Sponge Painting

My boys are still in school (today is the last day before break! I’m so excited they’ll be home!), so it was just my daughter and myself in the studio today.

Materials: Paper, sponge, and paint. Couldn’t be easier! We used black paper and white paint, because the black paper is so visually interesting. If my daughter had asked for more colors, I would have gotten them out, but she was perfectly content with just the white. We started with a round sponge from a set of clay tools.

Here she is, checking it out. I didn’t think she’d use the sponge to make prints, but more as a sort of paintbrush, which is what she did.

For a bit she puddled all the paint in one spot, and then she added some up above. “Rainbow,” she declared.

In general, she doesn’t like the paint on her hands and she’ll ask us to wet wipe it off right away. This time, when she showed me the paint on her finger, with a distressed look on her face, I asked if she wanted to see if she could get paint onto the paper using her fingers. She tried that. I wondered if she might then just dive in and finger paint, but she kept to the sponge. However, she didn’t seem to get upset over painty fingers for the rest of the time.

I found a steel scraper in the set of pottery tools. It’s very very thin, and I thought it might be neat to use with the paint. She dabbed some paint onto the paper with it.

At some point she told me to paint, so I got myself a piece of paper and another sponge, part of a regular kitchen sponge. (I don’t draw or paint on children’s artwork, even when invited. I tell them, This is yours, and I don’t want to mark it up, so I’ll do my own.) She then had us trade sponges periodically.

She noticed how the piece of kitchen sponge had holes in it, unlike the other one, and how those holes filled with paint. “A LOT!” she said, and then ordered me to use it to put a lot of paint on my paper, too. That sponge was good for getting a lot of paint on the paper at once. She noticed how she could make big, wide strokes with her sponges, and little marks, too.

Once we were both painting, we gave each other ideas. She had me making big wide swaths and then watched while I made polka dots with the edge of the sponge. Then she tried that, too. In the end, she covered almost all the paper, which is a change from her recent paintings, which tend to use just a small portion of the paper as she layers the paint. Can you see the vertical stroke marks about two thirds of the way across? The last thing she did was to pick up the steel scraper and make those marks in the paint.

And then she said, “All done.” We washed hands, rinsed the plate and sponges, and went upstairs.


Happy Holidays! I’m looking forward to having time to spend with all my kids. I hope your holidays are equally joyful!

5 thoughts on “Sponge Painting

  1. donna lee

    Look how grown she is! Amazing. I don’t like getting my hands dirty, either. I never liked finger painting as a kid. I like how you guys shared ideas back and forth. I’d never put my work on a child’s piece of art either. I wanted their work to be their work.

    I hope you all have a wonderful holiday. I know you’ll enjoy having all of the kids home for the week.

    Merry Christmas!

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