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Painting without a brush

When you think of painting, you automatically think brush, but don’t you sometimes just get bored by using a brush? Exactly what we thought and Valerie went and stormed her brain to see, what else there was to paint with and make some cool looking art. Basically all she had to do was look around the house (and with a very active toddler chances are that you will see several things sitting and laying around that could be utilized).

So we figured to start out with four non-traditional paint utensils and see what happens… We used styrofoam trays that you normally get your ground beef in (of course properly disinfected and sanitized prior to use), to put the paint in and also to put the paper, since the edges are elevated so it would be possible to swirl things around that are in the tray for different effects.

Painting without a brush - bell

First up was a little bell, the kind that you would see on the reindeer of Santa’s sleigh (and probably several other things, but nothing else comes to mind right now), where we were hoping that it would roll well when moving the tray around, unfortunately once the bell touched the paper, the paint pretty much created a bond and that was it, it would barely even slide, so Nico tried to push it around a bit more, but the bell did not care.

Painting without a brush - fingersIn the process of pushing the bell, Nico got some paint on his fingers, something that so far always had been reason for an immediate call for clean up (unless we’d paint his whole hand for a handprint, which he always loved, go figure), but no, he put his fingers on the paper and started to draw a little before dipping his fingers into both the orange and blue and went for it. This might sound like a small thing for you, but for him it was a major breakthrough, because he finally let his guard down and let his fingers become messy!

Painting without a brush - egg

Next up was juice break and time for a new sheet of paper, so we could move on to the next object – a plastic egg. With this one we were sure that it would roll around well due to its shape, but we guess that its surface was too smooth, because it almost did the same as the bell, stay where it touched, it was a little easier to move, though, so we were able to get at least some interesting results.

Painting without a brush - car

Since Nico likes to play with cars and trucks, Valerie also brought a little plastic car over, since the tire tracks should make for interesting prints and this was a big success! Nico loved pushing the car around in the different colours and then also on the paper, so this is a winner and will be tried again, probably with something that will leave more tracks (most of the little cars’ tires do not show tread, but are smooth)!

Painting without a brush - prickly ballThe maybe coolest effect came, as expected, from one of those little prickly balls, because it almost looks like the dot painting technique, just without having to do the tedious work of doing it. It would probably work better with a slightly harder ball, because ours was kind of squishy, so when Nico pressed down, it smeared a little, but because of the different colours on it, it still made a great effect on the paper. And since it was a ball, it did not just stay in the tray, but…

Painting without a brush - self tattoo…while rolling it also ended up on the back of Nico’s hand and would you look at that? This looks interesting, let’s try this again… Ooh, I can tattoo myself, and it tickles, lol.

Painting without a brush - paperWith all the swirling and mooshing around of the paint in the tray, it looked kind of cool, so Valerie had the idea of putting a piece of paper directly on it, pressing down a little and carefully picking it back up. Cool, eh?

Painting without a brush - final result in palette

And this is the tray after having smooshed down the paper on it, looks even cooler, but kind of hard to frame…

We’ll continue to experiment with alternative painting devices and we’ll report back.


If you do this, we’d LOVE to see a photo of it. Email it to us or post it on our Facebook page. We’d love to do a Facebook album, a Pinterest board and a page of your creations :)

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