Cotton Wool Painting

I see lots of ideas, from reading blog posts and perusing Pinterest, about messy play and painting. They appeal to me, as I can see that they would be fun for the children, though if truth be told, I’m not a fan of mess! Putting that aside, I decided to give painting with cotton wool balls a go last week.

To do this, you’ll need:
Washable poster paints
Cotton wool balls
Kids aprons

It was an easy one to set up, as I just squirted paint blobs onto a couple of paper plates, which I knew I could then throw away (easy and thinking of that mess!), and grabbed a few cotton wool balls and some paper. The kids were adorned in aprons, and as usual with messy play, I’d put a bin liner over Little Man’s high-chair to protect it – I like to be thorough!

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Boo got stuck in straight away, which helped as it showed Little Man what he was supposed to be doing.

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She delighted in playing around with the textures, and blobbing it to create marks, before swiping it over her paper. She also spent some time mixing up the paints on the plate and dipping in each blob to create different colours. Before long, she’d also used the balls to cover her hand in paint, so that she could form a hand-print picture.

Little Man wasn’t quite so sure of it, to be honest. He liked it initially (including testing it’s texture with his tongue!) and happily squidged it on his paper. And then the cotton wool started to break up on his hands and he really wasn’t keen on that. So he then switched to using a paintbrush which he was much more comfortable with, so they both contentedly created for a while then.

cotton wool painting montage

And here are the finished works of art – first up, Boo’s

cotton wool painting 1

And Little Man’s

cotton wool painting

I’d definitely do this again, as it was easy and the kids liked it. I suspect Little Man will like it more when he’s a little older, too, but until then, I’ll have a paintbrush on standby!

Is this something you’ve tried in your house?

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37 thoughts on “Cotton Wool Painting”

  1. I do this with my girl. Kids never get tired of some messy play with paints, right? Loved their creations. Little man looks fully engrossed- I loved it. 🙂

  2. Love this! Have LOADS of cotton wool left over from when my Boo was a baby so have everything I need! Will defo be trying it! And love the tip about bin bag on the chair!! Never thought of that!! X

  3. I’ve not tried this before, but like the look of it. Although I suspect even at 3 my son wouldn’t be keen on cotton wool breaking up and getting on his hands! Am thinking cut up sponges though-that would work just as well I think. And I love that you cover his chair-brilliant 🙂

  4. I love this idea Jocelyn! Not seen it before but it looks so simple and nice to having something a bit different to try! Though I can see Monkey getting grumpy if the cotton wool gets stuck to his painty fingers! Definitely worth a try, though I will also have a paintbrush on hand! Glad that boo loved it and the pic of Little Man putting the cotton wool to his mouth is brilliant. Thanks so much for linking with #creativechallenge xx

    1. Yes, give it a go, though have a brush on standby! He was always going to put it in his mouth, wasn’t he?! Thanks for hosting x

  5. This looks like a lovely activity! I have to agree that preparation is definitely the key to a successful bit of messy play. Baby wipes are my saviour and help me relax when the kids are going wild with glitter and paint!

  6. This is a great idea and one I’ll defo be stealing but the big take-away bit of genius has to be ‘binbag over the highchair’. Why have I never thought of this?! It’s a life changer!

    1. Happy to share! It just came to me as I was prepping for our very first painting session a few weeks back, and so that’s standard practice now. The mess is limited!

  7. I hope that by the time LP is the same age as Boo that I’m as creative as you. You seem to always be doing something new, finding so many different fun things for your children to do and keeping them entertained amazingly well! I am envious but I know that in a year or so I could be putting everything you’re teaching me into practice 🙂 x

    1. No, I’m so not creative! Most of the time it’s play with toys, colouring time, puzzles, books or we get outside. I just like to set up one or two things for them to do on our quieter days that are a little different. It’s not an hourly thing!

  8. Grace says – Boo & Little Man have done an awesome job. Love these so much and think Little Man should just stick to the paintbrush as he looks like he was about to eat the cotton wool!!!

    Thanks for linking to #minicreations

  9. We love painting with cotton wool but it took a while for my son to get used to messy hands. He was more comfortable with cotton bud sticks in the end which worked really well. Thanks so much for joining in with the Monday #pinitparty. Have pinned 🙂

    1. Yes, I can see that’d be easier, though the little one is very proficient with his paintbrush now! Thanks for hosting x

  10. Pingback: Top Tips for Painting with a Toddler

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