Paperclip Painting Art Activity; Painting With Found Objects


Turn a Painting Project into a Scavenger Hunt

One day, I was with a young friend of mine. I wanted to play a math game but my young friend was not in the mood so he started to beg me to paint with him instead. As I always want the children that I am with to feel motivated to be creative so I agreed but only if he followed my rules. What I proposed was unexpected so it had the added benefit of encouraging flexibility. First, I gave him a scavenger hunt: “Go find 10 paperclips, two chopsticks, and an unused bottle cap.”  My young friend had so much fun with the scavenger hunt and then stamping with random things that he wanted to do it with his friends. (It makes my heart happy when projects become social events.) They had a lot of fun painting with found objects and their pictures looked amazing! In the end, I also came up with a math game of counting, patterning and comparing more and fewer to go along with his picture so we both got our way.

Paperclip Painting Art Activity; Painting With Found Objects

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Target Skills for Painting with Found Objects:

  • Fine Motor
  • Flexibility
  • Visual Spatial Skills
  • Visual Scanning
  • Math Skills
  • Creativity

Materials You Need for Your Own Painting With Found Objects Art Project:

  • Paper
  • Paint
  • Random household objects

Paperclip Painting Art Activity; Painting With Found Objects

Instructions for Paperclip Painting Art Activity; Painting With Found Objects:


First, to be able to be painting with found objects you have to collect the random items. Turn it into a scavenger hunt. Give the kids a list of the items they should find to use as painting stamps. You can also challenge the children to find the most interesting objects to use for their art project.

The kids seem to enjoy paperclips and that is a good item for fine motor coordination. Dip the item into the paint and use them like stamps on the paper. The prints will really pop if you use one color paint on contrasting colored paper.

This activity helps with the concept of using unexpected or unusual items to expand flexibility and creative thinking. To add in math concepts you can count and add the stamp patterns or stamp-like shapes in columns and rows and multiply. Have the kids stamp in rows and compare who has more or fewer stamps. Tell the kids to use the paper clips to stamp 5+2 times. Draw and shape and have them estimate how many times the stamp will fit inside the shape. Then count the actual number and compare answers.

I have also used this activity in combination with nature walks, using recycled objects to make abstract shape paintings, as well as with a lesson on using texture with paints.

Homemade Paintbrushes

You can also make you own paintbrushes out of random items. Make a paintbrush with a stick and some yarn. Have another scavenger and send the kids to look for some more random items to make DIY Paintbrushes with clothespins and found objects.


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    I love letting them paint with odd things! I have never thought of this one!! I will add paperclip painting to the list of things to do!



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