art

Blow Painting with Straws


*If you don’t have liquid watercolor paint, you can use watered-down food coloring or watered-down tempera paint.

Blow Painting with Straws - Setting Up


First, set up for the activity.

  • Place a sheet of paper on a tray with sides (a baking dish would work) or do this activity outside.
  • Cut your straws in half, so your blowing action is more effective and closer to the paint. If you’re doing this with young children, poke a hole halfway up the straw with a pin. This will prevent them from sucking paint into the straw by accident.
  • Put your liquid watercolor paints in small dishes, or use paint cups in a base as shown here.
  • Get out your dropper.
Blow Painting - Transferring Paint to Paper with a Dropper

Step 1. Add Paint Drops to Paper

Use the dropper to transfer one or more droplets of liquid watercolor paint to the paper.

Emily Painting by Blowing Paint Through a Straw

Step 2. Blow at Paint Through Straw

Blow through the straw at the paint drops, forcing the paint to move along the paper in tiny rivulets.

Blow Painting with Straws - Using Many Colors of Liquid Watercolor Paint

Step 3. Repeat with more paint

Repeat steps 1 and 2 with more paint and more colors until you are satisfied with your design. Set aside to dry and start over with a new sheet of paper!

See why we use a tray? The paint can splatter off the paper. (You could also do this activity outside, of course.)

It can be interesting to see the colors run together and mix, as in the photos below. You can see where yellow blended with blue to make green.

Blow Painting with Straws - Adding More Colors

Once the paint dries, you can display your artwork or use it to make cards, wrapping paper, collage papers for other art, or more.

We used some of our blow paintings as drawing prompts…


The abstract art created by blowing liquid paint around with a straw can be great for doodles and drawing prompts!

A post shared by The Artful Parent ❤ Kids Art (@jeanvanthul) on

Want some more fun ideas for blow painting with straws?

You can use the blown paint to create certain special effects, such as hair, tree branches, spewing volcanoes, monsters, and fireworks!

5 Fun Ideas for Blow Painting with Straws

5 More Blow Painting Ideas for Kids

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Blow Painting with Straws (with Video)

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  • Reply
    June 13, 2017 at 2:23 pm

    what an interesting idea I come across. Thank you very much for your generosity that you show me your skills and knowledge. I hope that you continue to share with me your creative idea.

  • Reply
    barbara j
    June 14, 2017 at 10:11 am

    Where did you get that great plastic tray?

  • Reply
    June 14, 2017 at 7:44 pm

    This looks like so much fun. Going to try it out..
    Thanks for the tip to prevent sucking in the paint, was worried about that :)

    • Reply
      Jean Van't Hul
      June 15, 2017 at 6:20 am

      Absolutely, Madi! You’re welcome! :) I hope you enjoy the activity!

  • Reply
    Catherine Dobbins
    June 28, 2017 at 4:28 pm

    Where did you get the trays that hold the paint? Not the overall tray, just the paint part. Thank you!!

  • Reply
    Ivy Jiang
    September 26, 2017 at 2:08 am

    [email protected]

  • Reply
    January 17, 2018 at 2:37 pm

    J´adore thank you so much
    Merci beaucoup ????

  • Reply
    June 23, 2018 at 7:16 am

    Could you water down acrylic paint to do this on canvas? I know acrylic tends to hold best on canvas.

    • Reply
      Jean Van't Hul
      June 23, 2018 at 9:10 am

      Absolutely! Any liquid paint would work. I’d love to hear how it goes for you with the watered down acrylic on canvas…

  • Reply
    July 20, 2018 at 8:56 am

    Thanks for sharing this! I was looking for a quick art project for the kids, and they loved it! I’m always surprised when they still LOVE to see colours mix, and then I remember that I STILL love to see how they mix ;)

  • Reply
    Aanchal Karnwal
    October 23, 2018 at 11:51 am

    Love this idea!! I love the book as well and bought it when my baby was 1 year old. I loved art as a kid I wanted to make sure when my son come back home from daycare I should be able to do fun things with him along with learning. And your posts just right for that :)
    That book has been helpful :)

  • Reply
    Mahedi Hassan
    January 27, 2019 at 2:53 am

    Love this idea!! I remember, when I was a kid, I liked to art on the wall. Then, mom screaming over me :D

  • Reply
    d bates
    March 7, 2019 at 8:02 pm

    is there a elec .tool used to blow paint? I thought I saw a vidio with one

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