Mural art for kids – a collaborative painting project

Mural Art for Kids – Try This Amazing Collaborative Painting Project

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Create beautiful mural art with kids in this fun collaborative painting activity! Art project and post by Samara Caughey of Purple Twig.

Mural art for kids – a collaborative painting project

Mural art is a favorite project that we offer to students during our camp days.  These collaborative murals are a great way for kids to learn about scale and line, as well as working together—all while using a few different methods of painting.

Drawing with chalk pastels for a collaborative mural art project.

Our age range for this mural art project is approximately 5-10 year olds. The kids all enjoy the freedom of creating an abstract artwork as they can explore the materials without the restriction of making something representational.

Mural Art for Kids

This project takes 3 days, adding a different layer of color each day to build up the surface of the canvas.  If you have the space outside, this is a perfect summer project.

Paintbrushes and bubble wrap rollers for a collaborative mural art project.

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*Note: You can find a variety of different types of drop cloths at the hardware store that would work for this project. There are canvas options, ones made from paper with plastic backing and others with a foam-like absorbent surface with plastic on the back. You can cut any of these down to the desired size. We have tried all different kinds and they will all work. If you want an artwork that will be a bit more archival, I would recommend using the canvas drop cloth and placing it onto a plastic sheet to paint (otherwise paint will soak through).

Kids spraying paint for a collaborative mural art project.

Mural Art – Day 1

1. Prepare the paint

To prepare the paint, I water down the desired colors.  You want them watery enough so that they can go through the sprayers. Pour into spray bottles.

If using all the primary colors and tertiary colors you most likely will end up with a brown first layer, at least I usually do. You can avoid this by using just warm colors, yellow, reds, oranges, pinks, first then offering cool colors, blues, greens, and purples. That way the colors won’t mix as much.

2. Spread drop cloth out

I lay down the drop cloth onto our two tables. You can also do this project directly on the ground on top of plastic.

3. Begin painting with spray bottles

Give each child a spray bottle and let them spray where they like, encouraging them to switch colors and move around as desired.

4. Dry canvas

Set canvas aside to dry.

Paintbrushes and bubble wrap rollers for a collaborative mural art project.

Mural Art – Day 2

1. Mix paints

For this stage, I offer lighter colors of tempera paint by mixing white with the reds, blues, greens or yellows. I then mix up one dark color of paint (dark blue or black). A variety of hues of color gives visual depth to the painting.

Kids painting a collaborative mural art canvas.

2. Begin painting

Then, put the paint onto plastic plates and offer large brushes, foam brushes and a rolling pin or paint roller wrapped with bubble wrap. The kids can paint the bubble wrap and roll the pattern onto the painting.

I ask the children to keep the paintbrushes and plates together. If they want to change colors, they trade both plate and brush. I do let them paint any kind of color on the bubble wrap, though!

3. Dry canvas

Again, allow canvas to dry.

Drawing with chalk pastels for a collaborative mural art project.

Mural Art – Day 3

1. Draw with chalk pastels

For the final step, I put chalk pastels into bowls, lay them onto the painting and let the kids draw. I  give a little demonstration on creating patterns, making small marks or big sweeping arm movements, and encourage the kids to explore them all.

Drawing with chalk pastels for a collaborative mural art project.

2. Hairspray canvas

When they are finished, the final step is to spray the canvas with hairspray which acts as a fixative. This way the chalk won’t keep rubbing off on your clothes every time you try and move this large work of art. I learned this one the hard way!

Kid Standing in Front of Group Mural Art Project

I hope you try this fun mural art project for kids!

Try this fun, collaborative art project for kids! Mural art allows kids the opportunity to work big as they create abstract art together. A great activity for summer! #kidsart #artsandcrafts #painting #creativity #kidsactivities #arteducation

About the Author

Samara of Purple TwigSamara Caughey is the owner of Purple Twig, an art studio for kids and families in Los Angeles, CA. She has a BFA from the Art Institute of Chicago in Photography and an MFA from USC in sculpture.

Samara has been creating art with children for 15 years and continues to be constantly surprised and delighted by watching kids explore materials to create their work. You can also find her on Instagram.

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8 Comments

  • Reply
    Michelle
    May 16, 2018 at 9:47 am

    What a great idea.

  • Reply
    Holly
    May 17, 2018 at 5:29 pm

    How do you keep the layers of tempers from cracking?

    • Reply
      Samara Caughey
      May 20, 2018 at 4:52 pm

      I have found that the more absorbent the surface, the less cracking happens with tempera, but you are right. When tempera is brushed on thickly, it cracks and I am okay with that because it really is more about the process for us.
      Kindly,
      Samara

  • Reply
    Ana
    May 19, 2018 at 12:20 am

    Hello. This is very interesting. I have a question : instead of chalk can I use oil pastels or simple wax crayons?

    • Reply
      Samara Caughey
      May 20, 2018 at 4:54 pm

      Hello! YES! Please do experiment with each layer. I am just giving one method. There are many. I have found chalk pastel to be the brightest but oil Pastel will work great. I am not so sure that crayon will show up, but you can always try. The more materials to try the better.

      Kindly,
      Samara

  • Reply
    Chrisy
    May 19, 2018 at 6:40 pm

    If I wanted to do this as a piece of art to hang outside could I use outdoor acrylic instead of tempera & deal with a more permanent fixative?

    • Reply
      Samara Caughey
      May 20, 2018 at 5:00 pm

      Hello! Yes, you are welcome to use only Acrylic in it’s many thicknesses. We just don’ use acrylic in the studio during these expressionist projects because it just doesn’t wash out of anything. If you are comfortable with that, then go for it. You can also use oil pastel instead of chalk pastel and skip the fixative part.
      Kindly,
      Samara

  • Reply
    Courtney
    February 3, 2019 at 6:23 am

    Do you have any ideas of what to do to cut this down and give the kids who made it a piece? I’ve hung a piece on a stick tied with twine so they can take a piece home. What are some other ways to creatively give them a piece to display at home?

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