Lincoln is part of a little art coop that we formed with a few other moms and kids around Lincoln's age just after Christmas. We meet weekly and find a fun project for the kids to explore or create...if they want. Lincoln tends to participate in the project for a few minutes, then runs off to play. Painting is usually an exception for him; I can keep him interested for much longer when any type of paint is involved.
This particular project--tall paintings--has been making the rounds on some of the art and preschool blogs that I follow. I first saw it on Teacher Tom's blog, and thought it would be fun for our coop, but wasn't sure if we could pull together enough paint and wood without spending too much money. Tall paintings are based off the work of Holton Rower. His work is beautiful, you should take a look!
A little online research led me to find out that leftover latex wall paint is perfect for this project. We happened to have several cans leftover from our house in a closet, and I also picked up 2 sample cans from Home Depot for 50 cents a piece (my only expense for this whole project!). The wood scraps came from our garage; they were leftovers from when Lucas built our built-in bookshelf. I didn't even have to cut them, which was pretty amazing. I used liquid nails to hold the pieces together, and we were set!
We poured the paint into dixie cups for the kids to use--they were just the right size and amount of paint for our boards. The red paint you see in the pictures was actually a beige color that I attempted to dye with food coloring. It looked really pretty and swirly, but if I tried to mix it in, it kind of just became absorbed into the paint...so if you try to use food coloring, I'd recommend just lightly swirling and leaving it at that!
The only direction we really gave to the kids was to pour it onto the wood. I demonstrated once and then let them have at it! They really caught on quickly, and in addition to pouring directly on top of the "tower," we had puddles on the base, some splatter painting, and lots of dripping over the sides. They really made the project their own. I should mention that all the kids are various ages of 2. This was great for that age, and would be great for all the way to adults, I imagine (I wanted to make one, too!).
(our board was at a bit of a slant, so we caught the drips in extra dixie cups and then re-poured them)
Two notes: 1) Since it is latex house paint, we did this outside and we wore clothes we didn't care about ruining, just in case. The kids did put their hands in the paint, but it washed off cleanly with water and soap...with the exception of the paint dyed with food coloring. The red food coloring left stains on hands (of course, it eventually does come off). 2) These things take FOREVER to dry...I believe ours took 5 days, though it may go faster if you live in a less humid environment. It is still a little tacky to the touch, so I plan to give ours a clear lacquer coat before we hang it up in the house.