Tape Resist

(Inspired by this article at Rhythm of the Home Magazine.)

(Our) Materials: canvases, painter’s tape, liquid acrylic paints–the kind that come in those little bottles at the craft stores, so they were thin enough as is. I find masking tape tends to be a little stickier than you’d think, and it can leave residue. I don’t know if it would do that on canvas or not, but we used painter’s tape, found in the paint aisle at any hardware/home improvement store, instead. It’s designed to peel off easily.

I was really excited to try this project. I forgot to buy a canvas for myself, though. (Bummer!) I explained the process to the kids, set them up with a roll of tape and their canvases, and pretty much got met with looks that mirrored the blank canvases they faced. Both boys were a little paralyzed at first. I did set one ground rule: this was to be abstract, and we talked about the difference between representational and abstract. I told them they couldn’t use the tape to draw a face or a house or text. Just lay it on there and see what happened. “What’s the worst thing that could happen?” I asked them. “Play around with it. No worries. The canvases weren’t expensive, and we can always do this again.”

(As an aside, while I was working on this draft, this post about making mistakes came up over on Kidoinfo. My toddler doesn’t worry about making mistakes–she just does. With my older kids, I try to encourage the idea that as we experiment in the studio, there’s no such thing as a mistake.)

Still, they hesitated. So I gave our resident tape expert some tape, and she set to.That freed up the boys, and they began.

I’m not sure if my nine-year-old had a plan when he began taping, but by the time he began painting, he obviously did. I was so impressed by his finished piece, because it showed evidence of this plan. Remember, he is more precise and thoughtful at the outset; it really shows here. (I’ve combined the photos of the canvases with tape, paint, and then tape removed so you can see the progression all in a row.)

And here is my six-year-old’s canvas. I really enjoy the way he uses color–he is adventurous. Both boys, actually, show here that they aren’t afraid of using color in different combinations. (Perhaps they are influenced by the orange walls and purple trim of the art studio? Their mother isn’t afraid of color, either!)

And finally, G. She led the way with the tape, but she absolutely refused to cover the entire canvas with paint. Okay by me–who’s going to argue with a two-year-old? I don’t have a photo of her canvas with just tape on it, except for the first shot above. Here it is with paint and then with tape removed.

Right now these are all hanging in the playroom (hanging hardware was less than a dollar for three, in the general hardware aisle at Home Depot). They look so great!

We’re not done with tape yet. Who knew tape could be so inspiring? What seemingly mundane item is inspiring you lately?

6 thoughts on “Tape Resist

  1. Anisa

    I love this! I am always trying to find projects that allow freedom of expression – and encourage my boys from being so literal in their art. Perfect timing for me as well since I am heading into their classroom tomorrow to do a collage project around their state (United States) reports. I like your parameters up front about abstract and representational – helpful.

    And now I am planning this tape project for my next classroom visit. Thank you!

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