Smush Painting Craft for Kids with Shape Templates

finished smush painting

Let’s get hands-on with paint without all that mess! Today’s craft is smush painting. Smush painting is the perfect craft for toddlers who would otherwise make a mess with a paintbrush. Smush painting is also enjoyable for preschoolers and younger school-aged children who love hands-on activities to keep them busy.

My 4-year old and 6-year old really enjoyed this craft, and I was super impressed with their art.


1. Gather your materials

First, gather your materials.

For this craft, you will need:

  • Scissors or a hobby knife
  • A printable shape template
  • Copy paper or card stock
  • Craft paint, assorted colors
  • Glue stick
  • A gallon ziplock or plastic wrap


materials needed for this craft



2. Print and cut out your shape template

Print the shape you would like to use for this craft.

This step will (obviously) need to be done by a parent. I probably didn’t need to specify that, but you never know what you can get in trouble for saying or not saying these days, am I right?

Cut out the shape from the center of the paper using either scissors or a hobby knife. Do not cut from the outside edge. The shape should be removed from the center while leaving all sides intact.

cut template out of the middle of the paper without cutting sides

Tip: If you are using scissors, lightly fold the paper without creasing and pinch the inside of the template with the scissors to get the cut started.


3. Add some paint to a blank sheet of paper

On the second sheet of plain paper or card stock, squirt your selected colors of paint. Avoid using too many colors or your project could end up looking like mud.

In the image below you will see that we chose orange, green, blue, and yellow. When mixed together, the orange and green paint muddied into an unpleasant shade of brown.

I suggest choosing analogous colors (colors adjacent to each other on the color wheel) such as orange, yellow, and red or blue, green, and yellow. This will result in a pleasant color mix and allow colors to smoothly gradient from one color to the next.

squirt paint colors onto plain sheet of paper


4. Cover the paint in plastic and get smashing

Either cover the paint and paper with a sheet of plastic wrap or carefully slide it into a gallon ziplock bag and seal.

A gallon ziplock bag is the best choice for younger children as you will be able to seal in all that paint. You will need to slightly fold in one edge of the paper to get it to fit.

Seal it well so no paint will squirt out. If you are worried your toddler can open the bag, sealing the opening with a piece of tape may do the trick.

My 4 and 6-year-old had no trouble using plastic wrap instead of a bag. I just supervised them and we made sure that the paint didn’t get too close to the edges of the paper.

What you use is up to you.


Now the fun begins! Smush the heck out of that paint. Squish it around until it spreads over the area that is cut out of your template.

Lay your template over the top of the plastic to make sure the template area is covered in paint. If there is still paper showing, keep smushing until you no longer see white.

lay template over paper to make sure all areas are covered

Tip: Instead of plastic wrap or a gallon bag, you can use a grocery store bag or a hamburger bun bag. It is a good way to recycle and reuse. The only downside is you may not be able to see the paint mixing and spreading. Also, be sure to check for any holes or crumbs before using.


5. Remove the plastic

Carefully remove the plastic wrap or bag and discard. Lay your paint-covered paper in a safe place to dry, or use a hairdryer to speed up the process.

Tip: If there are any thick layers of paint and you are in a hurry to complete the project, you can dab up some of the paint with a paper towel.


remove plastic and allow paint to dry


6. Glue on the shape template

When the paint is completely dry, glue the shape template onto your painted paper. Cover all the edges around the shape and the top, bottom, and sides with glue.

Turn the shape template over and align the sides and corners of the template paper with the painted paper. Press down on all edges to seal it in place.

glue on the shape template over the painted paper

Yay, you are done! Now show off that beautiful creation.

completed smush paint project


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *